I notice in the quote below that there's no mention of the effects of prayer on God, but it instead refers to the effect praying has on the ones praying.
So even though God may or may not be listening, praying is still helpful for the people doing the praying... is that what this says? If so, I'm okay with that.
I know praying hasn't helped my team win or that God will smite my enemies if I ask him to. And the reason I know that is.... oh, well, nevermind.
And I respond:
The people and leaders of our nation can remedy the nation’s problems best by starting with sincere prayer.
More to the point, foam-at-the-mouth fundamentalist Christians, Muslims, and Urantians SHOULD be able to agree on most elements of the functioning of prayer. What sensible alternative do they have?
I know of no scientific study that proves the workability of prayer, no proof outside my personal experience of the existence of God or anyone else who might secretly listen to prayers, nothing but my own personal feelings about the efficacy of prayer for myself, and no proof other than bowed heads and murmured or shouted words to a non-evident deity of the efficacy of group prayer.
And yet, there in the Urantia Book I see that little comment about the evolution of prayer and its improvement of morality:
"But prayer need not always be individual. Group or congregational praying is very effective in that it is highly socializing in its repercussions. When a group engages in community prayer for moral enhancement and spiritual uplift, such devotions are reactive upon the individuals composing the group; they are all made better because of participation. Even a whole city or an entire nation can be helped by such prayer devotions. Confession, repentance, and prayer have led individuals, cities, nations, and whole races to mighty efforts of reform and courageous deeds." The Urantia Book Paper 91 - The Evolution of Prayer.
At the same time, I see the news media and wild-eyed patriots of this or another land proclaiming that the US Government conspired to bring about 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq so as to enslave us to George Bush’s military control.
Such an alarm should jolt us into action, but what kind of action?
Somewhere lies a common ground between the extremes of doing nothing and marauding through the streets with the corpses of criminally derelict politicians on our minds. Somewhere lies a starting point for the rehabilitation of America, politically, socially, and civilizationally.
Frankly, I believe prayer serves as the best starting point because:
- You can lie to everyone else, but you can’t lie to God– prayer at least will make you honest, just a little.
- A sincere attempt to resolve a problem according to God’s line of thinking must produce a better end result than any alternative approach – after all, God is God, the all-being I-AM, the Great Eye-in-the-Sky, the Majestic Mind, and he really does know the right way to resolve the problems – so, using prayer to tune in to what he thinks might give us a clue how to improve conditions.
- Whether participant or player, whether in baseball, symphony, sex, or prayer people really feel wonderful doing benign things as a group.
- Group activities provide synergistic solutions – the whole system effects a greater result than does the sum of its parts.
- Existential Deity – the never-ending, never-beginning, fully complete, absolute, and eternal God.
- Experiential Diety – the evolving composite mind and spirit of achieved perfection, comprising the attained perfection experience of all evolutional willed creatures in the universe – the Supreme Being.
Perhaps you recall having read Jesus’ comment according to the Bible when he interrogated his examiners thusly:
John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
He got that from the psalmist, presumably David:
Psalms 82:6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
The prophet expressed our obligations further:
Isaiah 41:23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods…
Oh, whatever meaning has that phrase “Ye are gods?”
And why else would Jesus quote it but to instruct his unenlightened detractors with a little truth?
Like the psalmist said, “all of you are children of the most High.” And, as we know, children do grow up to be like those of whom they enjoy childhood.
Does prayer affect God? Oh, yes, in that way it really does. Prayer serves as the channel of communication to our Daddy, the one who never did and never will abandon us. It helps us grow to resemble him. And some day, experientially speaking, it will have helped us to comprise part of him.
Precious Brother Norman, because of your genuinely joyous and loving nature I have always known that YOU are your Daddy’s son -
The family resemblance… well, it’s unmistakable.
And as you yourself mature into an ever greater Daddy to those around you, I encourage you to continue doing your best in hearing and answering those prayers others pray to you.
Just as your Daddy does.