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Prayer


Guest Pearlbrook
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This sounds like a really stupid question in my head.

 

I was on another group yesterday and the subject of prayer came up. One of the other members made a comment about how the Hindus she was visiting didn't pray out loud, "because apparently their gods can read minds." And this got me thinking - can the gods read minds? Or do you prefer to always pray out loud? And if the gods *can* read minds (personally I prefer to pray silently or in a whisper), what does this suggest about the nature of the mind, of prayer and of the gods?

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Of course the gods can read minds :) ... if they are so minded! Sometimes my communications are out loud for a chat, sometimes a whisper, sometimes I "hear" them in my mind and sometimes I write something down and then burn it in a small ritual .... occasionally, I have been called upon to bury it and then again, such a communication is best let into the water ... and so on! I do not limit my gods and expect to hear from them in any way they think will catch my attention - and they do by many methods!

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That's my feeling, too :) but it makes you wonder - is there something about prayer which makes them more likely to decide to tune in? I know they don't always listen of course; but the likelihood of them just happenening to hear a prayer out of the mass of thoughts we all have every day has got to be pretty low unless there's something... different about prayer. Maybe it's to do with the focus and intent?

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I don't actually "pray" in the xtian sense of the word .... which you may not have intended, SMC! I become aware of a presence, check out who I think it may be and have a conversation - as I have said above, sometimes out loud and sometimes in my head! It can be no more than that or it can be that I am asked to do something or that I ask for something I want to do or have happen - we then negotiate (Rune Gebo - a gift for a gift) and then the matter proceeds ... Sometimes that works and sometimes it does not and then I either abandon the matter or go back for further negotiation!

 

In the circle in which I work, the goddess and the god are sometimes invoked and that is not necessarily for the purpose of doing something, but can be just as an oracle .....

 

I was asked to explain "loans, mortgages and debts" to a god who collects knowledge. What I did was to write an essay on the subjenct, printed it and then during a small ritual around the firepit, offered it up by burning it ... I have not been asked about the subject again and so I assume the knowledge was communicated!

 

And so on and so forth ........... :)

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I was asked to explain "loans, mortgages and debts" to a god who collects knowledge. What I did was to write an essay on the subjenct, printed it and then during a small ritual around the firepit, offered it up by burning it ... I have not been asked about the subject again and so I assume the knowledge was communicated!

 

Yep. I know someone who was asked to write about designed a website and that ran to nearly 100 pages and was cast on the fire. The author said that the pages turned as it burned, as though someone was reading it. ;)

 

As to the original question...I think it's possible for them to read minds, because occasionally one of them turns up at extremely apposite times. And sometimes I talk our loud, but mostly in my head. The main problem, for me, is "what is prayer" in this context, rather than whether I have to talk out loud. Most people who aren't Christian tend to think of prayer as asking for something. If so, then my interaction with them usually (not always) require a gift for a gift. Many Christians will divide prayer into types: adoration; confession; thanksgiving; supplication (asking for things). The first two aren't really relevant for most polytheists. The pagan equivalent of the other two tends to be making an agreement. The rest of "prayer" is more just hanging out. :D

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That's a good point - what is prayer and why do we pray?

 

The main problem, for me, is "what is prayer" in this context, rather than whether I have to talk out loud. Most people who aren't Christian tend to think of prayer as asking for something. If so, then my interaction with them usually (not always) require a gift for a gift. Many Christians will divide prayer into types: adoration; confession; thanksgiving; supplication (asking for things). The first two aren't really relevant for most polytheists. The pagan equivalent of the other two tends to be making an agreement. The rest of "prayer" is more just hanging out. :D

 

I suppose I pray to ask for something (and as you say either giving a gift to encourage them to do what I want, or promising a gift if they do what I want) and also to thank them when something has been done and at that point to give them whatever I promised them, if they haven't already had it. So these are the times I'm thinking of personally.

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I think any communication must be akin to 'mind reading' I can't imagine you could say something out loud that was a lie and convince a god that was the truth, I think the would know what was in your mind/your intention.

Also if they had to communicate just verbally they would have to keep up with a awful lot of languages..

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I don't consider the communication I have to be prayer in the Christian sense of the word. It could be making a request, which as Moonhunter says often results in a negotiation. Otherwise it's conversation and company. Sometimes out loud, sometimes in my head. I try to keep it in my head if I'm in public or there are other people around but that's not always possible. I remember a car journey with a tortuously complicated three way conversation going on, for example!

 

Language has never been an issue. I'm (usually) speaking in English. I don't have a clue what language the gods use, other than I can understand it!

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Of course the gods can read minds :) occasionally, I have been called upon to bury it and then again, such a communication is best let into the water ... and so on! I do not limit my gods and expect to hear from them in any way they think will catch my attention - and they do by many methods!

I was asked to explain "loans, mortgages and debts" to a god who collects knowledge. What I did was to write an essay on the subjenct, printed it and then during a small ritual around the firepit, offered it up by burning it ... I have not been asked about the subject again and so I assume the knowledge was communicated!

 

And so on and so forth ........... :)

 

I'm sorry...but if the gods can read minds and it's a known phenomenon that knowledge we have is not the same as knowledge we impart because understanding can't always be communicated in words, then why would a god require it to be typed up and burned or offered in some other way? And why would a god need Mortages, loans and debts explained? Mortages, loans and debts have been around since man first shared something or borrowed something. Man, has been capatalist in nature since we started necessitating, loans, debts and mortgages. Your god that collects knowledge (that one must presume has been around since knowledge first evolved) seems to have had a *massive* gap in their knowledge on one of biggest aspects of humanity. :huh:

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Your god that collects knowledge (that one must presume has been around since knowledge first evolved) seems to have had a *massive* gap in their knowledge on one of biggest aspects of humanity. :huh:

 

......... or a lack or understanding of modern problems .... or just testing on a subject I know about .... or any other reason best known to the gods I M O .... You are, of course, entitled to take the pragmatic, scientific, non-believing view, Xalle, in accordance with who you are an what you believe. I was simply sharing my own experiences as in nearly all cases, UPG :)

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Lack of understanding modern issues makes no sense, again, loans and debts and mortgages as concepts haven't changed and if a test, why not just read your mind rather than get you to write it out? And my questioning it has nothing to do with my non believing. It has to do with the logic presented here; "gods read minds but we may still have to explain things using a less sophisticated tool... because... just because... and a god who acquires knowledge AND can read minds has somehow managed to miss capitalism throughout human history.

 

Maybe you weren't speaking to who you think you were and maybe gods CAN'T read minds. Is that something worth considering?

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This sounds like a really stupid question in my head.

 

I was on another group yesterday and the subject of prayer came up. One of the other members made a comment about how the Hindus she was visiting didn't pray out loud, "because apparently their gods can read minds." And this got me thinking - can the gods read minds? Or do you prefer to always pray out loud? And if the gods *can* read minds (personally I prefer to pray silently or in a whisper), what does this suggest about the nature of the mind, of prayer and of the gods?

 

Not sure where I stand on this, but right now I reckon different things go to different things and only the employees (for want of a better word) working in each individual section gets to know that part of the prayer? Like employee A deals with requests, employee B deals with venting, employee C deals with thanks etc etc?

 

So if, for example, your prayer deals with a request for the postman to bring you a gift in the post and you say thank you for having food in the fridge and water in the taps, employees A (for the postie) and C (for the food and water) would hear your prayer, but employee B wouldn't be any wiser because you weren't venting?

 

JMHO

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I do not have an anthropomorphic deity. I am part of the deity that I do recognise but so is everyone and everything else. I would not therefore pray because:

 

A. I know anyway.

 

(ii). As stated in other recent threads I don't have the right to change a world by metaphysical means. It is not

mine to change and it is not democratic.

 

<. Given the nature of the universe that I live in, nothing would happen anyway

 

However others live in a different universe.

Those people who do pray to their deities are doing exactly the same thing as those who work spells and those who recite affirmations. The reinforcement of the desire for change. |If any of that works for you it can't be a bad thing.

Edited by Moonsmith
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Lack of understanding modern issues makes no sense, again, loans and debts and mortgages as concepts haven't changed and if a test, why not just read your mind rather than get you to write it out? ....

 

It's not a test. With that god, he seems as much interested in how knowledge is transferred as anything else. He seems to enjoy observing how people learn. He also likes people writing things out, on paper, for him to look at. I doubt we are telling him anything he doesn't already know, but that seems to be one of his preferred offerings. :)

 

Maybe you weren't speaking to who you think you were and maybe gods CAN'T read minds. Is that something worth considering?

 

That's always possible. For any of us, the reality we think we know only exists in our head. :D

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For any of us, the reality we think we know only exists in our head. :D

That's true :) it's wierd to think about that... Obviously our perceptions seem so real to us.. But everything we think we know is just our minds interpretation of the limited information it receives from our senses.

:)

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Lack of understanding modern issues makes no sense, again, loans and debts and mortgages as concepts haven't changed and if a test, why not just read your mind rather than get you to write it out? And my questioning it has nothing to do with my non believing. It has to do with the logic presented here; "gods read minds but we may still have to explain things using a less sophisticated tool... because... just because... and a god who acquires knowledge AND can read minds has somehow managed to miss capitalism throughout human history.

 

Maybe you weren't speaking to who you think you were and maybe gods CAN'T read minds. Is that something worth considering?

 

First of all : what Moonsmith has said - we are speaking of the same god ........

 

Secondly : please do not presume that I have not thought and tested whether it was who I identified, whether it was not just my wishful thinking ... etc etc - I am a lawyer and was educated to think through all the angles .........

 

You may not have the same allegiances, interests, beliefs and so on, but those are your take and your prerogative ... mine are mine and I do not expect anyone else to adopt my thinking nor indeed necessarily to believe me or accept my thoughts ................ in fact, I care not whether anyone does! All that I do is respond with my own thoughts to a subject raised on a thread - take it or leave it - and I will stoutly also defend your right to say what you do or do not think/believe etc whether or not your pronouncements make sense to me or not !

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First of all... we were talking about prayer and why it is done, why gods require it. Part of that discussion has to allow for questioning. "If able to read minds why prayer?" What purpose does it serve, WHY would it be necessary, does it make sense? If you can't communicate that or haven't worked that out (the why) thats fine, but don't get uppity with me because I asked something you can't answer. Just say you don't know.

 

Secondly, my atheism has nothing to do with it. "Why prayer" is a perfectly reasonable question in fact it's the OP.

 

Third, my question about "could it maybe be a different god" is also a perfectly reasonable, genuine question. I wasn't aware that theists never got who they were talking to wrong. Perhaps I'll have to add that superpower to the list.

 

Finally... I don't give a damn what you believe in or don't but when you enter a discussion and define characteristics of a god and state something that makes someone question that characteristic, don't expect anyone, atheist, theist or otherwise not to question it. I've never said that I don't believe you, I've said I don't understand or that it doesn't make sense (using your experiences and knowledge) it and pointed out (again using your examples) WHY I don't understand it and asked for clarity or possible reasons. I don't care if you've studied law, theology or quantum fucking physics. I don't care if you're just out of secondary school or Carl friggin Sagan. You made a statemenst of fact on both the nature of gods and the nature of a specific god, you then went on to suggest something that contradicted both of those. I asked why. Your annoyance appears to come from the fact that you can't explain it. That's your issue not mine.

 

Oh... and for the record, despite your inability to answer and therefore a need to turn it into a "you're an atheist it must therefore be an attack on my beliefs". Someone else DID and quite nicely too.

Edited by Xalle
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Sweethearts... chill, please. :) Can we lower the temperature a little here? Let's all go and play in the snow in the US. :P

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Personally, while yes, my gods can and do read minds, they don't act simply because I've mentally communicated something to them in entreaty. I saw a t-shirt the other day that seemed to amuse them (gods) very much and sums it up:

 

You don't get what you wish for. You get what you work for ;)

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I didn't swear *at* you I definitely didn't shout and I'll speak how I like.You choosing not to talk to me had nothing to do with how I talk and everything to do with your inability to put across your own ideas.

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For any of us, the reality we think we know only exists in our head. :D

That's true :) it's wierd to think about that... Obviously our perceptions seem so real to us.. But everything we think we know is just our minds interpretation of the limited information it receives from our senses.

:)

 

I get this feeling sometimes - usually accompanied by the feeling my brain might explode from how wide the possibilities of existence actually are. :D The Chaos magicians have a motto "nothing is true, everything is permitted" which someone explained brilliantly on here (long before I became a member, but it's in a topic somewhere about Chaos magic) as something like "nothing is (at all times, in all places) true, everything is (at some times, in some places) permitted" and it always reminds me of this feeling. Personally my brain alters it slightly to "nothing is real, everything is permitted." I'm a sincere believer that we each have our own reality and they are all slightly different worlds which overlap when we communicate.

 

The universe is amazing, isn't it? :)

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Dear Samhainmooncat,

 

I pray, frequently, but less because I believe the deities I worship "require" it of me than simply because it feels like the right, natural and proper thing to do. I think of prayer as part of a relationship with the Gods and Goddesses, as a regular reaffirmation of that relationship, and for the most part that reaffirmation is the sole purpose of prayer for me.

 

I pray both silently and out loud. I do not know if it makes any difference to the deities but find it does make a difference to me. I think of silent prayer as much less formal, as less ritualistic, than spoken prayer and believe that distinction quite significant. Silent prayer draws from mind and spirit and need not take the form of words. Spoken prayer not only requires the mind to shape thoughts and feelings into words, but draws the breath, and from that the whole body, into the process of prayer in a very similar manner to what happens in meditation. It automatically becomes a form of ritual, with the enhanced integration of self and intensity of experience that goes with that.

 

For me prayer is not like a conversation between people, though sometimes there is a sense of communication. It is more like the making of an offering in which the process itself reminds me of who and what I am, of my ephemeral place and purpose in the cosmos, and of the immanent presence of the Gods. I find it is a practice that puts everything from the purely personal to the universal into a proper context, and for me that makes it more than worthwhile.

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

Edited by JohnMacintyre
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