Do Atheists Pray?

Whether you’re a practicing atheist or you’re just doing your research, you may have wondered whether or not atheists pray. Historically, prayer is often a message or a wish that is sent out to a God or gods. Some people pray for forgiveness, some pray for blessings, and some may pray for others. What about atheists, though? Do atheists pray? And if so, how do they pray? 

Yes, many atheists do pray. While they usually aren’t praying to a deity, they often pray to their higher self, pray to the universe, or just go through the motions as a way to reinforce positive, mindful thinking. Prayer isn’t just for the religious. It has a deep cultural and psychological value that everybody can appreciate, regardless of their personal beliefs. 

Today, I’m going to discuss the concept of prayer and how it relates to atheism. Maybe you’re researching how your atheist friend or family member prays. Perhaps, you’re a practicing atheist, and you find yourself missing certain aspects of prayer. Either way, I think you’ll find the perspectives in this post valuable and eye-opening! 

How Do Atheists Pray? 

If you grew up around religious people, then prayer is most likely something that you’re used to. Maybe your family prayed over the dinner table or before meals. Perhaps you had to attend Mass or Church every week and give your confessions and prayers before the church. Either way, most people tend to directly associate prayer with religion. 

However, I’m here to tell you that this isn’t always the case. For example, suppose you’re sitting in a long line of traffic, and you wish that somebody would let you switch lanes. In that case, I’m willing to bet that your mentality and brain activity is quite similar to somebody who is “praying” that one of the other cars let them in. The only difference is that one person is “wishing” while the other person is “praying.” 

Prayer Isn’t Just For The Religious

Although that’s just one example, prayer doesn’t necessarily have to be religious. In fact, you probably do it subconsciously all of the time. When you self-reflect, meditate, wish, manifest, or talk to yourself, you’re not really doing anything different from somebody who is praying. If you were to ask most religious people what they pray about, you’d find that almost everybody has different answers that relate to their experience in life. 

Some pray about the weather; others pray about a job or promotion. Perhaps they’re attempting to deal with feelings of guilt, say unsaid things aloud, or wish for something they desperately need. While Christians may pray to Jesus or Muslims may pray to Allah, many agnostics and spirituals simply pray to the universe. 

Defining Prayer

Before we go any further, let’s define prayer:

  • Prayer: Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication.”

Notice how it’s phrased “object of worship.” It doesn’t say God, gods, spirits, or define any particular deity. This deliberately implies that prayer is not just a deistic concept. Now let’s define another important term:

  • Worship: Extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem.”

While these terms have traditionally been used in reference to deities or religious ceremonies, the modern definitions are expanding. Just look at how many people on Wall Street “worship the dollar.” 

Suppose that you have a high level of self-esteem. By talking to yourself, acknowledging your self-love, and asking your inner-self for advice, you’re technically “worshipping” yourself and “praying” to yourself at the same time. So, the next time that your deistic friend tries to tell you that you have no right to prayer make sure that you point out the technical meanings to them and put them in their place. 

Common Atheist Prayer Beliefs

Now that we’ve gotten some technicalities out of the way, I want to discuss some of the most common methods that atheists and agnostics use to pray. As I mentioned, prayer doesn’t necessarily have to be directed towards a particular deity. It’s completely personal, and you can pray to yourself, pray to the universe, or you may just choose to try and “manifest” your emotions or desires into real-life. 

Praying To The Self

One of the more common forms of prayer that atheists use is to pray to their Self. Often described as one’s “higher self,” this concept involves realizing and accepting that there is a quantum reality where a “perfect” version of yourself exists

In this alternate universe or reality, you would be absolutely happy, utterly fulfilled, incredibly fit, and you would always make the right choice or the best choice for you. There would be no anger, hate, procrastination, or any of the other negative states of being that seem to plague our current reality on planet Earth. 

The idea is that if you think about it hard enough, you can “tap into” your higher self and try to incorporate the more perfect aspects of this quantum reality into your own everyday life. This methodology is sometimes referred to as reality transurfing, an idealogy made famous by Russian author Vadim Zeland in his book, which shares the same title. 

Praying To The Universe

For those who aren’t as in-tune with their inner self or higher self, many atheists simply choose to pray to the universe. It’s the one thing that nobody truly knows everything about. Personally, I don’t think that we’ll ever know all of the secrets of the universe (and certainly not the multi-verse). 

Praying to the universe can be a great way to blow off some steam or release some thoughts into the void. The universe doesn’t judge, it can’t punish you, and it doesn’t imply any direct form of an all-controlling, powerful deity. It’s just pure, raw matter and potential energy. 

By praying to this potential energy, you’re essentially willing a new potential for your own life. Whether the universe makes it happen or you simply do it through your own focused attention is entirely up to your own interpretation of reality.