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Does prayer serve a purpose?

This graphic from the Richard Dawkins Foundation has recently been circulating on social media:

DawkinsonPrayer

It’s possible that this graphic is intended as a joke, or just trying to get a bite. The argument is very superficial so may not be meant to be taken too seriously. Yet it does present an opportunity to think about the purpose of prayer. There are various reasons why the graphic’s logic is not compelling, here is one very brief response:

A child asks their parents for something.

->Is that something your parents wanted to give you anyway?

Yes? -> Talking with your parents is redundant.

No? -> Talking with your parents is futile.

Conclusion: Talking with your parents serves no purpose.

This is of course, a simple response to an overly simplistic flowchart, but it does demonstrate some of the graphic’s flaws.

In a healthy parent-child relationship communicating is not just about a transaction. The purpose of prayer is not just to get what we ask for. Prayer is enjoying the privilege of speaking with our Heavenly Father, through His Son with the enabling of His Spirit. It is one way to grow in our relationship with God.