Must read: Tom Rees’ article review at Epiphenom: What you want, god wants.
Studies on prayer clearly show that intercessory pray (AKA: other-prayer or magical prayer) does not work, but I feel self-prayer (praying that you yourself will grow and change) can be a useful tool for peace of heart and insights into daily life. However, self-prayer efficacy is difficult to research.
Tom’s review of this brain research study supports my theory on self-prayer by showing that the reason we can learn much from self-prayer is because the god we are praying to is actually ourselves. Now, if self-prayer were only talking to a non-existent god, it too would be powerless like magical prayer, but instead, a person’s earnest prayers may actually be reaching someone who listens and actually cares — themselves!
Yet self-prayer is not as simple as just talking to yourself in the normal way. When people do deep self-prayer, they probably have better access to some of their multiple selves which are not easily accessible consciously. These selves contain information and ideas you may not be aware of at the moment of your prayer when you are locked in another self. I know this sounds sort of woo-woo, but this view fits well, I feel, with some computational views of mind. You can see this link if you aren’t familiar with my notion of multiple selves.
So, if you couple the insights of this study that Tom reviews along with the notion of self-prayer and my view of multiple selves, you may see why I feel self-prayer sometimes works.
Anyway, great article by Epiphenom !