“I say we pray just to make it today!” was the chorus a modest hit from M.C. Hammer. Talking about prayer is a little controversial nowadays given we live in a post-Christian American society. (Now the Christians might not agree with this assessment but the stats corroborate this assertion.) This article has nothing to do with the validity of religion and the great or subtle nuanced differences in the denominations among Christianity or even in the world religions. It is a more deconstructed argument of why we should pray daily. So let’s discuss why we should pray daily.
So let’s answer the question why we should pray daily? There are a variety of cogent reasons. Some more metaphysical and others mundane and pragmatic.
Why We Should Pray Daily
“The Uncaused Cause”
The most classic of the reasons why we should pray daily. Last I checked we don’t have the power to create ourselves. Our parents bred which resulted in you; their parents bred which resulted in them; and so forth. If you go back all the way to the beginning of mankind, something or someone had to have created mankind. (Yes, feminists, mankind.)
Since time immemorial philosophers have been tackling the questions of the existence of God. All religions clearly believe in an omnipotent God. And surprisingly their arguments don’t center around divine scriptures, but rather science. Look at Thomas Aquinas, the 13 century Catholic scholar, he described God as the “uncaused cause.” Meaning something that has existed since the beginning of existence had to give a spark to create life since mankind could not have created itself. With this specious argument, who created the first man? He couldn’t have created himself. There must have been a spark.
Now you can also look at the laws of thermodynamics and physics to see that perfect order exists in the world.
My point is this. Clearly atheists don’t agree with the “uncaused cause” idea. Perhaps they believe in Big Bang in that molecules gathered and eventually through evolution these organic entities evolved to mankind and other creatures. But that science doesn’t make much sense.
The idea that we didn’t create ourselves is one reason why we should pray daily. We were created by a higher power and as such, we should thank him for creating us and the universe and all of its inhabitants. This form of prayer is a prayer of praise.
The first 3 of the 10 commandments deal with God. In short, aside from pledging loyalty and not taking his name, we are asked to praise him for creating us. So, if you do believe in God, at the least thank him for creating us. Your prayers don’t need to toward a mega church or an established religion, nor do you necessarily need to believe in any church’s dogma, but every night simply say “I didn’t not create myself so thank you for creating me.”
Humbles you. The most grounding reason as to why we should pray daily. Praying keeps us grounded and leveled. It reminds us that we are a little, albeit important, speck on this planet and that we are expected to do good works to others. We live in such a narcissistic, hedonistic world where Hollywood culture preaches moral relativism and objectivism. There are no absolute truths they say. Praying reminds us that we are to worship and not be worshiped as in the fawning adulation you see on Instagram. (Speaking of, check out this Holistic Health News episode on Instagram’s destructiveness on the self-esteem of people.)
Make You More Sympathetic
The most altruistic reason why we should pray daily. Praying makes you more sympathetic to the less fortunate. Again, the mainstream culture and the Prosperity Gospel tells us to the utmost goal is “to get mine.” The pursuit and love of money is a common thread in the Bible…and it preaches that love of money is not a good thing. You can have two masters at once…God and __________. (That blank could be money, but also alcohol, food, TV, and a host of golden calves in which we immerse ourselves.
Praying daily focuses us on the fact that even the poorest people in America live in prosperity compared to the abject poverty seen in Asia and Africa. On those continents a family of 6-7 live in a tin roof “house” with muddy floors, no running water or heat. They sleep in one bed next to their oxen exposed to myriad of diseases and malnutrition. We are very blessed in America, even the poor. Praying of prayer of thanksgiving reminds us how fortunate we are. It also reminds us to ask God to bless others as much as He as blessed us.
Start From The Bottom
I am Catholic. In Catholicism, we are taught there are three generic forms of prayer: Prayers of Thanksgiving, Prayers of Petition; Prayers of Praise. So the first one is “thank you for ________; 2nd one is “please give me ___________; third one is “thank you for creating us and _______.”
Let’s talk about the form rather than why we should pray daily. Most of the time when we pray, we do a lot of Prayer of Petition. This makes sense since we won’t God to give us things. This is partly done because we are self-centered and somewhat narcissistic. Let’s try to switch more to prayers of Thanksgiving and Praise and less on Petition.
Praying doesn’t need to be perfect. I doesn’t need to be a rote prayer like the Lord’s Prayer. Just talk to the Higher Power and thank him for creating you and your children and the universe around us. I’ll give some examples of my nightly prayer. (I’ll remove some of the more Catholic/Christian stuff.)
“God the Father, thank you for creating the universe and all its inhabitants, including me.”
“Thank you for all the infinite blessings you have bestowed upon me; may you bless others with more.”
“Please guide our religious and political leaders. That they may follow Good and if not, have them be purged.”
“Please watch over (list a wide variety of people in my life in particular). Please give succor to the disconsolate, sick, mentally ill, homeless, infertile, and alike.”
“Please watch over all children that they may be protected from defilement, and give aid to those who have.”
Now by no means are my prayers perfect, but notice how most of them have nothing to do with me. They are general prayers of Thanksgiving, Petition, and Praise. These are but a few reasons as to why we should pray daily. If you don’t pray often, pray a little more…at least when following asleep say “Thank you God for not killing me or my family.” (Hey, that’s a low expectation prayer.)
If you are an avowed atheist or agnostic, admit to yourself that your atheism and agnosticism is a form of religion to you. Also, notice that your belief is mostly rooted in pride, intelligence arrogance, and overall disobedience.
If anything remember Pascal’s Wager. “It is better to believe in God and find out at death that you were wrong than not believe in God and find out at death you were wrong.” You might be hell-bound. Why not hedge your bets, have a deconstructionist view of God, and thank Him for creating you and that is it. That’s a good start.