I say it again, prayer is ridiculous.
What is prayer? Prayer – especially the supplication kind, requires the belief that
(1) You, a finite, short-lived, self-focused, fallible, mortal being with little knowledge,
(2) by uttering (or even just thinking!) some request out into the expanse of the universe
(3) somehow might be heard and comprehended
(4) by a more-knowing, less-imperfect and more-powerful Being (to whom you are directing the request), and that this
(5) may cause the Being to take some action that will
(6) cause change in the course of some part of the universe that you care about,
(7) in a direction that you think would be better than if this change didn’t happen.
• Often your prayer’s targeted section of existence is not at all within your sphere of influence.
• Often your utterances are made in complete or nearly-complete ignorance.
• The more powerful the being, the more presumptuous your utterance is.
So if, for example, you expect your prayer to work with a completely self-completing Being, who, by the way, created you, and who knows the beginning from the end, how insane it is for you to assume that this Being will not only (1) choose to be aware that you exist and are thinking these thoughts, but (2) to listen to them and (3) (most plainly ridiculous) make changes to His universe because of your utterances.
I note that your prayers sometimes include expectations that this Being might work towards such audacious petitions as –
• removing or modifying enough destructive cells in the body of someone of whom you are aware and care about so that it might function better
• directing a sufficient number of atoms so that weather patterns will fit in with and/or enhance your future goals.
• altering the electrical patterns in your own brain so that it will rightly choose the most optimal course of action in a specific situation
• changing the nature of a dead human soul which is currently in direct opposition to this perfect Being, so that this soul will become alive and then praise his creator.
You actually think it possible that He will work out these things, just because you a tiny collection of molecules on a tiny planet in his vast universe, ask for it. Tell me, what are you thinking? It’s insanity. It’s vanity. It’s … ridiculous.
What’s that? You say this Being (and his Son) have repeatedly communicated to you that he will listen and answer your prayers? You say he actually commands you to pray to him and ask him for things? That he wants to answer your prayers?
Oh. Well . . . carry on then.
Update: Here are some more “audacious petitions” – from a reliable source.