Is there a substitute for prayer during hard times?

Was born and raised as a 'Hindu' in India.

all the rituals, prayers, made no sense to me, though i just practiced without any questioning. finally quit.

went to england to do masters. had a real difficult time, with my relationships with people and finances. tried jesus. didn't gain anything. been to churches and all that. realized miracles won't happen just because you pray to someone. in fact, realized, there aren't any miracles.

back to india again, for good. living with a bi-polar disorder father. this has come as a 'shock'. I got him checked with a psychiatrist. this is one of the hardest phases in my life. am sure i will see through this. i don't want to fall back upon any god's this time. been there, done that. not again. some where, deep inside, a voice is asking me to 'pray'. do they call this 'cognitive dissonance'? i guess. my atheist friends out there, any suggestions? much appreciated, Sandeep

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Thanks a lot sarah. that was very encouraging. 

"Let go of the uncontrollable things. Focus on the Things that You Can Control in Life."

Indeed.

Sucking it up is pretty much the only choice. Like it or not. May sound a little abrupt and harsh, and it is. But I've never really been one for needing mollycoddled. Having both parents, and one child dead already, I've taken a few hits on the brain. "Stiff upper lip son".

Have you tried getting into a meditation practice?  I meditate almost daily (i miss a day here and there) and find it refreshing.  I started with a lying down meditation (on a yoga mat on the floor) to keep back straight but i find it more comfortable.  Then when i do a sitting meditation it's easier on me because of all the practice i've done lying down.

Prayer - How to do nothing and still think you are helping.

Yeah, it's called "doing something." For example, when I run into someone dealing with depression I have good advice. I went through a 2-year clinical depression about 20 years ago. I tried medication, but it didn't work. What did work, I finally realized, was putting up a fight. For example, if you're depressed about unemployment, get out there and slug away trying to find a job. If you seem to fail time after time, at least you knew it wasn't because you didn't try. If you just give up, the conclusion that you earned your failure will be hard to avoid.

Don't pray. Get out and do something instead.

Theists will point toward the miracle of prayer as they call it, saying it turned this or that person's condition around, and maybe it did, but not because prayer works but because putting up any kind of effort is better than putting up none. Doctors note that people with potentially terminal conditions beat the odds more frequently if they are fighters.

(And I wrote this post before seeing Reg's graphic.)

The fact that there is no judging psychopath up in the clouds is enough to give me comfort. We find comfort from each other, from the love of our family and friends and knowing that the bad times will eventually pass. A sort of stoic calm in the face of tragedy does it for me. Therefore non-belief in deities can be liberating and comforting in its own way. 

Pray is reflection / I don't believe it has to be attached to anything. So at times I feel pushed to an edge or stretched beyond capacity and my immediate reaction is to revert to what I was taught year ago as a catholic - I realize that I don't need to pray for the answer or guidance to be given to me or for some divine intervention, instead I pray to myself. I take that quiet moment to remind myself that I can handle what is in front of me- to stay present. That I have the strength of those around me and most importantly I have my own strengths- and the beauty in that truth is its not dependent on anyone else to give anything to me. Being atheist means I do not rely on anything but this moment - I don't feel I'm paying for my past or my future- things are what they are and therefore the weight that comes with so many religious attachments I don't have to carry.
I'm not looking for reasons, excuses or answers. I do want I can, I am responsible for my part.
So my answer to prayer is go ahead and be grateful for yourself pray to yourself in acknowledgment of the amazing being you are and those you are surrounded by- there is nothing preventing you from appreciating what you have or acknowledging what you don't as long as your not expecting someone else to ride in and save you, martyr yourself or place blame.
Reflection is good for us all.

 Having urges to pray? This is similar to the smoker who has long since quit but craves one in moments of stress etc.

 So this is the thing about prayer: It releases chemicals in your brain and you get a bit of a fix. This like the smoker having a cigarette after years is basically putting a glove over their emotions. So bad times are the perfect scenario for that. So there is an element of stress, then prayer then the chemical reward. That being said, does it surprise you that one would have an urge to pray during tough times? Not a lot different from the former smoker.

Try jogging, hugging, cuddling, sex, masturbation, have a wrestling match with a brother or at the local gym. Just not all at once.  Try to give your body what it wants (chemicals) and replace the habit of prayer -the association of prayer with something secular.

 Take care.

Am I the only one creeped out by the fact you suggested sex, masturbation and cuddling along with wrestling with a brother in the same sentence? ;-)

I hope not.

Yes but it's OK as long as you don't smoke afterwards...

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