The Irony of Prayer

Often people pray for others. When there is nothing else to say or do, as in a troubling or tragic situation, people often say, “I’ll pray for you.”

This is a kind thing to say as many people believe that God or a Higher Power responds directly to prayers and petitions. Whether or not this is the case doesn’t matter as there are benefits to prayer irrespective of its empirical value.

For many believers, simply knowing prayers are being said brings comfort.  It is the thought that someone is taking time out of their day to consider and pray for them that provides reassurance and calmness to the person prayed for. A similar benefit occurs to the person praying. The petitioner is granted momentary escape from their self-centered thoughts when considering the well being of others and praying for them.

All this is to say that the primary benefit of prayer occurs mainly in the minds and attitudes of those who pray and those prayed for.

Therefore it is ironic that it is the person who is praying for someone else who might be receiving the biggest benefit from prayer.