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Is there a “right way” to pray?

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A picture of Pisgah Baptist Church in Four Oak...
Image via Wikipedia

My first inclination is that “the right way” is what the right wingers are all about and Pew Research surveys continue to offer us metrics about the pervasiveness of belief in a personal God and the practice of prayer in the US. I’m sure if they did their survey in Canada that the numbers for BC, Alberta, Sask and Manitoba would look the same as those in the US.

But the NY Times has this way of “printing “news” that is fit to print” do they have a magazine essay about learning how to pray in Brooklyn NY. Here’s an excerpt from that essay:

But I am in a small minority, at least in the United States. According to a recent study by the Pew Forum, 75 percent of Americans report that they pray at least once a week. Interestingly, only 39 percent attend a worship service once a week or more frequently. Steven Waldman, the editor in chief of, says he thinks this gap means prayer in America is becoming detached from traditional denominations. “In a way, prayer has become its own religion in this society,” he told me. “People pick and choose. They want to be their own spiritual contractors.” This tendency toward do-it-yourself spirituality affects every denomination. According to Waldman, there is a widespread phenomenon of Protestants burying plastic St. Josephs to help them sell their homes. Some Orthodox Jewish rabbis recommend the Lord’s Prayer as a pathway to spirituality. Jesuit retreats routinely incorporate Hindu and Buddhist techniques of meditation. And for those who can’t find what they want among the traditional brands, there are personal trainers known as spiritual directors.

Let me be clear about my own beliefs. I think prayer is childish and but it could have a significant Placebo Effect and that could be good, even for me! But let’s face it all this God talk is indulging in wide spread fantasies about “underlying truths”. So I’m willing to consider the benefit of the Placebo Effect, but fantasy is 99% bunkum and cant!

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