Why I Do Not Pray

Photo by Leland Francisco

I no longer pray.

At least, not in the traditional sense that people have of prayer — of verbally talking to a god, whether to ask for something or to praise or adore. Being brought up in a Christian background, I was taught that prayer is powerful and that it can move mountains. I read about great men of prayer who would spend hours on their knees each day. I learned to pray for great things and small things, for healing a relative from disease to asking for an Atari game console (my generation’s equivalent of today’s Xbox or Playstation).

Over time, I’ve had a few of my prayers were answered but many more went unanswered, and I began to ask questions. But then I was told that I had to pray “by faith”, and that prayer had to be “according to God’s will”. And then I thought, well, if it’s God’s will, why should I pray about it then? It’s going to happen anyway because, I mean, who can thwart God’s will, right? But still I was told to continue praying because God loves it when we come to him and ask in prayer.

And for a long while I just accepted that.

But then I thought, why would God want me to keep asking him for things that aren’t his will (which I only have a vague idea about)? I mean, what if I had a relative who was dying of brain cancer. And so I pray for healing. But then it is actually God’s will for this relative to pass on. Will he now change his will (as they say, his “good and perfect”  will) just to give in to my request? That would seem silly, especially since his will is already perfect. So why bother praying? Because he just wants me to ask? He wants me to keep looking and feeling like an idiot? He wants me to keep making excuses for him about why my prayer isn’t being answered?

This made me shift my attitude towards prayer, and to life. Instead of looking at life as a constant struggle between good and evil, for which I have to keep battling by praying for the good forces to win, I have come to accept life as it comes.

Everything is good, even if it doesn’t feel good at that time. The universe gives us what we need from moment to moment, and the way to live is to be grateful for each moment. Prayer is not a ritual, not a grocery list of petitions, nor fancy-sounding words of praise. The best prayer is not made with words, but in living life head-on, without regrets, always learning, always thankful.

I live — and that is all the prayer I need.

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6 thoughts on “Why I Do Not Pray”

  1. I am a Christian too, and when I lost my mother ,as a young girl, I hated God for taking away the one person whom I could talk to and who, I felt understood me.
    I believe that I was misled by my church that if I prayed hard ( WITH FULL FAITH)for my Mother( who had pancreatic cancer ) she would be al right.
    For many years I felt I was to blame for my mother`s death . My whole family disintegrated after her death. My father remarried , my brother left home and my father arranged my marriage at age 19.
    Of course , now I have left the church, and I feel really good about it.
    I pray, I remain silent, I am in the process of finding my soul and my self. My spiritual journey has begun and I feel that I am here on this earth for the sole purpose of helping myself and others to live their lives in bliss and silence.
    So thank you for this post!

  2. I respect your beliefs. You have your reasons. I used to believe the same. But you see when you know God on a deeper level, you will realize that there’s no one else in the world who can save you but Him. And only through prayers that we can communicate to God our intentions. Praying draw us closer to Him. We shouldn’t question God’s will and His plans for each and everyone of us including death because God is an omniscient Lord. He knows what is best for us.

    Isaiah 55: 8 -9 My thoughts, says the Lord are not like yours. My ways are different from your ways. As high as the heavens are above the earth so high are my thoughts and ways above yours.

    There will come a point that you will turn your eyes upon Him. And when that time comes, you will discover God’s unfailing love. Because even when we forsake Him and does not recognize Him, God will still accept you to His kingdom.

  3. Hi Joanne,

    While you sincerely believe that no one can save me but him, I would have to disagree with that because there is nothing from which I should be saved.


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