How Prayer Helps – An Excerpt


Even if you are not a religious person by nature or training, even if you are an out-and-out-sceptic, prayer can help you much more than you believe, for it is a practical thing.

What do I mean, practical? I mean that prayer fulfils these three very basic psychological needs which all people share, whether they believe in God or not:

1. Prayer helps us to put into words exactly what is troubling us. We saw in Chapter 4 that it is almost impossible to deal with a problem while it remains vague and nebulous. Praying, in a way, is very much like writing our problem down on paper. If we ask help for a problem -even from God – we must put it into words.

2. Prayer gives us a sense of sharing our burdens, of not being alone. Few of us are so strong that we can bear our heaviest burdens, our most agonising troubles, all by ourselves. Sometimes our worries are of so intimate a nature that we cannot discuss them even with our closest relatives or friends. Then prayer is the answer. Any psychiatrist will tell us that when we are pent-up and tense, and in an agony of spirit, it is therapeutically good to tell someone our troubles. When we can’t tell anyone else, we can always tell God.

3. Prayer puts into force an active principle of doing. It’s a first step toward action. I doubt if anyone can pray for some fulfilment, day after day, without benefiting from it. In other words, without taking some steps to bring it to pass. A world-famous scientist said: “Prayer is the most powerful form of energy one can generate.” So why not make use of it?

-How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie


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