Atheists laugh at Christians who pray but do nothing. I join them in this mockery. Prayer and fasting without works is stupid. It’s directly contrary to the principle of faith and belief and prayer.
My prayers are generally of three sorts:
- Thanking God for the things I have.
- Asking God to grant me wisdom or knowledge so that I can know what I need to do.
- Asking God to bless my efforts so that I’ll have motivation and ultimately achieve the intended results.
Oftentimes, they are combined together.
After the prayer, then I get busy studying and doing.
I’m going to share with you an example from my personal life. My dad’s heart is not beating the way it should. The doctors really have no idea, precisely, why that is, and they don’t have a really clear idea of what to do. That’s not surprising; medicine is not an exact science. The doctors tell him to do things, which he sometimes does or does not do.
If my dad and I and our family simply relied on works, and never took our time to think about the big picture, and never called on a higher power, I think all of this would be terribly disheartening. I would get depressed, my dad would get depressed, and things would not happen as they needed to.
Praying in thanks for what we have reminds me that I shouldn’t focus exclusively on the things I don’t have but wished I had. This raises my spirits.
Asking God for wisdom tells me that I need to pay close attention to the things around me. God does answer prayers, and only rarely does he answer them directly. I need to seek wisdom in the people and resources around me, which I believe were put there by God for our benefits and use. When I do find something, I hold it in very, very high regard, because I believe it came from the ultimate source of all wisdom.
Asking God to bless our efforts means that I can’t ask for a better result. If I have done everything that needed to be done, and if I ask God to further bless those efforts, what more can I do? Exhausting all the resources, I am left to say, “This is the will of God” and count it as yet another blessing from God for my personal growth.
I think the Atheists completely misunderstand how prayer works in practice versus their kindergarten concept of prayer. To a child, prayer is a magical spell, which, if you say the right words, will invoke the powers of the universe to give you what you want. To an adult, prayer is a conversation of God, a release valve that keeps us sane in this insane world. It takes all the evil in the world and changes it into good. If praying and fasting are not enough, in addition to doing everything within my power, then nothing is enough, and I can know, happily, that I did what could be done.
I think this is where the logical reasoning of Atheism breaks down. If God really is an invention of mankind, then we need to ask, is it good or bad? If it is good, that is, if believing in God and acting according to those beliefs brings good results versus not believing, then wouldn’t you believe in such a God? Then here we are: the Atheist is forced to admit that they are wrong after all; even if the concept of a particular God or religion is man-made, since it delivers positive results, it is better to believe in the fiction than not to. And thus, to the Atheist, if they discover a religion that has good results, they should abandon their Atheist beliefs.
And so, when the Atheist meets the happy Christian, what can they say? “Your religion is stupid and fiction, even though I must admit it makes you happy.” So what? Why are you trying to make him less happy than he is? Why don’t you join them?