Is It Arrogant to Pray?

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mfree6464
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Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by mfree6464 » 17 Sep 2019, 16:34

Was watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee this morning on Netflix. It was the episode where Jerry Seinfeld spends the morning with Ricky Gervais. The topic of religion came up in a roundabout way and Ricky started telling Jerry that he doesn't ever pray. He said that it makes him feel arrogant. His reasoning was this, "Who am I to believe that I am so important to God that he will help me find my car keys if I just pray for help when he left millions of praying Jews to die in gas chambers during the holocaust?" (not a direct quote.)

I've had similar thoughts on prayer but never heard it put quite in that way. Curious what thoughts and reactions you all might have...

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Katzpur
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Re: Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by Katzpur » 17 Sep 2019, 17:31

mfree6464 wrote:
17 Sep 2019, 16:34
Was watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee this morning on Netflix. It was the episode where Jerry Seinfeld spends the morning with Ricky Gervais. The topic of religion came up in a roundabout way and Ricky started telling Jerry that he doesn't ever pray. He said that it makes him feel arrogant. His reasoning was this, "Who am I to believe that I am so important to God that he will help me find my car keys if I just pray for help when he left millions of praying Jews to die in gas chambers during the holocaust?" (not a direct quote.)

I've had similar thoughts on prayer but never heard it put quite in that way. Curious what thoughts and reactions you all might have...
I totally disagree with that sentiment. Back when I was in "Mutual" (during the 1960s), one of my teachers told us that nothing is too trivial for you to pray about. She said, "If it's important to you, it's important to God." We can't possibly know why God chooses to answer some prayers and not answer others, but to me, prayer is how I keep in touch with him. I think He wants us to acknowledge His hand in all things. When we ask for something (even that He'll help us find our car keys), that's telling Him that we know He's in a position to be able to help us. There have been countless times when I've wondered why He didn't come through for me, but I've come to realize that it's not because He sees me as unimportant.
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." ~Rudyard Kipling ~

Arrakeen
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Re: Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by Arrakeen » 17 Sep 2019, 18:21

I don't think prayer is inherently arrogant, but it can be depending on what you pray for. For example, if you expect God to give you more blessings than someone else because you are more righteous than they are. Or if you pray about how glad you are to be better than others (like the Pharisee in Jesus' parable). I don't think there's anything wrong with having faith that God will answer your prayers. But if you think God answers your prayers because you are so worthy, or if you think other people's prayers go unanswered because they were less worthy than you, then I think that's the point where it becomes arrogant.

It is a very interesting question though, why God answers even seemingly trivial prayers for some people, but does not address some much more serious needs for others. I really have no clue.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 17 Sep 2019, 20:53

Praying? No

Seeing God as a vending machine (insert action, get blessing)? Probably.

Having said that, many people who pray regularly and fervently are not arrogant. Many, however, are.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

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mom3
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Re: Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by mom3 » 17 Sep 2019, 23:07

My prayers changed as my faith changed. I ceased or mostly ceased asking for things. I still commune with him on a daily, hourly, minutely basis. I now converse with him, like I would a friend. I also try to increase my expressions of gratitude. My life is so abundant in things, experiences, blessings, opportunities - I can fill a whole prayer experience with just "thank you's"- I love prayer.

Lost keys vs. the Holocaust - that's above my pay grade.
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"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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DarkJedi
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Re: Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by DarkJedi » 18 Sep 2019, 05:15

Like Mom, my prayer changed drastically post faith crisis/transition. I also don't ask for things, but I do acknowledge things that I feel fortunate for (like not hitting a deer for over 2 years on my long daily commute). I do not believe in the God of the Lost Car Keys (the first episode of TBS's Miracle Workers has a very funny sequence on that subject - probably more funny because of my status on prayer). I actually don't believe most prayers are answered and maybe aren't even heard, but may be more like baptism and are just expressions of personal worship. But that's just me based on my own experiences. Could it be arrogant to pray? I am positive it is arrogant on the part of some people, but who I am to judge?
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Minyan Man
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Re: Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by Minyan Man » 18 Sep 2019, 06:42

It is interesting how your prayers change after going through a FC. My current belief in prayer is similar to the ending in
the movie Oh God. (I've talked about this before.) John Denver says to George Burns (God) "Aren't there times when we
can just talk". And God say: "You talk I'll listen."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6x0i-FfeA44

There are (3) parables where Jesus talks about praying:
Luke 11:5-10
Luke 18:1-8
Luke 18:9-14

He doesn't say necessarily how or where to pray, just do it.
So, sometimes I just meditate or focus my thoughts on a principle of the gospel & keep my mind open (as much as I can) to whatever
comes. Is this arrangance? I don't know. I don't necessarily expect an answer in return. A feeling of peace is enough.

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felixfabulous
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Re: Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by felixfabulous » 18 Sep 2019, 10:50

My prayers have also changed since my FC. To be honest, sometimes I pray in an unorthodox way and sometimes my prayers are by the book. I think the important part of prayer is an attempt to ping the divine mystery. Sometimes there is a connection and sometimes it's routine and solely out of habit and obligation. This was a great podcast https://theliturgists.com/podcast/2019/7/19/prayer. Sometimes a quiet moment basking in the connection of the universe can be sacred and what I would now consider prayer. I was recently in the Teton mountains, early in the morning and basked in the sunrise, saw some elk and a moose and felt connected to God and nature. That was a sacred, spiritual experience and a prayer because it was like a divine conversation, rather than shooting off a one word text.

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SamBee
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Re: Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by SamBee » 19 Sep 2019, 17:26

mfree6464 wrote:
17 Sep 2019, 16:34
Was watching Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee this morning on Netflix. It was the episode where Jerry Seinfeld spends the morning with Ricky Gervais. The topic of religion came up in a roundabout way and Ricky started telling Jerry that he doesn't ever pray. He said that it makes him feel arrogant. His reasoning was this, "Who am I to believe that I am so important to God that he will help me find my car keys if I just pray for help when he left millions of praying Jews to die in gas chambers during the holocaust?" (not a direct quote.)

I've had similar thoughts on prayer but never heard it put quite in that way. Curious what thoughts and reactions you all might have...
I've always found Gervais' attitude towards religion arrogant. He has said some ugly and bigoted things about various religions. I think the real.reason he doesn't pray is because of what he thinks might happen if he does it sincerely.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Heber13
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Re: Is It Arrogant to Pray?

Post by Heber13 » 19 Sep 2019, 20:47

Katzpur wrote:
17 Sep 2019, 17:31
I think He wants us to acknowledge His hand in all things.
I like this thought as well. There is something that is healthy for us to think beyond our self, and into a universal collective or an almighty God that can help us broaden our thinking and our situation in life. Mystical things are helpful to drag us out of the daily thoughts we have when focused just on ourselves. Acknowledging the divine in all things is very healthy for us, I think.
Arrakeen wrote:
17 Sep 2019, 18:21
it can be depending on what you pray for.
I agree with this too, and think it can be part of a journey to figure this out.

I am not sure there is any being out there that hears my prayers, but I have found it helpful for me to pray to some being out there, and not for car keys, but for ways to love and serve others or to find the words to give my children when they need advice. I don't know how it happens, but I find myself thinking differently when I do pray in this way. I find I am better off for it. Probably because, as I said, it gets me out of my head, and into my heart and spirit to believe in something greater than myself for connecting with others.

It isn't always arrogant. It can be very much the opposite.

I think people should just try and experiment with prayer, and find what works for them or what doesn't. There are lots of ways to do it.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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