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Is praying for a lottery win frowned upon? Depends on who you ask
November 28th, 2012
02:51 PM ET

Is praying for a lottery win frowned upon? Depends on who you ask

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – With odds of purchasing the winning Powerball ticket set at 1 in 175,223,510 – longer odds than dying from a bee sting or being struck by lighting – it shouldn’t be shocking that lotto hopefuls are turning to God for some divine intervention in advance of Wednesday night’s drawing for a $550 million jackpot.

One hastily set up website, “Prayer List for Powerball,” even charges people a dollar a piece to be included on a “list of those wishing to pray for each other to win the Powerball lottery.”

“Because WE Are STRONGER When WE Are CONNECTED,” the website says.

Around 20 people have bought in, their names scrawled across the bottom of the site.

But the idea of praying for something so selfish has raised some eyebrows. Many on Twitter are asking the simple question: Is it OK that I ask God to make my lottery ticket a winner?

So, are such prayers really OK?

“Sure, but it is complicated,” said Tanya Luhrmann, a Stanford University anthropology professor who wrote the book “When God Talks Back,” about the use of prayer.

“I think people have parallel registers for thinking about the consequences of prayer,” she said. “For some, there is an invitation to talk to God about everything. At the same time, there is a sense that when you are walking with Jesus, you are becoming a better person, a person who would not want your prayer to prevent someone else to win the lottery.”

In doing research for her book, Luhrmann spoke with hundreds of Christians about why and how they pray. Some conversations centered on what she called prayer for “trivial things” – a good haircut, a parking spot or the answers to an exam. Others, however, derided those prayers as beneath God.

Lurhmann says the latter group of people doesn’t want God to be someone you would “just get coffee with.” Instead, they see a more formal God and are concerned, according to Lurhmann, “about [people] misunderstanding who God is.”

Those who view God more informally would say, according to Lurhmann, “that it is important to pray to God, but it is also important for God to be God. God wants to hear from you about everything, but God is going to make decisions about what he will do.”

For Rabbi Felipe Goodman of Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas, whether it is acceptable to pray for a winning lottery ticket boils down to whether you believe people will do good things with that money.

“Who are we to say that that person won’t change the world with that money,” Goodman said. “Why do we always have to think that people are going to do the wrong thing? I want to think that people are good, and I want to think that if someone comes into that money, they are going to do something good with it.”

Being from Las Vegas, a city that thrives on gambling, people regularly come to Goodman’s synagogue to pray for a bit of gambling luck. Though the Talmud, a Jewish holy book, says that professional gamblers should not be trusted, he says these people come to services because “they clearly think God is going to help them win.”

“Who are we to qualify whether or not this is trivial,” Goodman said.

Like those who have come to the rabbi’s synagogue, many on Twitter have looked to God for a lottery win.

At the Christian Prayer Center, a website that allows people to post prayers publicly, some have mentioned the lottery in a section called “Prayers for Finance.”

“For almost a year now I feel like the LORD is leading me to play the lottery,” reads one anonymous prayer posted recently. “I played the Mega Money Lotto for tomorrow nights drawing and I ask that your prayer warrior will pray for me for the numbers I had played and would hit the jackpot and if GOD's will for me to win I will be a blessing to his kingdom to help the poor and the needy.”

This practice isn’t unheard of. In the past, lottery winners have credited prayer with their financial windfalls.

In 2007, after Gloria Aguda won $9 million from the Colorado Lottery, she told the Denver Post that when her house was about to be foreclosed upon, she prayed for help and bought a lottery ticket.

Earlier this year, when 48 members of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority won the lottery, some credited the win to prayer. Larry Green, a SEPTA employee for more than 30 years, said he prayed for his deceased wife, a woman who had always “talked about us hitting the lottery.”

“I prayed for a lottery win. I prayed to certain saints,” Green told NBC10 in Philadelphia. “And after we won, I kept praying to those saints, and I just wanted to say, never doubt the power of prayer, and that's it.”

Religion and the lottery have long been connected, primarily because religious leaders from many denominations have protested allowing lotteries in their states. For example, when South Carolina voters decided to repeal a constitutional amendment and allow the state to hold a lottery in the year 2000, religious voices from the largely evangelical state voiced disapproval.

“Anti-lottery signs proliferated on church property, clergy signed full-page newspaper advertisements opposing the plan and minister after minister wrote letters to the editor and guest commentaries for the South Carolina press,” recounts James L. Guth, professor at Furman University, in his paper “The Lotto and the Lord.

Earlier this year, Texas Baptists asked the state’s lottery commission to totally abolish the state lottery, arguing that it takes advantage of the poor and caters to impulse buyers.

“Having a deceptive product that is supported by the state is morally wrong,” Suzii Paynter, director of the Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, told the Houston Chronicle. “From a Christian perspective, that is wrong. We have a moral aversion to exploiting poor populations.”

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (455 Responses)
  1. Damocles

    Atheists believe in self-anhilation after death: There is nothing after this life.
    Atheists believe that there are no gods, goddess or higher powers.
    Atheists believe that everyone should believe the same way they do.
    Atheists have groups of people that actively engage in converting people to their way of believing.
    Atheism is a religion, just like any other religion. Atheism is as extreme as christian fundamentalism.
    If you'd like to be your own person, try being Agnostic. You can do as you please, believe as you please and be a good person without having to believe in what other people demand of you.

    November 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • biobraine

      Atheists believe in self-anhilation after death: There is nothing after this life. (Athiests don't believe in an afterlife. I wouldn't use the term self annihilation, but I think you are trying to be as negative as you can about athiests)
      Atheists believe that there are no gods, goddess or higher powers. (Correct. In fact this is about all you can say about athiests.)
      Atheists believe that everyone should believe the same way they do. (Many people from all walks of life are like that, including religious folk)
      Atheists have groups of people that actively engage in converting people to their way of believing. (I've never had an athiest try to "convert" me. I have had plenty of attempts made by religious people.)
      Atheism is a religion, just like any other religion. Atheism is as extreme as christian fundamentalism. (Athiest don't believe in any gods. There is no religion to it. Not believing in a god is not an extreme position to most educated people)
      If you'd like to be your own person, try being Agnostic. You can do as you please, believe as you please and be a good person without having to believe in what other people demand of you. (In other words, if you are agnostic, then you can be a good person. If you are an athiest you must be bad. You would like everyone to believe the same way you do.)

      Perhaps demonizing atheists for questioning your beliefs makes it easier to dismiss them. If I had a belief system that was so fragile when it came to evidence, I would dislike questioning as well.

      November 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  2. bostontola

    The lottery is a trap for the lower middle class. Rather than investing that money over time to build wealth, hope for a miracle. I guess it works on the religious as well. Prayer doesn't build financial wealth, investment (time, money, etc) does.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  3. derp

    Christards are so unbelievably stupid.

    Yeah, pray to win the lottery, god has time for that.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Huh?

      Only 2 people one which proves that prayer doesn't work for all the others. What kind of odds was that again let's see 1.7 million to 1 or something like that.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Huh?

      Only 2 people won which proves that prayer doesn't work for all the others. What kind of odds was that again let's see 1.7 million to 1 or something like that.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Huh?

      Sorry for the double post I was trying to fix one to mean won, typed too fast and hit the enter key. Oops, I hate that.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Topher

      derp

      Well, technically God exists outside of time ...

      As a Christian, I personally contend that playing the lottery is a sin.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Huh? Maybe they prayed hardest or were most deserving and wouldn't have won without proayer. Look, I don't think there's any evidence prayer works, but the lotter doesn't "prove" anything for either side. We have statistics and research procedures for a reason.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Topher, Technically god doesn't exist. Neither you nor I know what if anything was before the Big Bang.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Topher

      In Santa we trust

      "Topher, Technically god doesn't exist."

      That's your opinion. I think He does.

      "Neither you nor I know what if anything was before the Big Bang."

      Fair enough. Neither you nor I know the Big Bang happened. In fact, I don't think it did.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

      Your claim is that your version of a god exists outside of time.

      You did the first part – the extraordinary claim really well. But you neglected the second part – the evidence.

      So this is the part where I again ask you to post the peer-reviewed scientific evidence that supports your claim.

      Shall I just assume that you will refuse to post the evidence, like you have done every other time I have asked you to do this?

      November 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      (1) Hallucinations – the person has invisible friends who (s)he insists are real, and to whom (s)he speaks daily, even though nobody can actually see or hear
      these friends.

      (2) Delusions – the patient believes that the invisible friends have magical powers to make them rich, cure cancer, bring about world peace, and will do so eventually if asked.

      (3) Denial/Inability to learn – though the requests for world peace remain unanswered, even after hundreds of years, the patients persist with the praying behaviour, each time expecting different results.

      (4) Inability to distinguish fantasy from reality – the beliefs are contingent upon ancient mythology being accepted as historical fact.

      (5) Paranoia – the belief that anyone who does not share their supernatural concept of reality is "evil," "the devil," "an agent of Satan".

      (6) Emotional abuse – ­ religious concepts such as sin, hell, cause feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and other types of emotional "baggage" which can scar the
      psyche for life.

      (7) Violence – many patients insist that others should share in their delusions, even to the extent of using violence.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher wrote, " Neither you nor I know the Big Bang happened. In fact, I don't think it did."

      Except, of course for all the facts and evidence it did. The science is worked out going back to the Planck Epoch.

      You don't "believe" it happened because you are are an ignorant fundiot nutter. You chose to get your "sciency" sounding information from non-science sources like the Pastor Dave's of the world. The problem is that Pastor Dave is as scientifically ignorant as you are.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Topher

      Primewonk

      Dude, if you'd like to talk about evidence, I'd be happy to discuss it with you. But I bet you're not really interested in hearing it. You just want to slam me and blaspheme God.

      Second, you keep asking for "peer reviewed scientific evidence" as if I have access to these things. You keep requesting my evidence accompany such things, but the fallacy here is that such a paper does not make something more true than those that don't.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Topher, So if in my mind I believe that the universe was created by a pink unicorn who controls the lives of humans with capricious irregularity, that makes it true? Provide an evidence-based explanation of how your god is more credible than a pink unicorn. Quoting the bible doesn't count nor does repeating what you think.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Topher

      Primewonk

      "You don't "believe" it happened because you are are an ignorant fundiot nutter."

      Exactly what I thought. You've got nothing but name calling. Move along.

      "You chose to get your "sciency" sounding information from non-science sources like the Pastor Dave's of the world. The problem is that Pastor Dave is as scientifically ignorant as you are."

      Who is Pastor Dave?

      November 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Topher

      Hi, In Santa we trust

      "Topher, So if in my mind I believe that the universe was created by a pink unicorn who controls the lives of humans with capricious irregularity, that makes it true?"

      Not at all. What you THINK happened doesn't mean a thing. What we need to find out is what is true?

      "Provide an evidence-based explanation of how your god is more credible than a pink unicorn. Quoting the bible doesn't count nor does repeating what you think."

      First, I reject your claim I can't use the Bible. That's ridiculous. Second, name me one adult who has started worshipping pink unicorns. Third, creation is evidence for a creator.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher wrote, " you keep asking for "peer reviewed scientific evidence" as if I have access to these things"

      You do. There are numerous on-line data archives for scientific articles. Many are free. Additionally, you can ask the nice ladies at the help desk in your local library.

      If you weren't such an ignorant fundiot nutter, you would have known this.

      You simply choose not to understand actual s incentive because it conflicts with your 2000 year old book of myths. You chose to be stupid.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher wrote, "creation is evidence for a creator."

      And again, you have been told dozens of times that so far we have uncovered a thousand different creationists stories based on a thousand different gods. The 2 different myths in your bible are no better or worse than any of the rest. However, all thousand myths are mutually exclusive. And all thousand have the exact same amount of evidence to support itself. That would be zip.

      Again, it is because you choose to be a scientifically ignorant nutter that you lack the cognitive ability to understand this.

      November 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      "What you THINK happened doesn't mean a thing. What we need to find out is what is true"
      You THINK a god exists and that is sufficient for you to think it is true.

      "First, I reject your claim I can't use the Bible. That's ridiculous. Second, name me one adult who has started worshipping pink unicorns. Third, creation is evidence for a creator."
      The bible is not reliable – most stories have no evidence. Science has shown that the creation myth in Genesis is nowhere near accurate. Adults have and do worship other gods – how did you determine that your god is any better. If a god can just exist so can a universe.

      November 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Topher

      In Santa we trust

      "You THINK a god exists and that is sufficient for you to think it is true."

      Well, I think (more like KNOW) there is because many things support it. Science and my conscience tell me so. Don't fall for the lie that there is no evidence for God. What you need to do is look at these things and figure out whether it is true or not.

      "The bible is not reliable – most stories have no evidence."

      The Bible is 100 percent reliable. Nothing in it has ever been proven false.

      "Adults have and do worship other gods – how did you determine that your god is any better. If a god can just exist so can a universe."

      Good question! There's lots of things we could talk about here. For instance, as I said earlier, my conscience tells me there's a God. As far as other religions, you probably do owe it to yourself to look into all of them. Only one can be true. For me, it was that I knew I had a sin problem. Christianity is the only one that answers that question. And as far as the universe just existing, several laws, including entropy, shows the universe had a beginning. So the question is, how did it begin. And frankly, I just don't have enough faith to think that an explosion or an accident would create all the order we have in nature.

      November 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher wrote, " Science and my conscience tell me so. Don't fall for the lie that there is no evidence for God. What you need to do is look at these things and figure out whether it is true or not."

      Again, post this "science" that proves your god is real.

      By the way – for the bajillionth time, science only deals with the natural realm. Anything you claim that exists in the supernatural realm is ignored by science.

      Your claim that "science" proves your god, simply shows, yet again, that you are a scientifically ignorant nutter.

      November 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • DUMBAtheiStS

      Atheists' craniums are like appendix, will cause extreme troubles when contain something. Would be better-off if remain empty as they were.

      Want to know why? Just read the horesfeathers from atheists above.

      November 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher wrote, "The Bible is 100 percent reliable. Nothing in it has ever been proven false."

      This, of course, is simply more fucking bullshit Topher.
      The earth was not created in the beginning.
      The earth was not created before any stars.
      Light was not created before any stars.
      Liquid water did not e/ist on the earth's surface before the sun.
      Vegetation did not exist on the earth before the sun.
      Birds were not on the earth before terrestrial animals.
      Woman was not made from the rib of a man.
      Snakes and donkeys don't talk.
      All humans did not descend from one breeding pair.
      There was no global flood.
      A man did not live in the belly of a fish for 3 days.

      Every single one of these show that your bible is false.

      November 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • DUMBAtheiStS

      "horsefeathers"

      November 29, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Topher

      "All humans did not descend from one breeding pair."

      One atheist told me the other day that a new theory gaining popularity is that we all came from rocks. Right. That's so much more believeable than an intelligent being created it all.

      I'm outta here for the day. Have a great one, everybody!

      November 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • DUMBAtheiStS

      While atheists' egos are turning into blobs, their brains are 'collectively' shrinking to the size of a quark.

      November 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "First, I reject your claim I can't use the Bible. "

      Topher, the reason you cannot use the bible to support your claim is because the bible is the claim, not the support for the claim.

      and the fact the bible was written by a bunch of humans over the course of 1500+ years then edited years later by more men clearly shows it was not written by god and cannot be used as such.

      November 29, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Topher wrote, " One atheist told me the other day that a new theory gaining popularity is that we all came from rocks"

      This is why you are an ignorant dumbfuck. I don't know about you, but I get my science information from science sources.

      November 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "While atheists' egos are turning into blobs, their brains are 'collectively' shrinking to the size of a quark."

      Do you really have that dull of a life where you feel the need to copy and paste the same comment numerous times on an anonymous CNN blog? Get a job

      November 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      " And frankly, I just don't have enough faith to think that an explosion or an accident would create all the order we have in nature."

      Yet you have enough faith to think that a man made god created everything we see and cannot see based on zero evidence other than scripture written by people.

      November 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • BurningMan

      Topher said: "The Bible is 100 percent reliable. Nothing in it has ever been proven false."

      Interesting choice of wording, Toph.

      How is a book "reliable"? As a doorstop, perhaps? I'll assume you are describing content, story, prophecy, miracles? What exaclty has been proven "true"?

      I heard someone once say that if there wasn't a question about the reliability, historocity, and human value of the Old and New Testament...among Christians...there wouldn't be so many theological seminaries, bible colleges, departments of Religion and denominations.

      But your syntax is much like Christian apologetics...it creates a dissonance free environment for the believer...however, outside of the four walls of your belief, it isn't really coherent.

      November 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  4. DUMBAtheiStS

    Atheists' craniums are like appendix, will cause extreme troubles when contain something. Would be better-off if remain empty.

    November 29, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • athiests are idiot

      Yeah they are so dumb they have no brains eccept in there stomacs lol!! I hate them so much they will burn forever an I will laugh hard and say I told you so lol! Jesus is lord!

      November 29, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  5. lionlylamb

    The Universally-Formed Cosmos of the Triune Manifestation

    We all live amid two chasms of cosmological orders. We have the inner-cosmos and the outer-cosmos. The inner-cosmos is atomically made and is the universal construct of the outer-cosmos. One could not have an outer without an inner. Both are synonymously of the same natures. It stands to reason the inner-cosmos was made first and the outer-cosmos came into being only after the passive finalization of the inner-cosmos was made near complete. The inner-cosmos is transcendent and fixed while the outer-cosmos is ascendant and malleable in their dualities natures.

    The third cosmos is of life itself made from the inner-cosmos living upon the terrestrial faces of the celestial outer-cosmos. This third cosmos is the celled cosmos or the cellular cosmologic orders of all life forms made anywhere cellular life can gain a foothold to evolve and gain in the abundant natures toward the evolution of its structures ever evolving. Without the two main Cosmos coming into existence; living cellular cosmologies could not exist.

    The trinity or threefold nature of chasm cosmologies is being one of the greatest and grandest gestures ever to have been formulated! To say God had nothing to do with such a feat of cosmologic inter-dependencies seems an infallible congruency inconsistent for one to say or think otherwise. To say the nature of God is to keep inflating the physical elements of the outer cosmos while deflating the essence needs for the inner-cosmos leaves one to wonder about the third cosmological construct’s real nature for having been created. Why then is there cellular cosmos of living cosmologies and when did such life become established?

    The history of multifaceted cosmological expansionism within celestial symmetries comes from the terrestrial complacencies of planetary regularities and solarized objectivism wherever the abundance of inner cosmologies coalesces to form stars, planets and moons among many other fragmented structures within the spatial confines of a universally formed Cosmos.

    Life, upon the celestial shorelines of the terrestrially compliant are as a biologic ‘cellularistic’ cosmological constant, and were ever formed and are continually forming seemingly unto forever as well placed living conglomerations in naturalisms arcades of wondrous cavalcades marching in steps of melancholy tributes to God upon the most high cosmos of universalism’s formidable formations on the highest of unimaginable grounds!

    November 29, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If one examines modernism, one is faced with a choice: either reject deconstructivist rationalism or conclude that cla.ss has significance, but only if art is interchangeable with narrativity; otherwise, Foucault’s model of subtextual conceptualism is one of “the posttextual paradigm of reality”, and therefore unattainable. Many narratives concerning deconstructivist rationalism exist. Therefore, the subject is contextualised into a subtextual conceptualism that includes art as a reality.
      Any number of discourses concerning subtextual conceptualism exist. Thus, the premise of deconstructivist rationalism suggests that society, paradoxically, has intrinsic meaning.
      Lacanist obscurity implies that reality is fundamentally a legal fiction. It could be said that Sartre uses the term ‘submodernist feminism’ to denote the economy, and hence the dialectic, of cultural se.xual ident.ity.
      Thus, the premise of the cultural paradigm of expression holds that art is capable of social comment, but only if the cultural paradigm of narrative is invalid; if that is not the case, truth is used to reinforce the status quo.

      (This post brought to you by the PostModernism Generator – http://www.elsewhere.org/pomo/)

      November 29, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  6. Saraswati

    Psychologically the whole point of prayer is to make on feel not alone and to give a sense of control. Religious arguments aside, if you do pray you might as well give yourself the pleasure of feeling you might be given a lottery win – unless you have a very weird god you're unlikely to get it through prayer and without that god's approval. Toss in a promise to help the less advantaged (and then do it) and don't worry so much.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  7. Rational Libertarian

    Frowned upon, I couldn't say.
    Retarded, certainly.

    November 29, 2012 at 8:24 am |
  8. BurningMan

    I would have to guess that in the eyes of the Christian god, praying for a lottery win is absolutely acceptable. After all, Christians will tell you that their god "lavishes" them with "love.” Of course, in the context of Americanized Christianity, love equates to material goods (Christians are notorious for asking for "things" despite the admonition of Matthew 6).

    And when one considers how ” Father God” was distracted last Sunday from saving 110+ lives in a factory fire in Dhaka by the prayer of several of his kids who were pleading to have their worn out gold fillings re-filled (at a church in Jacksonville, Florida), I can see that a lotto win for one of the elect is a worthy supplication.

    Besides, imagine how the winner's church can now add a new gymnasium, (perhaps with an indoor olympic pool”, a new building for their Christian high school, a new Hummer for the pastor!

    "My God shall supply all your wants according to his riches in glory." Phil. 4:19 (lol)

    Christians…their daily lives remain indistinguishable from the world they pretend to despise.

    November 29, 2012 at 6:40 am |
    • lionlylamb

      John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!"

      November 29, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • BurningMan

      Good morning, L.L.

      And yet, Christians are undistinguishable from the world they despise. And if they truly believed that "My kingdom is not of this world" and that Jesus is coming back soon, they wouldn't have time for lotto, politics, dental issues, etc.

      They would be putting Mormon, Jehovah Witness and 7th Day Adventist door bell-ringers and gas station tract givers to shame.

      They don't even take Matthew 28 seriously, lol.

      BTW, enjoying your interaction with A.B. and Akira...always remember, the poetic art is comprehensible by only a few; and appreciated by fewer still.

      November 29, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • CCC

      "He does whatever he pleases"

      269 The Holy Scriptures repeatedly confess the universal power of God. He is called the "Mighty One of Jacob", the "LORD of hosts", the "strong and mighty" one. If God is almighty "in heaven and on earth", it is because he made them. Nothing is impossible with God, who disposes his works according to his will. He is the Lord of the universe, whose order he established and which remains wholly subject to him and at his disposal. He is master of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with his will: "It is always in your power to show great strength, and who can withstand the strength of your arm?

      "You are merciful to all, for you can do all things"

      270 God is the Father Almighty, whose fatherhood and power shed light on one another: God reveals his fatherly omnipotence by the way he takes care of our needs; by the filial adoption that he gives us ("I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty"): finally by his infinite mercy, for he displays his power at its height by freely forgiving sins.

      271 God's almighty power is in no way arbitrary: "In God, power, essence, will, intellect, wisdom, and justice are all identical. Nothing therefore can be in God's power which could not be in his just will or his wise intellect."

      The mystery of God's apparent powerlessness

      272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe".

      273 Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God's almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ's power. The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that "nothing will be impossible with God", and was able to magnify the Lord: "For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name."

      274 "Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God's almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe — even if they be great and marvelous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature."

      November 29, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:58 am |
    • BurningMan

      ...yes, that is why only Christians win lottos every week in every state...

      November 29, 2012 at 6:42 am |
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      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "John 3:16" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" is the degenerate.

      This troll is not a christian.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.

      November 29, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      November 29, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • HeavenSense

      Hello Prayerbot.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  10. lionlylamb

    o We, as being but buildings do labor together and in equal measures with God and all his generations, His family members and servants and other Godly brethren inside our body-like buildings of cosmological wonders! 1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"
    We were literally there in the very beginning moments of Creation itself. We live throughout timeliness upon the inner cosmos within a scale so minutely small that the immensity of things could be thought of as being but upon the head of a pin! We were and still are mostly made of Nothingness! Nothingness puts vast distances between what we know of as being neutrons, electrons and protons!
    Ask any science major and they would tell you matter of factually that nothing makes up more space within the atomic cosmos then does the atoms themselves! The Seas of Nothingness reach from the innermost to the outermost ranges of cosmological aberrations! Our bodies themselves are cosmologically ordered cellular cosmologies of biogenetic wonders and marvels!
    The history of multifaceted cosmological expansionism within celestial symmetries comes from the terrestrial complacencies of planetary regularities and solarized objectivism wherever the abundance of inner cosmologies coalesces to form stars, planets and moons among many other fragmented structures within the spatial confines of a universally formed Cosmos.
    Lives, upon the celestial shorelines of the terrestrially compliant are biologic cellular cosmological constants, and were ever formed and are continually forming seemingly forever as being well placed living conglomerations in naturalisms arcades of wondrous cavalcades of the many marching in steps of melancholy tributes to God upon the most high Cosmos of universalism’s formidable formation on the highest of unknowable to us grounds.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:45 am |
  11. Chick-a-dee

    Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pom.p.ous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    Love never fails.
    1 CORINTHIANS
    Chapter 13

    November 29, 2012 at 5:36 am |
    • lionlylamb

      1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

      November 29, 2012 at 6:01 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "Lovers of loving
      Love it's love
      It's love
      It's love
      It's love
      It's lovers of loving love"

      – The Aquabats

      November 29, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  12. lionlylamb

    Lives, upon the celestial shorelines of the terrestrially compliant are biologic cellular cosmological constants, and were ever formed and are continually forming seemingly forever as well placed living conglomerations of naturalisms arcades of wondrous cavalcades marching in steps of melancholy tributes to God upon the most high Cosmos of universalism’s formidable formation on high.

    November 29, 2012 at 5:00 am |
  13. lionlylamb

    The history of multifaceted cosmological expansionism of celestial symmetries comes from the terrestrial complacencies of planetary objectivism and solarized regularities wherever the abundance of inner cosmologies coalesces to form stars, planets and moons among many other fragmented structures within the spatial confines of a universally formed Cosmos.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:41 am |
  14. michelecamera

    A randomized, blinded study of the impact of intercessory prayer on spiritual well-being in patients with cancer.
    Olver IN, Dutney A.
    Source

    Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre, South Australia, Australia. ian.olver@cancer.org.au
    Abstract
    CONTEXT:

    Cochrane reviews have analyzed multiple studies on intercessory prayer that treatment teams had added to health interventions; however, the reviewers could draw no conclusions about the efficacy of prayer because the studies showed either positive or no effects and used different endpoints and methodologies.
    OBJECTIVE:

    The study intended to determine whether researchers could measure the impact of intercessory prayer on spiritual well-being.
    DESIGN:

    The research team conducted a randomized blinded trial of intercessory prayer added to normal cancer treatment with participants agreeing to complete quality of life (QOL) and spiritual well-being scales at baseline and 6 months later. The research team had shown previously that spiritual well-being is an important, unique domain in the assessment of QOL. Participants remained blinded to the randomization. Based on a previous study, the research team determined that the study required a sample of 1000 participants to detect small differences (P = .05, 2-tailed, 80% power). SETTING The research team performed this research at the Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre, South Australia, Australia.
    PARTICIPANTS:

    Participants were patients at the cancer center between June 2003 and May 2008. Of 999 participants with mixed diagnoses who completed the baseline questionnaires, 66.6% provided follow-up. The average age was 61 years, and most participants were married/de facto (living with partners), were Australians or New Zealanders living in Australia, and were Christian. Intervention The research team asked an external group offering Christian intercessory prayer to add the study's participants to their usual prayer lists. They received details about the participants, but this information was not sufficient to identify them. Outcome Measures The research team used the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual Well-being questionnaire to assess spiritual wellbeing and QOL. Results The intervention group showed significantly greater improvements over time for the primary endpoint of spiritual well-being as compared to the control group (P = .03, partial η2 = .01). The study found a similar result for emotional well-being (P = .04, partial η2 = .01) and functional well-being (P = .06, partial η2 = .01).
    CONCLUSIONS:

    Participants with cancer whom the research team randomly allocated to the experimental group to receive remote intercessory prayer showed small but significant improvements in spiritual well-being.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:02 am |
  15. michelecamera

    BMJ. 2001 Dec 22-29;323(7327):1450-1.
    Effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer on outcomes in patients with bloodstream infection: randomised controlled trial.
    Leibovici L.
    Source

    Department of Medicine, Beilinson Campus, Rabin Medical Center, Petah-Tiqva 49100, Israel. leibovic@post.tau.ac.il
    Abstract
    OBJECTIVE:

    To determine whether remote, retroactive intercessory prayer, said for a group of patients with a bloodstream infection, has an effect on outcomes.
    DESIGN:

    Double blind, parallel group, randomised controlled trial of a retroactive intervention.
    SETTING:

    University hospital.
    SUBJECTS:

    All 3393 adult patients whose bloodstream infection was detected at the hospital in 1990-6.
    INTERVENTION:

    In July 2000 patients were randomised to a control group and an intervention group. A remote, retroactive intercessory prayer was said for the well being and full recovery of the intervention group.
    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

    Mortality in hospital, length of stay in hospital, and duration of fever.
    RESULTS:

    Mortality was 28.1% (475/1691) in the intervention group and 30.2% (514/1702) in the control group (P for difference=0.4). Length of stay in hospital and duration of fever were significantly shorter in the intervention group than in the control group (P=0.01 and P=0.04, respectively).
    CONCLUSION:

    Remote, retroactive intercessory prayer said for a group is associated with a shorter stay in hospital and shorter duration of fever in patients with a bloodstream infection and should be considered for use in clinical practice.

    November 29, 2012 at 4:00 am |
  16. michelecamera

    Altern Ther Health Med. 1997 Nov;3(6):38-53.
    An experimental study of the effects of distant, intercessory prayer on self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
    O'Laoire S.
    Abstract
    DESIGN:
    Randomized, controlled, double-blind study.
    PATIENTS:
    496 volunteers: those who prayed (agents, n = 90) and those who were prayed for (subjects, n = 406).
    INTERVENTION:
    Agents were randomly assigned to either a directed or nondirected prayer group; photos and names of subjects were used as a focus. Subjects were randomly assigned to three groups: those prayed for by nondirected agents, a control group, and those prayed for by directed agents. Prayer was offered for 15 minutes daily for 12 weeks. Each subject was prayed for by three agents.
    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
    Five pretest and posttest objective measures and six posttest subjective measures were taken.
    RESULTS:
    Subjects improved significantly on all 11 measures. Agents improved significantly on 10 measures. A significant positive correlation was found between the amount of prayer the agents did and their scores on the five objective tests. Agents had significantly better scores than did subjects on all objective measures. Subjects' views of the locus of God's action showed significance in three objective measures. Improvement on four objective measures was significantly related to subjects' belief in the power of prayer for others. Improvement on all II measures was significantly related to subjects' conviction concerning whether they had been assigned to a control or an experimental group. Possible explanations include the placebo/faith effect, the time displaced effect, and extraneous prayer.

    November 29, 2012 at 3:46 am |
  17. michelecamera

    **** "...the prayer group had significantly fewer AIDS illnesses, less frequent doctor visits and days in the hospital." ****

    A Randomized Double-Blind Study of the Effect of
    Distant Healing in a Population With Advanced AIDS
    Report of a Small Scale Study
    FRED SICHER, MA; ELISABETH TARG, MD; DAN MOORE 11, PhD; and HELENE S. SMITH, PhD; San Francisco, California
    The Western journal of medicine. December 1998-Vol 169, No. 6 356–63

    In 1998 Fred Sicher et al. performed a small scale double-blind randomized study of 40 patients with advanced AIDS. The patients were in category C-3 with CD4 cell counts below 200 and each had at least one case of AIDS-defining illness. The patients were randomly assigned to receive distant intercessory healing or none at all. The intercession took place by people in different parts of the United States who never had any contact with the patients. Both patients and physicians were blind to who received or did not receive intercession. Six months later the prayer group had significantly fewer AIDS illnesses, less frequent doctor visits and days in the hospital.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1305403/pdf/westjmed00327-0028.pdf

    November 29, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • End Religion

      Half of you say prayer works, the other half says god's will isn't changed whether one prays or not. So which is it? You're either arguing that prayer works, meaning you've usurped the will of god, or prayer doesn't work and it is useless.

      Anyway, your study is known flawed:
      http://www.skepdic.com/sichertarg.html

      November 29, 2012 at 2:45 am |
    • lionlylamb

      michelecamera, End Religion,

      The laboring factors between the inner constellations of cellular cosmologies within any body of being including humans might meld with religious masses wherein prayed upon consternations are dealt with upon the biogenetical scales of one or more sickly being making them a bit healthier. 1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!" and also, John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!" not to left out, Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

      November 29, 2012 at 3:37 am |
    • michelecamera

      @ End Religion

      Your skeptic's opinion was written by Robert T. Carroll, Ph.D. who is a retired professor of philosophy from the philosophy department at Sacramento City College.

      Peer-review requires expertise in the corresponding medical fields. Please provide such peer-review to support your position.

      November 29, 2012 at 3:39 am |
    • End Religion

      1) I'd be surprised to find any peer-reviewed refutation because scientists are busy with science, not absurdities such as "distance healing"
      2) It doesn't take an auto mechanic to understand square wheels on the average modern automobile is a flaw. 40 study participants is about the minimum a study could have to get away with being called "a scientific study." Their previous study was 20 and a bunch of those not only didn't get better with prayer, they died! Anyone who reads the link I sent will easily see the fraud involved in your "study." They didn't even clearly define its scope, leaving at "sending positive thought" and something to do with "energies." Please...
      3) the study was 16 years ago. If prayer was effective, why hasn't the medical establishment stopped providing medicines and surgery and simply turned entirely to prayer? Are you suggesting some financial conspiracy?
      4) the researchers changed the goal of the study AFTER it had been completed! DUDE! How can you claim this study is relevant with that shenanigans going on?
      5) i'm not even going to bother with any more of this silliness. You're a disappointing waste of space on this planet if you have bought into this crap...

      November 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
  18. Maya

    Cognitive dissonance. Christians claim to believe that God is omniscient and omnipotent, but their practices show this belief is not sincerely held. If God knows everything, controls everything, and God can't be wrong, then praying for ANYTHING is ludicrous because God already knows what is going to happen and therefore it MUST happen regardless of what you pray for. Simply, God does not give a rat's behind about what you want. If some guy who cheats on his taxes and beats his wife and kids wins the lottery, you as a Christian must be okay with that, because God is supposed to be smarter than you. It's YOUR religion.

    November 29, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • lionlylamb

      Maya,

      We, as being but buildings do labor together and in equal measures with God and all his generations, His family members and servants and other Godly brethren inside our body-like buildings of cosmological wonders! 1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

      We were literally there in the very beginning moments of Creation itself. We lived throughout timeliness upon the inner cosmos in a scale so minutely small that the immensity of things could be thought of as being but upon a pins' head! We were and still are mostly made of Nothingness! Nothingness puts vast distances between what we know of as being neutrons, electrons and protons!

      Ask any science major and they would tell you matter of factually that nothing makes up more space within the atomic cosmos then does the atoms themselves! The Seas of Nothingness reach from the innermost to the outermost ranges of cosmological aberrations! Our bodies themselves are cosmologically ordered cellular cosmologies of biogenetic wonders and marvels!

      November 29, 2012 at 2:20 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Hi Mr. Lamb you old fuck, I missed you today!

      November 29, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • lionlylamb

      A.B.Seas,

      Was busy today! Paid property taxes and went to Best Buy. Bought me Microsoft Word! :-)

      November 29, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • Apple Bush

      Good man!

      November 29, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • biobraine

      lamb,
      You didn't address maya at all. You are mixing in scientific theory with your religious mumbo jumbo and saying absolutely nothing at all.

      November 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  19. Lokust

    Since it's entirely make-believe, why wouldn't it be okay? It's not like it's real and has any effect on the world.

    November 29, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  20. Richie P

    The numbers are to be chosen at random. Any interference with that process is cheating. Therefore, asking God to intervene in the lottery is asking him to cheat. How is it ok to ask God to cheat?

    November 29, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Greg

      Isn't every "miracle" not also a cheat, God bending the laws of chance towards helping someone out of a tight situation that they naturally wouldn't be able to avoid? If miracles really do come true then God cheats all the time.

      November 29, 2012 at 11:19 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.