If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
"I pray for it comforts me" - does it really?
The real reason unfortunate people feel comforted or happier when they pray is that they feel they are participating in a practice that makes others feel cared about. People like to be told they are being prayed for even if they think prayer in itself is of doubtful effectiveness. When you engage in an exercise to try and care about others, you will feel better too for it reminds you that others do and can care for you. It makes sense to engage in mindfulness and cultivate a caring attitude. That lets the caring flow instead of using prayer as a crutch to make yourself care as if it is not natural to you.
It is odd how people can find praying to be comforting when they ask God to do terrible things or nice things to people - that is what they are consenting to when they say, "Your will be done." One suspects they think they can fool God to do only good things! Or it could be that they are confused - they have been misled into thinking that time spent wishing the best for others is prayer. It is not prayer.
If you are seriously ill, you may pray. But do you pray for strength to deal with the illness or do you pray for a cure? Or both? To expect supernatural strength from God to cope is odd when you don’t expect a cure. Why would you expect your weakness to be cured rather than your illness? And the strength may get you through but it is not your strength so it hardly anything to be happy about. You act like a person trying to develop an emotional placebo.
Religion says that "God uses your prayer as a causal component to bring something about." Does that mean he did it because you asked? Or does it mean that just as dominos fall that prayer is a domino? In that case, it is not the asking that works but how you slot in as regards all the different causes. Here is a parable. John asks the king to give him a house. The king gives the house. But he did not give it because John asked but because he vowed he would give it to someone he knows. And John made himself known by going to ask. John then got the house through asking not by asking. The asking was not the direct cause.
God will foresee how he will respond to prayer. God cannot look at the future and see if answering the prayer will be best for he knows all along. So it is believing that that comforts not prayer.
Praying to God or the gods is very accepted culturally all over the globe. Some creatures want to force people to pray before council or government meetings. It would be dangerous if people thought prayer had magical or occult power or could make God do something. Presidents feel safer about waging war when they pray about it.
A problem shared is going to be less of a problem just because you are talking about it. It helps merely to be listened to. If believers are consoled by telling their problems to God this would be strange for he already knows. You would actually get the same effect from talking to an imaginary friend. Feeling listened to is the most important thing but it actually contradicts true faith in God.
The rather sensible religionists deny that prayer to God is magic or intended to be. They say they are not trying to influence, manipulate or force God to do something or telling him things he hadn't noticed. They say it is about opening yourself up in fellowship with God for if you don't bring yourself in line with him you won't become more like him. You will rather become more un-like him. You need to be more like him in order to receive his blessings. If you have the wrong perception of the blessings then they will not be blessings for you at all. Prayer is aligning what you want with what God wants. It is submission to God and worship. So praying for another is praying they will agree with God's morals. People would not be asking for prayers if they understood what prayer is really about. Religion uses prayer to trick people and get money off them. Those religionists see prayer in terms of developing virtue - God is honoured by you becoming like him and by you going out to do the dirty work instead of asking God to do something about it. Prayer for them is a sacrificial relationship with God and getting a buzz from prayer would be a fault and not something to be sought.
Those religionists talk to a void - nobody wants to hear their teaching on prayer. People use prayer as a crutch. If a person gets reassurance from prayer, the person has to keep praying to keep getting it. Reassurance has a good and a bad side.
What is the problem with seeking comfort in prayer?
# Is it reasonable to tell God what you want when his will may be different? No for you should be asking him to help you get into line better with his will instead. That will not be necessarily comforting. The comfort comes not from prayer but from prayer being treated as a placebo. Spiritual placebos are about relieving the stress and anxiety that rationality sometimes brings. If being reasonable brings you pain you can relieve this pain by being unreasonable and superstitious.
# If the person who prays feels soothed and comforted, it is not prayer that did this. It is how their emotions are programmed to respond to prayer that does it. It is not the other person that causes you to fall in love with them. Even you don't cause that. It just happens.
# Prayer does not really comfort - what comforts is the attitude you have to the divine "Okay God has all power. He lets bad things happen but it is okay as long as he fixes them when asked." That attitude is utterly disgraceful. No wonder religion needs nice trappings to get people to wash down that poison.
# We fear reality and truth at times. So we may do something irrational and appeal to the universe to be irrational to fix the problem. The feeling that we can triumph over reason and truth soothes and comforts us. We end up distorting our perception so that we think what is happening is for the best under the circumstances. It risks giving false hope and leading to increasing detachment from reality.
# When a person's faith conflicts with reality, the person often ends up in a dilemma. They decide that they are not worthy of finding a solution, or that Satan is tempting them to abandon their specific religious beliefs or that they are not trying hard enough, or that there is something the matter with how they pray. They blame themselves. They have to hurt themselves in order to put the beliefs first. They don't want to blame the beliefs or the religion. But beliefs do not come before you - if a belief hurts you by being vicious or untrue then think your way out of it. Read a good article that refutes and corrects the belief.
# Many who think prayer helps really mean that they think praying helps. Casting spells may help though spells may not. There is a difference between praying helping and prayer helping. The first speaks of how it makes you feel and the second speaks of God helping in response to prayer. So it the placebo that works not the praying, strictly speaking.
# Most people enjoy prayer and get a lift from it because it expresses and dwells on their desire to be better people. If they ask for things for others, they need to take steps to make it happen. Prayer itself will not do it. People like to feel sympathy for others but they should like helping others better. Feeling sympathy for somebody does no good if you are not interested in helping. Dwelling on how you feel can and will lead to you using the feelings to tell yourself how wonderful and compassionate you are when you in fact are doing nothing that counts. You are just a goody-goody navel gazer. You are indulging yourself.
# People worship God because they think he is doing do something magical in this life or the next to make everything right. That is why religion gets a big hold on vulnerable people. Non-religious people including many atheists seem to think that if they think something good will happen then that makes sure it will. When they are so prone to magic thoughts imagine what religion must be like?! It must be a development and manifestation of that tendency. Religion says that evil is not God's will but it is here so he is going to use it for a greater good. This says that we should be worried about being good and moral and not about any blessings from God. The morals come first. Also, even if it is hypothetical, we need to be ready in our hearts to choose an eternity of utter torture if it is part of God's plan. To believe in a God who will make things right eventually is just idolatry. If he uses evil for the sake of the best good, that simply might not be possible. There will be casualties.
# When people pray, they may enjoy prayer for they feel that they are connecting to this God who blesses them and lets the bad things happen to others. People tend to see bad things as what befall others not them and they prefer it that way. That is sheer selfishness. It is evil to want to be with a God like that. You might need to think that bad things happen to others not you in order to get yourself out of the house but you have no right to tell yourself that there is a God to be adored for making sure the bad comes to others while you are shielded from it.
# Prayer is trying to create devotion to injustice. If the Church's excuses for God letting us suffer and his making viruses with which to torture us are wrong then clearly the Church is trying to get us to worship an enemy.
# Prayer only makes life worse in the long run and is like junk food that seems harmless until one day you drop dead with a heart attack. Some Christians claim that suffering people should ask, "Why me?" as it is a legitimate question. The retort, "Why not you?", translates as, "People have to suffer and that's all there is to it." That implies that there is no point to the question, "Why me?" It implies that suffering is a reality but there is no being that lets us suffer and from whom we are entitled to get an answer. In fact, people do get comfort from asking themselves, "Why not me?" They draw upon their atheistic selves to cope and accept the misfortune that has happened.
# Believers hold that if you pray for something good to happen and for God to give you graces etc that he will reward you for praying even if he didn't answer the prayers. It would be horrendous if people were praying for the sick because they want the reward! It would be horrendous if they were consoled by praying at the thought of the reward. That would be using the thought of a reward to dull the pain that you should feel when you see people suffering. Remember too, that even if the only reward God gives is approval then those people who seek that reward and pray for others to obtain it are users and do-gooders.
#Some say that prayer when you suffer is really just a way of expressing, "It will pass." If so, then why not keep telling yourself that it will pass? It should be more effective to be direct. And more honest!
#There is only one way to self-confidence. And that is seeing what your comfort zone is and stepping outside of it. We can take away much of the power that fear of the unknown holds over us. It takes confidence to do that. As you pray, you are in the comfort zone. Just stop praying and get out of it. It is that that will really help.