Efficacy of Prayer

I often see posts on facebook or mailing lists that ask for prayers(or thoughts or good vibes, or whatever) for people going through a tragedy, illness, or ot her bad situation. And each time I really want to respond with “I don’t think prayer is going to help much”, but I don’ t because it would be inappropriate. I pretty much feel it’s useless and that it only serves the person praying by making them feel better about not doing anything.

Let’s say you were trying to walk across the street and a car hits you and you’re lying on the ground all bewildered, bloodied, and gasping for air. A group of people see this occur and they rush over to help. Would you A) want them to stand there and pray to a god for you, or B) would you like them to give you basic first aid and call for emergency response?

I would think most of us would pick B.

Another example: a friend of mine has a mother in law who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. He asked for thoughts and prayers for her. I responded that I think it would be better help if people would donate to or volunteer for a charity that tries to fund research for a cure and/or helps people with cancer such as the Susan G Komen Foundation.

I don’t know, maybe I’m weird but if you really want to help someone, or a bunch of people, I think you should actually do something to help rather than just thinking happy thoughts for them and wishing them well.