Jane_Doe

Non-LDS: Why do you pray?

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We have a lot of non-LDS on the board lately and have had some really good discussions, so I thought I'd take advantage to ask a question thats been on my mind for a while.

 

We LDS folk are really into praying to God for answers to questions.  I ask God about faith, work, family etc.  However, when I talk to a non-LDS person, praying to God for answers seems like a foreign idea.  That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, which probably means I'm misunderstanding something somewhere.

 

So, non-LDS folks: why do you pray?

 

 

 

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I'm probably a gatecrasher for answering this, but I was non-LDS for most of my life so maybe on some level I'm allowed to comment...

 

The non-LDS people I know pray all the time for guidance, but they tend to avoid words like "answer" and "confirmation" that pop up all the time in the context of LDS prayers.  I wouldn't bat an eye if an LDS person told me that he/she had received confirmation to accept or decline a calling.  And I've heard YSA jokes about a brother who allegedly gets a confirmation that some attractive sister should date him.   But hearing the word "confirmation" from a non-LDS Christian friend would seem odd to me.

 

In my Baptist days, I knew people who kept "answered prayer" journals.  But that was in Texas.  Here in California I know a lot of progressive Christians who believe prayer changes you, and that's pretty much the only thing it does.  I agree that it changes the person who prays, but it does more, too.  I have prayed all my life for various things, and I see the loving fingerprints of God on almost every aspect of my journey through life.  They're only visible in my rear-view mirror, though.

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I've prayed asking to keep family, friends and myself safe and probably do this daily; and especially when taking road trips with my husband driving. I've prayed about health issues. I've prayed about wanting to get pregnant. I've prayed for help with job issues. I pray to God with words of thanks for things that have happened.

 

M. 

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Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, like myself, would be very comfortable praying for guidance, direction, confirmation, and answers.  "Led by the Spirit" is a common refrain amongst us.  So, this would be one of those areas where the divide between us narrows significantly.

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I was raised Catholic and I prayed then the same as I pray now as LDS.  Any of the rote prayers were used in guiding meditation. My father taught me to meditate the seven mysteries of Christ ("The Sorrowful Mysteries")as I prayed the rote prayers of the Rosary. They guided my thoughts toward Christ in a way my praying now finds lacking.

 

Nonetheless, I was raised to pray personal prayers that included being thankful and asking for blessing, just as I do now. I just don't do the sign of the cross before and after...although I wouldn't find it offensive to do so.

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In my mind, the primary purpose of prayer is worship, to try to grow closer to God.

 

That being said, I do sometimes come to God with particular problems. In those cases, though, I don't tend to expect an overt response. God is the author of all that is good. When good things happen in my life, I have to acknowledge that God is their source. When I bring those particular concerns to him, I believe that he will either grant them or He will not. If He grants them, I believe he either does so through the thoughts and actions of others or of myself. If He does not grant them, well, then He sees a bigger picture than I do and I'm sure He has a good reason.

 

I think the best reason to pray is precisely for those times when He doesn't give you what you want. It's easy to be a good Christian when everything is going great, it's harder when the road gets tough. It's best in my mind to grow closer to him while things are going well so that you have a stronger foundation to start on when things start to go wrong.

 

-Claire

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There are as many different ways and forms to pray, as there are people.  Prayer is a way of conversing with our Father, doing our best to grow closer to Him and accept and live out His Divine Will in our lives.   I pray through action, by offering up every day and chores (this is where it varies from person to person, we are called to fulfill different roles).  This type of prayer glorifies Him, since I am joyfully doing what He has made me to do.  I also pray through meditation (rosary, which is a long prayer meditating on life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus.  This is only one example of meditative prayer), and contemplation (when I read the Bible or other theology books).  The Mass is a prayer of worship, which I do every Sunday, and can also participate in daily by going to daily Mass if I'm able.   

 

I also pray asking for guidance in His Will, and He has answered me in some truly remarkable ways :)  So, yes, I also pray for answers!  

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Lots of Catholic Prayers:

 

All prayers, of course, is Worship... then there's...

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Prayer of Repentance

Prayer for Blessings - bless my new car, bless my new house, bless my new shoes...

Prayer for the Intercession of Saints - ask a Saint to pray for you.

Prayer for guidance for the leaders - from Parish Priest to the Bishop to the Pope...

...etc. etc. etc

 

There's the Novena (9-day prayer) usually to ask God to guide a dearly departed through death.

There's the Rosary to reflect on the Mysteries of our Salvation - there are 20 mysteries in all - divided into 4 groups - so we reflect on the 5 Joyful Mysteries on Monday, the 5 Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday, the 5 Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday, the 5 Luminous Mysteries on Thursday, then back to Joyful and Sorrowful and Glorious to end on Sunday... then do it all over the next week.  So that every single day, we are reflecting on 5 events of Christ's life that brings us to Salvation.

There's the Birhen sa Barangay - weekly prayer to reflect on Mary's exemplary life... held by a neighborhood/subdivision/village/community meeting at one person's house and praying together, then meeting at another person's house the next week until all the members of the community have had their turn to have the prayer at their house.

There's the Easter Vigil, the Advent Prayers, the Stations of the Cross...

Theres the Fast and Devotion on first Fridays for the Sacred Heart of Jesus...

... etc. etc. etc. etc.

 

There's so many Catholic prayers - some personal, some as a family, some as a group, some as a Church, some formal, some more casual...

 

All have the same purposes really as LDS prayers.

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I pray because I like fellowship with God. He loves me and wants me to communicate with Him. He wants to give me answers, give me comfort, bless me and draw me closer to Himself. I pray to thank God for the many ways he blesses me. I pray for my needs and the needs of others.  I pray for help.  Most of the time I just pray because I like talking to God.  I know He hears me and cares about what I say/think.  So most of my prayer is just talk with God about random stuff, just like I talk to a friend.

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This raises a question in my mind about the culture of our church. Do we as LDS think that we are the only people who have a relationship with God? Honestly why would someone of a different faith pray from something different than what we do?

 

In reply they pray for the same stuff we do, wording and style of prayer...just variations on the same theme.

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This may be a sideline question, but I can remember that when I was growing up in church a lot of the older Christians would offer public prayers in a kind of King James English.  Some of us kids thought it was somewhat pretentious.  I've come to believe that they did so because they were men and women of the Word, and their Bibles were King James Version.  Does this happen in LDS settings--public prayers being offered in the language of scriptures?

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This may be a sideline question, but I can remember that when I was growing up in church a lot of the older Christians would offer public prayers in a kind of King James English.  Some of us kids thought it was somewhat pretentious.  I've come to believe that they did so because they were men and women of the Word, and their Bibles were King James Version.  Does this happen in LDS settings--public prayers being offered in the language of scriptures?

yes

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This may be a sideline question, but I can remember that when I was growing up in church a lot of the older Christians would offer public prayers in a kind of King James English.  Some of us kids thought it was somewhat pretentious.  I've come to believe that they did so because they were men and women of the Word, and their Bibles were King James Version.  Does this happen in LDS settings--public prayers being offered in the language of scriptures?

 

No,not really. We do use the pronouns "thou", "thee", "thy", and "thine", and not always correctly. But other than that, no, we don't use Jacobean English when we pray, or any other time except when we are reading aloud or quoting from the scriptures.

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Vort, I'm guessing that the "No, not really" may be more similar than you think.  Outside of quoting verses, the KJV English probably was mostly a lot of O God, thou art...and then a drift into modern English.  I think it was mostly the pronouns that were King James-ish.  And yes, often used incorrectly.  B)

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Vort, I'm guessing that the "No, not really" may be more similar than you think.  Outside of quoting verses, the KJV English probably was mostly a lot of O God, thou art...and then a drift into modern English.  I think it was mostly the pronouns that were King James-ish.  And yes, often used incorrectly.  B)

 

Well, in the sense that Jacobean English is modern English. I see a whole lot of different usage in my KJV versus my normal speech, and it is not at all limited to thou and thee. And I don't believe I have ever noticed any incorrect pronoun usage in the KJV of the Bible. The scholars were very careful to get the grammar right. But later English speakers mangled the usage so badly that the entire pronoun family got dropped, which is too darn bad. We are the poorer for it.

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This raises a question in my mind about the culture of our church. Do we as LDS think that we are the only people who have a relationship with God? Honestly why would someone of a different faith pray from something different than what we do?

 

 

The context of this thread (Jane can correct me if I'm mistaken) comes from people coming onto these forums to learn more about the LDS and being told to pray for knowledge. Many times this admonition was cast aside and treated as though it wasn't part of a person's paradigm (even if the person is already Christian). So if non-LDS aren't praying for revelation, what are they praying for (the very question acknowledges a relationship with God)?

 

It's a good and interesting question, and I'm glad that we've gotten answers from faith-filled members of other faiths.

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The context of this thread (Jane can correct me if I'm mistaken) comes from people coming onto these forums to learn more about the LDS and being told to pray for knowledge. Many times this admonition was cast aside and treated as though it wasn't part of a person's paradigm (even if the person is already Christian). So if non-LDS aren't praying for revelation, what are they praying for (the very question acknowledges a relationship with God)?

 

It's a good and interesting question, and I'm glad that we've gotten answers from faith-filled members of other faiths.

Part of the reason is that we believe in a closed-Canon.  We believe that God has shown us His Word from the Bible and that God's Word is trustworthy.  If something has been revealed to us as true through His Word, it would be wrong for us (in OUR belief structure) to pray to see if something contradictory in any way was true.

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Part of the reason is that we believe in a closed-Canon.  We believe that God has shown us His Word from the Bible and that God's Word is trustworthy.  If something has been revealed to us as true through His Word, it would be wrong for us (in OUR belief structure) to pray to see if something contradictory in any way was true.

 

That makes good sense for things in which the scriptures God clearly states are "do" or "don't do".  Many things in the scriptures are very clear that way.  

 

But there are also things which can be murky, or that aren't directly addressed in the Bible.  What is viewed as the correct procedure then?

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That makes good sense for things in which the scriptures God clearly states are "do" or "don't do".  Many things in the scriptures are very clear that way.  

 

But there are also things which can be murky, or that aren't directly addressed in the Bible.  What is viewed as the correct procedure then?

Most of the time the Bible has principles that can be applied broadly.  If the Bible doesn't address it then it falls under Romans 14.  If it is a matter of, "Should I take the out of state job?" for instance- then by all means ask God for the correct answer while considering Biblical principles [for instance, will I be provoking my children to wrath if  take this job(eph 6:4)? , do I know my wife doesn't support this decision( 1 Pet 4:7)? ]

 

 

Romans 14 King James Version (KJV)

14 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

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The context of this thread (Jane can correct me if I'm mistaken) comes from people coming onto these forums to learn more about the LDS and being told to pray for knowledge. Many times this admonition was cast aside and treated as though it wasn't part of a person's paradigm (even if the person is already Christian). So if non-LDS aren't praying for revelation, what are they praying for (the very question acknowledges a relationship with God)?

 

It's a good and interesting question, and I'm glad that we've gotten answers from faith-filled members of other faiths.

Hi. Praying for knowledge, to my Catholic ears, sounds gnostic so gets into heresy. Salvation not being something that is only for those in-the-know, but is for all. Praying for guidance, for understanding, for being led to Jesus, for protection from what is false, is all good and common. Knowledge, in particular, is odd sounding to any Catholic that I know. What knowledge will save us? None that I know of.

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What knowledge will save us? None that I know of.

For this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

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Hi. Praying for knowledge, to my Catholic ears, sounds gnostic so gets into heresy. Salvation not being something that is only for those in-the-know, but is for all. Praying for guidance, for understanding, for being led to Jesus, for protection from what is false, is all good and common. Knowledge, in particular, is odd sounding to any Catholic that I know. What knowledge will save us? None that I know of.

 

I think you and I are using different definitions of "knowledge".  

 

My use the the word "knowledge" in the context of prayer is to know what is good/bad, to know what is true, or to know which way to go.  I'm not thinking of "knowledge" as asking God to fill my head with Jeopardy trivia (that would be silly...).

 

Blueskye, how would you define "knowledge"?  I'm imagining that my definition overlays a lot with you definition of "guidance".  

Edited by Jane_Doe

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For this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

This is a statement of evangelization, that is, the Good News (Gospel) of Jesus Christ. It is not a statement about one's Salvation or how one could merit Salvation (there is no way for us to merit Salvation).

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I think you and I are using different definitions of "knowledge".  

 

My use the the word "knowledge" in the context of prayer is to know what is good/bad, to know what is true, or to know which way to go.  I'm not thinking of "knowledge" as asking God to fill my head with Jeopardy trivia (that would be silly...).

 

Blueskye, how would you define "knowledge"?  I'm imagining that my definition overlays a lot with you definition of "guidance".  

Guidance, is what I would call Wisdom, which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Knowledge and Wisdom are not the same thing. Knowledge is what can be cognitively understood by obtaining information or experience. It has many properties, one of which is, subjectivity. The other is that knowledge is illusionary, by that I mean, believing one has obtained absolute knowledge of something, which is of course an illusion. Absolute knowledge is not possible.

 

Wisdom goes beyond simple knowledge and penetrates deeper into truth and the mysteries of God.

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