Prayer is a late-term symptom of Religion. it is one of the most accurate, non-medical means of determining whether or not a suspected person has been infected with Religion.
To the mind of the person thusly affected, it is a method of forming unilateral, religious-themed contracts with a deity. These bargains typically take the form of, "if you do X, I will start doing Y again," "if you stop all of those X's from tearing my family apart on this camping trip, I will stop inappropriately touching Y," or, "please help me stop doing Y to all of these beautiful, angel-faced X's before the cops catch me." The most common form of Prayer in the United States is the "Hail Mary." This is usually employed in the last five minutes of a football game and seems to involve the worship of some sort of phallic symbol made out of a dead cow or pig.
Despite what the majority of people believe, these bargains are completely unenforceable. This is directly in keeping with one of the major principles of Contract Law: Without mutuality of obligation, even reliance upon the proposed terms of the contract by the promisee does not make the contract enforceable. Because God/Allah/Etc. doesn't really need anything from you, you have no valid consideration to offer to said deity. Failure on the part of either party to offer valid consideration for the contract means the contract is void. Therefore, there is no such thing as a binding Contract formed through Prayer. In other words, quit wasting those precious moments of your day in the futile act of prayer, and go back to watching reruns of the Family Guy.
Prayer is often resorted to when all else fails. E.g.:
"Sir, the missile has missed! I repeat, the missile has missed the comet, and Superman is still nowhere to be found. What do we do now?"
"Now? We pray."
If someone tells you that you haven't got a prayer, start running your fucking ass off. It probably wouldn't hurt to shout Superman's name, either. If they're telling you that because you kept back some of the coke you were supposed to give to those fags in Brooklyn, you'd better piss your pants, drop down on your knees, and offer to return what's left of the drugs and give some head right fucking there. I mean, drug dealers aren't saints, but they might just cut something off you and let you live.
If you're in a hospital and someone says that you don't have a prayer, it wouldn't hurt to get a second opinion, but honestly, that's probably your ass. Still, you might consider bringing a lawsuit against any doctor who said that, because really, that's some cold-blooded shit.
Prayer is a way to tell God all of the things you have done wrong. Some people, naturally, take up to 2 to 3 days explaining all of the things they have done wrong. God then gets mad and ignores you. That is why prayers do not always come true!
It has been observed that nothing works just like prayer.
edit A Prayer for the Stressed
- Grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I cannot accept and the wisdom to hide the bodies of those I had to kill today, because they got on my nerves.
- And also, help me to be careful of the toes I step on today, as they may be connected to the feet that I have to kiss tomorrow. Help me to always give 100% at work…
- 12% on Monday, 23% on Tuesday,
- 43% on Wednesday, 17% on Thursday
- and 5% on Friday.
- Also help me to remember…
- When I am having a bad day and it seems that people are trying to wind me up, it takes 42 muscles to frown, 28 to smile and only four to extend my arm and smack someone in the face.
Prayer was a concept first proposed by the prophet (and late-scam-artist) John who created it to win the first "most pointless activity" competition which took place in 29BC. It remains to this day the 3rd most pointless activity known to humankind - coming a close 3rd to watching paint dry and doing SuDoku respectively.
Some more radical members of the various religious sects believe that some forms of prayer such as murmuring words in your head (or occasionally really pissing off other people by saying them out loud) or bowing like a demented parrot can actively improve the quality of your/others lives in the long term. Such theories are under investigation.
Prayer is currently the 2nd seed for this coming years "most pointless activity" awards - and hopes are that it will beat staring competitions with stuffed owls.
edit Common misconceptions of prayer
Most people automatically assume that God/The Universe is actually listening continuously ask for what has been stated many times in the Bible to have been already given MANY times though out history. If pulled up on this (most would agree) minor issue, most Christians resort to randomly quoting (usually twisting the meanings to suit their own diobolical means) Bible verses that usually bear no relevance to anything what so ever, such as "Let he who is without sin cast the first flash bang".
edit Health Benefits
Although recently some types of prayer have been linked with cancer, and strangely cirrhosis of the liver, generally speaking prayer has an amazing amount of health benefits. Including: Increased reflexes, low cholesterol, +3 charisma, a closer shave, automatic unlock to slight of hand, increased spatial awareness, dual wield lightsabers and above all else, an absolute sense of apathy towards anyone with an opinion other than that of the Catholic church.
edit The Irony
The irony lies between the prerequisite of asking for a favour being faith in the recipient of the favour, even though asking to change an aspect of "God's great plan", seems to be expressing a dissatisfaction with the way "God's great plan" has progressed thus far. This means faithfully asking for divine intervention requires faith and lack of faith at the same damn time.
But God invented irony which makes it even more ironic.