PROBLEM: People praying for the sick and the dying to get better can happen because they don't care enough and want to feel as if they are doing something.  Prayer can help you feel good or better about doing nothing.  It can involve feeling good about asking God to help though he will do nothing.  Then it is feeling good about God doing nothing.  It is like how you know the little children next door need urgent help so you ring the social worker you know who is useless just so that you can feel good at getting rid of the feeling of responsibility for the children's plight.  You just ask the useless God to do something and that takes away your feeling of responsibility.  Now you can be smug and feel you are so good.
It is not prayer that matters but what you are at heart. If you have good will in your heart it matters. Good will will get you to help and if it is not there prayer will do nothing to get you.  Prayer does not. Only religious superstition disagrees.
In the light of the teaching that prayer is a relationship with God and God is to be loved totally, Catholics say that ultimately prayer is what matters most. Prayer should be about a person trying to change himself or herself. If prayer is about change then it follows that it is not the words and the images of holy things in your mind that matter but the heart. You would pray with your heart by doing actions of heartfelt love for the sick and the poor. Praying for the sick then is disgusting unless you are able to do something for the sick and trying to. Praying for the sick would imply you don't really care about them much or enough. Praying for the sick in a chapel or convent instead of going to the hospital then shows you want to tell yourself you care more when you don't. It is using prayer to delude yourself that you are wonderful. And thus you feed your smug ego.
It is natural to feel responsible when others suffer around you even if you have done nothing directly to hurt them or to directly cause that state of affairs. If they need help they need it from you and if you had never done anything to hurt them that does not mean you have no responsibility for them now of some kind.  We never do enough to make the world a better place. You will get relief from the feeling of responsibility and feel at peace if you pray. Why? Because when you pray you make God responsible and you remind yourself that if he makes all things then he is ultimately responsible. You ask him to do something about the suffering. That is a rationalisation that you engage yourself in to protect yourself from the truth.  If God does nothing you think you have taken care of your end.  You asked him to do something and you see that as taking responsibility.
Thus prayer is really an insult to those who suffer because of you or who you think suffer because of you.


God knows what is best but too many see best as good. Best might be only a little better than the alternatives. Prayer’s attraction is based on the illusion that best is a great thing. Nobody has the right to ask for the best for somebody else for their version of the best will be coloured. Only I can ask God or anybody for the best for me. I have the chance to know. But even then I may be wrong. Praying for another person is just do-gooder hypocrisy.
Despite the fancy religious teachings about prayer, in reality prayer is just an irrational, "I wished and therefore I got", kind of outlook. If such irrationality is good then why bother helping anybody? Why not just pray for them? Prayer encourages such irrationality. If it does some good, we must remember that the good is often the enemy of the best.
The outlook is not for the best so the results cannot be as good as you imagine!
Pity is patronising and a sign of looking down upon the other person. That is why people pity but do not do anything productive to help those who they pity. Like mercy, it implies you are superior in rank, wisdom and morals, to those who you have mercy on. Does faith in God encourage pity? Yes. You have pity on those who cannot be helped. And you express that pity in prayer and get a nice superior and sanctimonious glow.

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