Should I Pray Even If I Don’t Believe?

What to believe in is always a complicated matter. Everyone has their opinions, and some may feel heavily pressured to follow one especially if you were raised or lived in a religious environment.

Since the start of the century, there is an increasing amount of people who have decided to identify as an atheist or agnostic, and that amount has only drastically increased.

A couple reasons are that many can’t feel attached to a religion or they’ve had awful experiences with former religions. If you’ve experienced trauma with religion, then you absolutely shouldn’t have to pray.

However, if you are curious about how it will feel or miss the completeness that prayer can offer, why not devote some time to it?

Here are reasons why you should pray even if you struggle to believe in a deity.

1. Venting can be a powerful activity.

Initially, you may think that praying will only reach a surface level. Yet, when you are involved and you start talking about current situations, the venting automatically flows like a steady stream.

Expressing your innermost stressors, even if it were only to yourself, is therapeutic. This is common knowledge, but it isn’t beneficial to have all those feelings inside festering on your wellness.

If they are kept inside for a long time, those stressors will end up being expressed explosively and in an awkward or devastating way. They need to be let out in a healthy context to order to have and maintain inner peace.

2. You are simply reflecting on what you need to focus on.

In life, it can be extremely difficult to focus on what is the most important given the time considered for work, family, and friends. Even in the sometimes-boring times of COVID-19, there can be some reluctance with reflecting on key concerns.

There can always be excuses for not dealing with what you need to, but those major issues are still present and unresolved. By engaging in prayer, some level of devotion is made towards confronting those issues.

3. Crying may happen, and that’s great.

Crying may get a bad reputation, but it can actually become the main highlight of your day. Like with venting, you may not believe it can happen before prayer starts.

Yet during the emotional talking, tears seep through the eyes, and there’s no control. I know from personal experience that crying can be a much-needed release. What it does mentally is incredible because it helps stress to leave your mind. 

A benefit to crying includes sometimes releasing endorphins and oxytocin. Those two chemicals can help you feel elated and serene. The tension is gone, and you would finally be able to really breathe.

4. You realize that your blessings have made your life to not be as bad as you thought.

Of course, bad events occur, and they can occur often. But it is important to remember that not everything in your life is catastrophically awful. For one thing, you are reading this article right now which means you have access to the Internet.

It should be said that there is a common misconception that ‘counting your blessings’ is a useful tool for issues like depression. Yet in this case within prayer, saying those blessings out loud and why they are so important causes more of an emotional effect.

Being more in-depth about what you are thankful for in prayer is much more effective than simply grocery-listing your blessings. Just saying you’re thankful for being alive, having food, and sleeping inside with no description doesn’t significantly benefit your mood.

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Even if putting your hope in something otherworldly seems unlikely, praying for what others need and yourself can be a regular activity that brings healing.

This is especially relevant to today when the world can seem too unpredictable which has been causing mental distress for so many.

At the very least, prayer can offer some peace in your life. It can be a reminder about doing good for others and being grateful even if you don’t fully believe in the activity.

I left religion at a young age, but the key thing I miss is praying about my issues and thinking about the world. In a world that can be oppressing, dark, and force you to be cynical, it’s refreshing to have some hope in the world and be mindful of the positive things.

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