Self-Talk Prayer DOES work

Praying to GodAnother excellent post by Tom Rees at Epiphenom shows that prayer works.   Mind you, as my previous post showed, magic prayer does not work, but prayer that amounts to self talk does work.  I have often said that the problem with people who deconvert from their religion is that they often throw the baby out with the wash.  So, for those of you Atheists who use to have a deep prayer life, start talking to yourself more and you may be surprised to find God back in your heart again !

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Filed under Cognitive Science, Science

8 responses to “Self-Talk Prayer DOES work

  1. Rob

    One word: placebo.

  2. I’d be interested to know whether other things have equal or better effects. Meditation for example would seem to me less silly than talking to an imaginary friend.

  3. For that matter, if I was going to pray to what I believed to be an imaginary being, I think I’d just pray to Superman or Gandalf or something of that sort.

    I wish someone would finance a study to see if that was as effective as praying to God.

  4. Rob

    I think that it would have to be just as effective, David, but I too would love to see such a study!

    Placebo is based simply upon how much the praying individual believes that his prayers will be answered. If you believe that Superman will help you it should then have as much of a placebo effect as the person praying to Jesus, right?

  5. All these studies are testing magic prayer. They are testing to see if praying for a person who does NOT know they are being prayed for improves their health.

    Praying for yourself, knowing others are praying for you are very different studies. Meditation experiments already show it is effective for some conditions.

  6. When I deconverted one of the things I realized early on was that prayer had such great results because I was constantly going over whatever the issue was in my head, which would nearly always lead to a grand revelation. I still do it now, just sans woo.

  7. Do note that the difference between prayer and secular motivational stuff was not statistically significant. So if prayer doesn’t float your boat, there’s no reason you force yourself to do it.

    I read a book once entitled “How God Changes Your Brain” in which the authors concluded that lengthy, formalized prayer had a similar effect to meditation but that short prayer had very little effect. They also said that positive religious and secular images had a calming effect, whereas negative images (such as that of a vindictive deity) tended to make the person angrier and more stressed.

  8. @ Thryn
    Good point about that secular motivational option. Likewise, we can have positive secular images — we don’t need the religious ones.

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