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6rant6's avatar

If you believe in the power of prayer, do you think prayer can benefit the unworthy?

Asked by 6rant6 (13692points) September 2nd, 2011
20 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

I was watching a documentary on North Korea (Inside North Korea).

I was amazed at the fervent and heartfelt words of thanks the surgical patients gave to the “Great Leader,” Kim Jong-il. To the film maker (and to me) it seemed that the actions of Kim Jong-il had perhaps caused and certainly perpetuated their conditions and it was the generous actions of the visiting surgeon who had returned their vision.

If these misguided/misinformed people prayed for the happiness and well being of Kim Jong-il, do you think that would have the power to make it so?

I realize that North Koreans are classified as “irreligious.” So my question is really a theoretical one. If people pray for someone, does that person get the benefit from prayer regardless of their worthiness?

__Obviously, if you don’t believe in the power of prayer, then this question won’t mean anything to you. I’m really interested in the opinion of the believers.__

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Jeruba's avatar

How would you define worthiness?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

The unworthy? LOL

CaptainHarley's avatar

Prayer has only that power granted to it from God. People may pray all sorts of prayers, but only those congruent with God’s will are answered.

digitalimpression's avatar

I couldn’t have said it any better than @CaptainHarley .

Judi's avatar

From a Christian perspective, none of us are “worthy,” so I would hope they would.

Jeruba's avatar

Hmm. To me @CaptainHarley‘s comment says that God is only going to do what he was going to do anyway, so there’s no point in praying.

digitalimpression's avatar

@Jeruba Actually I think it’s like saying if I pray for a third arm, God isn’t going to oblige me. (shrug)

Jeruba's avatar

@digitalimpression, your “actually” doesn’t change how it sounds to me, which is all I presumed to state.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Prayer is a conversation with God. Its primary benefit is to the soul and personality of the one praying. Just because we don’t know all of God’s will does not mean that God does not hear us.

Actually, I was innacurate in my earlier statement. ALL prayers are answered, it’s just that sometimes the answer is “no” or “not just yet.”

Berserker's avatar

This is to complicated and alien to me.

But it does remind me of the vampire myth, for some reason.

Holy objects used to fight or ward off a vampire; how do they work? (crucifix, holy water etc) Does the person wielding them need to have faith in God for these tools to work, or will they work by default, because they’re blessed by God, (or somehow imbued with God’s power) no matter who uses them?

If God is God, then He hears all prayers, and it’s up to Him to decide if it’s worthy or not. If it comes from a worthy person wishing the best for an unworthy person, or if it comes from an unworthy person for whatever reason that unworthy soul has of praying…well I denno. I don’t believe in God, but if I did, I’d have to assume that, well, kill em all and let God sort it out?
God is supposed to love everything, and teach us to do the same, so I guess a prayer could benefit whatever an unworthy person is, but it’s prolly that kind of benefit that doesn’t seem like one at first. You know, like spending forty years in the desert and shit.

Judi's avatar

@CaptainHarley is right. Prayer is about relationship. If you ask your mom for a BMW, it doesn’t mean she is going to give you one. No harm in asking I guess, but God is not the Easter Bunny who fulfils magical wishes. He desires intimacy and a relationship with us, and that’s what prayer is. It’s a relationship, not a magic incantation.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@Judi Great answer! : ))

6rant6's avatar

@judi Not to be dismissive, but it sounds to me like going to the Santa at the mall and sitting on his lap and telling him what you want…and calling that intimacy. But to be fair, I’m a non-believer anyway.

Is anyone here saying that prayer has power to change things, outside of its ability to change the person offering it?

Judi's avatar

No, not like Santa, like your best friend who would be there for you through anything. You don’t have a relationship with Santa. That’s the whole point. People expect God to me some magic wish granter. That is not his purpose. He desires a relationship, a friendship, and trust.

6rant6's avatar

@Judi, do you think prayer has the power to change anything outside of you? And by change, I mean something that has an effect on the lives of human beings, not just the ego gratification of an unchanging, and non-reactive supernatural.

Judi's avatar

It has nothing to do with God’s “ego,” any more than your best friend has an “ego” when you call them. If something is not working out the way you planned, sometimes a friend can do things to change the situation for you, and sometimes they convince you (because they have perspective) that what you wanted wasn’t what was best for you after all. If you never talk to your friend about the things that are important to you, you never really get to know them. @6rant6 . I know there are people out there that treat God like a magic slot machine, and others that talk like he is some mean ogre who wants to control you. My God isn’t like that. He is the one steady, reliable friend in my life. His advice is always sound, weather I follow it or not, and has given me direction.
I respect that others don’t agree with me, or don’t understand. I don’t proselytize, but if I am asked directly, I will give an answer.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Good answer! We have limited, human minds ( although some people seem to believe that they have a towering intellect ), and we tend to anthropomorphize God just like we do almost everything else. If God really IS God, then we will, by definition, be unable to fully comprehend him/her. Guard your thoughts carefully, lest you put God in your own little box and say, “This is how God behaves, and not any other way! And if anyone tells you anything else, they’re just not a christian!”

6rant6's avatar

@judi, did you answer MY question? I don’t see it. Unless you are saying by analogy with friends that God sometimes changes things __exclusive of you__ to benefit you? Is that it?

By the way my friends all do have an ego, that is, a sense of __themselves apart from the rest of the world__. I assume that God would, too. Otherwise, why how could he appreciate your thanks and praise?

CaptainHarley's avatar


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