The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

Prayer is not effective

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,421 times Debate No: 31704
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (2)




God does not answer prayer.

Which people are the richest? As wealth goes up, belief in a god goes down. All people pray for wealth. So prayer does not work.


Many people do believe that God answers their prayers. For those who are not wealthy prayer provides peace of mind that a higher being is listening and has a plan to relieve them of their suffering. Also, making a claim that all people pray for wealth is completely unfounded. Pro has no proof that everyone prays for wealth, and take for example Pope Francis, a man who lives a spartan lifestyle. Obviously Pope Francis is someone who would not pray for wealth if he and all those who know him are to be believed. No one really knows for sure because it is impossible to read his mind, which further proves that there is no way to prove that all people pray for wealth.

If someone was to go to a Christian Church and ask around, many would tell of an experience they have had where they believe God has answered their prayer. Many Christians believe prayer works, that they are truly communicating with their God and that their prayers are answered. No one has yet proven that God does not exist, and while no one has proven God does exist, it has no relevancy to this argument. When a person with strong faith prays, it can give them peace of mind and help them make up their mind about a tough and serious issue they are dealing with. For those reasons alone, prayer is effective, whether God answers the prayers or not.
Debate Round No. 1



The point has been made that God does not provide wealth to those who ask for it.

I will extend this argument baseball and war.


On a small scale, it is plain that it is the power of the players on the baseball field that controls the outcome of the game. If you have 100 Christians praying for one team and 100 Muslims praying for the other side, which side wins.


The logical extension of this is war. If the military is atheist like Marxist Russia, does this mean that the Christian prayers of America won the war? No, it does not. It is a simple matter of logistics. The infrastructure of Russia cannot match that of the United States. The output of the Russian economy, the people, is still quite limited even today. Compare the GDP Per Capita.

Russia, 13,089 per person per year.
United States, 48,112 per person per year.[1]

Since my opponent agrees that wealth is not tied to prayer, the productivity of America is due to the strength of the players on the field. The capitalist economy.

Disjointed Argument from Con

I have presented a very strong case that there is no supernatural element to prayer.

My opponent states that many people believe that God answers prayer. My opponent presents anecdotal evidence for the power of prayer. The he evades, by saying it is not relevant.

My opponent states that the power of prayer has no relevancy to this argument. I would contend that it is the CORE of the argument, as stated in Round 1.

Prayer is distinct from meditation

The American Journal of Cardiology reports in its May 2, 2005, issue that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, a non-drug stress-reduction method, reduces death rates by 23 percent and extends lifespan.[2]

TM is one of the most widely practiced, and among the most widely researched meditation techniques.[3]

There is no value of Christian prayer over TM.



Firstly, it was argued that the existence of God is not relevant to the power of prayer, not that people's beliefs that prayer is answered is irrelevant. Whether or not a God exists to grant a request made in a prayer is irrelevant because it has never been proven whether or not a God exists or not. The effectiveness of prayer rests in the mental peace it gives to a person who prays and the belief that some higher being is listening to that prayer. Human belief and faith can be one of the most powerful forces on earth, capable of inspiring nations to war, politicians and citizens to political action, and to bring people together. The belief that prayer has been heard is what gives prayer its effectiveness.

Secondly, it is important to note that while the Soviet Union was officially atheist, even the Soviet Council of Religious Affairs estimated at least 10-20% of the USSR's population was religious. Also the US is an officially secular nation with a growing atheist population. It should also be noted that a God would never come running everytime a baseball player or even a nation state wants glory and victory. All the major monothesitic religions believe that hans exist to worship, glorify, and serve God/Allah, not the other way around.

Pro brings up the health benefits of Theraputical Meditation (TM). Dr. Harold Koening, the director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health says that a majority of the 2,000 plus studies done on the effects prayer has on health link prayer to better health. One study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that people who pray regularly are 40% less likely to have high blood pressure. A 2010 study published in Social Psychology Quarterly find that prayer significantly helps manage emotions. A study by the University of Cincinnati finds prayer leads to a reduction in sysmptoms for people with asthma. Studies cited in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin of Ohio State University shows that people who pray regularly are less likely to harbor anger towards others and be aggressive towards others. Dr. Herbert Benson, of Harvard Medical School finds prayer to resuce overall stress which is linked to depression, high blood pressure, ulcers, and migraines. Dartmouth Medical School find that people with strong religious beliefs are three times more likely to recover from heart surgery. Finally a study of 4,000 seniors that appeared in the Journal of Gerontology found prayer to be linked to longer lifespans and better coping with illness.

Pro's arguments have all been centered around people using prayer for personal gain. What Pro fails to realize is that while all humans are inherently selfish, most religions emphasize prayer as a link between a human and whatever higher being they worship and that this link has nothing to do with requests for material gains. In most Christian churches prayer during a worship service focuses on helping those who are less fortunate, those living in poverty and with illness, for world peace, etc.

On the issue of requests in prayer not being granted, the claim that prayer isn't effective because personal requests aren't granted is absurd. If a God went around granting every wish made humans would never learn and never grow. When a parent teaches a child to ride their bike, the parent eventually lets go and the training wheels eventually come off the bike. Sure the child will most likely fall a few times and get scrapes and bruises, but how does the child learn and become more independent if the parent sits there holding them the entire time. Getting a no or a non answer in a prayer can be just as effective (if not more) as a yes, the request is granted, because it forces the person to do something on their own and become stronger and more independent.
Debate Round No. 2


"Elijah prayed, and God sent fire from Heaven to consume the offering on the altar he had built in the presence of God"s enemies. Elisha prayed, and the son of the Shunammite woman was raised from the dead. Jesus prayed at the door of the tomb of Lazarus, and the one who had been dead for four days came forth. The thief on the cross prayed, and Jesus assured him that he would be with Him in Paradise. Paul prayed, and churches were born in Asia Minor and in Europe. Peter prayed, and Dorcas was raised to life to have added years of service for Jesus Christ." -Billy Graham[1]

"We are caught up in a stream of history that is beyond our ability to control. There is only one power available to change the course of history, and that is the power of prayer"the prayer of God-fearing, Christ-believing men and women." -Billy Graham[1]

My opponent has taken this argument far into left field by stating that there is no divine intervention to disprove. This outside the teachings of mainstream Christianity.



If my opponent wanted a debate on the teachings of mainstream Christianity on prayer then my opponent should have specified what type of prayer instead of leaving it a generalized "prayer is not effective" which leaves the debate open to non-mainstream Christian views, along with those of other religions entirely. My arguments have been based on prayer being effective based on the proven results as opposed to changing the debate from prayer to the existence of God and miracles. The debate topic was prayer's effectiveness. My arguments were that prayer is effective because of its health benefits and the peace of mind it gives believers. My opponent argued that prayer is not effective because God does not grant the requests made in prayer. It was not argued that there was no divine intervention to disprove but simply that divine intervention is irrelevant to this debate because it can be neither proved nor disproved and that prayer can be effective without the proven existence of a divine being because it provides other benefits.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by kingsjester 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Con gets conduct as Pro kind of switched the resolution in the last round and Con made more convincing arguments by not limiting his arguments to individuals with selfish wishes as pro did. Con included all outside benefits to prayer.
Vote Placed by Smithereens 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Cons case was mainly based around non-conventional christian prayer which he had evidence to support not successfully contested by pro because he never did specify what type of prayer was in question.