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In our opinion: Decade later, prayer still vital

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  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2011 8:45 a.m.

    Cant we be honest with ourselves and reflect on the fact that on 9/11 the most passionately devout, committed to their faith and prayerful people involved in the tragedy were the terrorists themselves?

    Did God not know of the carnage these deeply religious young men had in mind? Isnt God not all-knowing?

    Why was this horrific evil allowed to happen? Isnt God all-powerful?

    Why were thousands of men, women and children left without their husbands, wives, mothers and fathers, spending the rest of their lives thinking about the horrifying way the died? Isnt God all-loving?

    If you can believe that God heard your prayer when you asked for a loved one to recover from an illness, but deliberately ignored the prayers of the victims on 9/11, then yes, some intense and honest soul-searching is needed.

    9/11 was an act of evil committed by deeply religious people in the name of God. They were shouting their prayers of devotion ("God is great!") as they committed mass murder.

    Today is a good day to remember Voltaire: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

  • speed66 Heber City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2011 9:58 a.m.

    While prayers may have brought comfort to those saying them, it was not the prayers that soften our hearts to listen more or feel more connected as a country. Hundreds of thousands go into churches every Sunday only to emerge spouting rancid and vile attacks at those who don't share their views.

    For those who don't pray or didn't pray, they felt the same feelings as others. It was our collective experience. We shared in the experience of being victimized by heinous and barbaric acts of violence.

    The horror for those closest to the events - both physically and because they had loved ones killed, injured or otherwise in harm's way - the horror was unimaginable. For the millions of us who watched with disbelief, it was confusing and heart-wrenching.

    I'm not opposed to prayer. If that is where you find comfort then by all means. But to suggest that prayer helped beyond providing comfort to the one praying or that we all prayed to one god...well that is simply advancing a belief for which you can't begin to provide objective evidence.

    Let's not forget the outpouring of love and support from the rest of the world.

  • JBQ Saint Louis, MO
    Sept. 11, 2011 10:00 a.m.

    Obviously, prayer is the answer. That is why the move by Mayor Bloomberg is so disheartening in regard to no religious presence at the memorial service. His office states that they were worried about the presence from a certain religion which is obviously Muslim. The result is a remembrance which is not God centered and truly secularistic humanism. A nation cannot survive on secular humanism. There are ideologies out there which have a specific goal and purpose. If we have no goal and no purpose other than personal fulfillment, then "gloom and doom" will result.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Sept. 11, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    I will never understand the logic of those who use 9/11 as a call for increased devotion to god. It was extreme devotion to god and religion that created 9/11.

  • my slc Newport Beach, CA
    Sept. 11, 2011 10:48 a.m.

    Re Blue:

    Well put. At times like this I remember Mark Twains The War Prayer March 22, 1905 but not published until 1923.

    Ponder this keep it in mind. If you beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse

    Google it.

  • Spell_It_Right Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    We caused this to happen by sticking our nose in where it was not welcomed. The attacks were in the name of hate, not God, even if that is what the terrorists claim led them to attack. Terrorists are brainwashed at a young age, as long as they do what they are told to do their families are taken care of and no harm will come to them. They are told it is in the name of God, but that is a lie. As long as the U.S. government thinks it is responsible for policing the world, there will always be threats of terror. The war on terror is an endless battle, similar to the war on drugs. We have been fighting the war on drugs for over forty years and whom are we fighting? The U.S. government needs to stop declaring war, it is ruining this country, and this is not what the people had in mind when forming this nation. The only threat to our way of life as we know it comes from within our own borders by a government who no longer hears the cries of its people.

  • VOTAR West Valley City, UT
    Sept. 11, 2011 1:14 p.m.

    There are those who, because the rain falls on the just and on the unjust, disclaim not only the benefit of the rain but the Creator of it, as well. Ignorance of God gives rise to disavowal of God. Though a desire to know God or even just to know if there is a God will, if there is sincere follow-through, bring about a personal knowledge of Him, many prefer to remain ignorant. Perhaps that it because the assumption of His non-existence makes it easier to live godlessly that is, without the kind of responsibility or commitment that is required of those who know Him. I know Him. I am well acquainted with Him. I have experienced both His chastisement and His love, both His blessing and His withholding of blessing, both the presence of His Spirit and the withdrawal of that same Spirit. And I bear my witness of Him with love and gratitude. If anyone sincerely desires to have a similar witness, prayer is a good place to start.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 11, 2011 1:47 p.m.

    Did God cause 9/11?

    Did he fly the planes?

    Did he incite those who flew the planes?

    Did any prophet, priest, or king, using God's words ON GOD'S TERMS, teach people to kill in 9/11?

    It's easy to say that God is all powerful, but it's hard to accept that a loving God allows us to do whatever we want to ourselves and to each other. We see things on a short term basis while He has an eternal perspective. He will handle injustices.

    Being God means that He will not interfere. That's a requirement for being God. Just because He has the power to stop hurt and destruction does not mean that He will interfere.

    That's a concept that Washington needs to learn. Power does not mean the right to interfere.

    Praying to the God who gave us life will assist us to use life properly and wisely. Those who go it alone are missing the greatest experience possible - to feel the hand of God, His comfort, His mercy, and His love.

    Prayer is only a problem to those who do not pray.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Sept. 11, 2011 1:50 p.m.

    Votar,

    I testify that your claims are wrong. I have spent twenty years praying to, wishing for, studying about, and sincerely, honestly seeking God.

    He is a no-show.

    That doesn't make me a bad person.

    Your logic is exactly the kind of intolerant rhetoric that demonizes those who do not believe the same as you.

    If 9/11 teaches anythIng, it is that such rhetoric is dangerous and immoral.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 11, 2011 2:28 p.m.

    re: Vanka,

    Because God did not answer your demands, He doesn't exist? Because you didn't feel His presence, because you didn't feel His hand guiding you, because you didn't see His face or hear His voice, he doesn't exist?

    Try again. This time leave your demands behind and be willing to do as He asks you to do. He's already heard every kind of demand imaginable. He's already heard every form of negotiation possible. All that He asks is a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Those who humble themselves, those who are willing to give up whatever He asks them to give up, those who ask without conditions attached, will find Him. Those who make demands on their terms will never see His face - never.

    9/11 teaches us that life is finite and that we had better live each day as though it were our last day on earth. If there is any good that we can do, we had better do it today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Sept. 11, 2011 3:17 p.m.

    Mike Richards 2:28 p.m.

    Ah, yes. The old "it's your fault because you're not praying hard enough" argument. Some of us HAVE prayed and pondered and studied and come to the conclusion that "God" doesn't really exist (at least not in the LDS sense.) This is what our minds and hearts and consciences tell us and, in spite of what some people claim, we've found a lot of contentment and clarity because of it. We're able to live more at peace with ourselves. Is that "bad"? Is "Satan" trying to deceive us?

    Look, as much as we both like to talk, the fact is that we just don't know one way or the other. We have our feelings and deductions, but those aren't proof, and they never can be. I'm willing to acknowledge that you can live a good and moral life by following your beliefs. Why can't you do the same?

    I'll also agree with what speed66 said: what we felt that day was a common experience as Americans and feeling human beings, and it's sad that religion constantly tries to claim that as its' exclusive property. Good transcends all that, I think.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 11, 2011 4:23 p.m.

    KJB1,

    Just because you haven't found God does not mean that others can't find Him; that others can't worship Him, that others can't follow Him. When I was a missionary, I was told by hundreds of people that God did not exist because . . . They all had their reasons, but the primary reason was that they refused to accept Him on His terms. They wanted to receive some kind of confirmation of Him without changing those things in their lives that kept Him from their knowledge. President Spencer W. Kimball wrote a book, "Faith Precedes The Miracle". Read it and then do what it suggests. Life is too short to waste it believing that you are just a result of monkeys evolving.

    Look around. Everything is a testament of intelligent creation. Look beyond yourself. Take a leap of faith. Your life will never be the same again.

    People turn to God when they understand their insignificance and their helplessness in a world gone awry. 9/11 was that time and place. 3,000 people died - without cause. That was a time of mourning, of suffering, of praying. Good comes from God. He transcends thoughts of self-importance.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 11, 2011 5:11 p.m.

    Re: Vanka | 1:50 p.m. Sept. 11, 2011

    Many have witnessed that God exists and that He has touched their lives. God is no respecter of persons and if we fail to establish a relationship with Him the fault lies with us ..... not Him.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Sept. 11, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    Mike Richards 4:23 p.m.

    No one is stopping you from worshiping God as you see fit. All we ask is the right to look at the same information and come to a different conclusion without being thought of as lesser or "deceived." As for me, I took my "leap of faith" and found there was nothing to catch me. I had to look for another way, and it's made a world of difference. I have a peace I never knew when I was trying to "play along."

    And are those "His" terms or your terms?

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    Sept. 11, 2011 6:04 p.m.

    To KJB1 - Yes, Satan is trying to deceive you. We have been given the right to choose - but we cannot choose the consequences. To: Vanka - God is always here when we need him, I can testify to that..he has never let me down. There have been times my prayers were not answered the way I wanted them to be but as you pray if you are earnestly seeking his help end your prayer with, "Thy will ne done". Then be willing to accept what his will is. That is called trust in your Heavenly Father and knowing he wants the best for you.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Sept. 11, 2011 7:27 p.m.

    I always find it interesting that when ever someone finds something good about life - including the rewards they feel from believing in God, immediately many jump to end the peace and counter every good thing with something bad that happened.

    I can no more convince someone who doesn't believe in God that He exists than they can convince me that he doesn't. Lets leave it at that. But the red flags go up for me when ever someone try to bring down another person by attacking their beliefs, or by reminding them of all the evil in the world. Let us enjoy the roses without magnifying the thorns. Life includes both. I choose to enjoy the beauty of the rose. I am aware of ugliness, but am much happier focusing on the beauty that is very abundant as well. I'm sorry if your prayers haven't been answered, but mine have. Again, let's leave it at that.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Sept. 12, 2011 5:55 a.m.

    "KJB1 - Yes, Satan is trying to deceive you"

    And suzy makes the point of many perfectly.

    If you look for god, and dont find him/her, or interpret what you do find differently from suzy, satan is at work and that is the reason.

    People can ALWAYS come to a conclusion that suits them.

    Example.

    Kid gets lost in the woods for 2 days. Is found cold, hungry and alive.

    The religious say - "see, god does answer prayers"

    Kid gets lost in the woods for 2 days. Is found dead in a ravine.

    The religious say - "obviously, god had different plans"
    Or, that was the work of satan.

    You can find what you want in any situation. That is human nature.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 12, 2011 8:13 a.m.

    Re: Mike Richards "Prayer is only a problem to those who do not pray." ???

  • bluecoug89 Highland, UT
    Sept. 12, 2011 8:22 a.m.

    To all those who haven't found God, I am deeply sorry. I know that he exists and that no matter what we do he loves us but we don't always get things answered on our terms. I know there are many times where I have felt alone and without him, mostly because of my doing, but if I put my pride and my will aside and conformed myself to his will, he was always found. He gives a promise to all of us, that if we knock it will be opened unto us, and I promise that is true. People say that we feel what we want to feel which leads us to believe what we want to believe but I can say what I have felt is well beyond me. No matter how hard I try I can't just make myself feel those things again. I can't make myself feel that peace and that "burning" in my heart as I read the Book of Mormon, or the intense love as I pray sincerely, because that doesn't come from within me, it's not something that I make up, it comes from a loving God.

  • Phranc SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 12, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    @votar, mike richards and rifleman

    Its called circular reasoning people look it up.

  • cindyacre Shelley, ID
    Sept. 12, 2011 8:42 a.m.

    The god that the terrorists prayed to and apparently acted for is not the God that I know.

    While bad things happen to all (and some are accidents, etc), do we blame God, or do we blame the people who commit atrocities? Put the blame where it belongs.

    God has told us we are to love our neighbor - but He doesn't force us to do it. That would negate the law. We choose our own actions. We don't/can't always choose the consequences of others' actions, but we can choose our own voice, actions and results.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Sept. 12, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    To "Blue | 8:45 a.m." God knew what the terrorists were going to do. He let them do it so that the judgement of those people would be just. If the terrorists were prevented from killing anybody, how could God give them an eternal punishment if they never actually did anything wrong.

    We are here on Earth to learn to choose good or evil. Nobody will force us to do either, we must choose for ourselves. At the day of judgement, we will receive the reward or punishment for our deeds. Those that choose evil will be sent to not-so-nice place, and those who chose good will be rewarded.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Sept. 12, 2011 6:09 p.m.

    The entire idea that "God answers prayers" is an illusion created by human imagination. When a prayer appears to be answered, it is a coincidence. Quite simply, prayer has absolutely no effect on the outcome of any event. The "power of prayer" is actually "the power of coincidence." Certainly if you believe in prayer all your claims concerning it being true or working for you will come to be because, as said, circular reasoning applies which is an argument that the conclusion is among its premises, if it assumes (either explicitly or not) what it is trying to prove. A circular argument fails as a proof because it will only be judged to be sound by those who already accept its conclusion. If you believe in prayer or in God for that matter....any prayer can be answered and any feeling or perception can be interpreted as an answer, intervention, or feeling from God.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Sept. 13, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    Prayers may be vital to the mental well being of those praying.

    People can be comforted by their prayers.

    However, there is no evidence that prayers affect anything else.

    There is no evidence that prayers change the outcome of any situation or event.

    Do prayers work? I don't know. But there is no evidence that they do.

  • bluecoug89 Highland, UT
    Sept. 13, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    @Joggle,

    It is okay that you believe that way, we can all believe what we want but I want you to explain something to me. One time, while my family and I were in Yellowstone, we were going to go on a hike. Before we went I said my prayers (as usual) and I got the distinct feeling not to go because a bear had made a fresh kill right on the trail where we were going to be hiking so I told my family and we stayed. A few hours later, we heard some people talking and they had talked about how on the trail, just a few miles up, there was a fresh kill made and that the bear was being very protective of the carcass. Before that, we had never heard anything about the carcass, only what I had felt. How could I have known? Was it just coincidence that I knew, without a doubt, exactly what was on that trail, without ever having heard before? You will find a way around it, I know you will, but I received an answer to my prayer and it could have saved our lives.

  • bluecoug89 Highland, UT
    Sept. 13, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    @Joggle,

    Explain to me the story of the woman who crossed the plains to Utah. Her family had no food and they were starving so she went out to look for something to eat. While she prayed for help, a man came to her and told her to follow him. He led her to a cave and inside the cave there were racks of drying meat (beef jerky). She thanked him and left but as she left she turned around to thank him again and in the exact place where the cave was before, stood a rock wall. The cave was gone and the man that had helped her wasn't there anymore. Her prayer had been answered. What a coincidence that she just happened to run into a man who happened to have a lot of leftover beef jerky and a magical disappearing cave. You seem like a logical person, can you please explain to me how that happened?

  • bluecoug89 Highland, UT
    Sept. 13, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    Whether you call it divine intervention or whether you call that feeling indigestion it is real. God answers our prayers and he always will, in fact, he just answered one of mine yesterday. There was no way on earth that I could have known what I knew yesterday without my Heavenly Father's help. I trust in him and he has led me too much to just pass him off as a coincidence. I can't turn my back on him like that.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Sept. 13, 2011 8:47 a.m.

    Blue,

    We often hear stories like that.

    Example,

    Someone gets a weird feeling at the airport and decides not to go on the plane.
    It crashes. Story circulates widely.

    Example 2.
    Someone gets a weird feeling at the airport, but gets on the plane anyway.
    Nothing happens and the trip goes fine. Nothing is ever mentioned.

    Yes, your experience could have been divine intervention. Or just maybe coincidence.

    I am glad for you if it helps you live your live more comfortably.

  • Castlepath South Jordan, UT
    Sept. 13, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    "I will never understand the logic of those who use 9/11 as a call for increased devotion to god. It was extreme devotion to god and religion that created 9/11."

    First of all, islam is not a religion, it's a political ideology. Second, the savages who carried out this act were not devoted to "God". Read the koran, you will see it is one of the most anti-God, anti- Christ book out there.

    You're implying religion and devotion to God is some how the center of all evil. What is your explanation for the crimes of the Godless: stalin, polpot,hitler, mao?

  • watcher@75 SMITHFIELD, UT
    Sept. 13, 2011 2:04 p.m.

    There is and always has been great solace in prayer. Conversing with God, the One True God, helps me see the larger picture of why we are here in this mortal environment. Christ, the greatest of all, He who was the Son of God, prayed fervently during His horrendous suffering. God exists. How comforting it is to know that absolute truth. One nation under God works best after having risen from its knees while carrying a solemn prayer in its heart, then allows the Holy Spirit to guide and direct life changing actions. America's history and significance has and is based upon the intensity of its prayers.

  • Joggle Clearfield, UT
    Sept. 13, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    @bluecoug89

    JoeBlow explained it well! A person can either attribute those kinds of stories to devine intervention or coincidence! My question is: why would one prayer be answered, but not another....or why aren't many of the same prayers not answered for that matter? I could also say "You will find a way around it, I know you will", but that is not a valid arguement.

    My observations: When something good happens (especially if it's unlikely or a coincidence - even a borderline coincidence), it's retroactively attributed to a) answered prayer, b) God's blessing and/or c) a sign from God by religious people. When something bad happens, the fact that it wasn't even worse is attributed to God's protection. And as a final thought, how about those of us who don't pray? We can avoid danger also! We would heed the natural feeling of danger or fear from hearing that a bear had made a fresh kill right on the trail where we were going to be hiking! You said you knew THAT before the hike you didn't go on.

    I am also glad for you if it helps you live your life more comfortably. It adds nothing to mine!