The Story of Everything: A Synopsis of The Urantia Book
Paper 91: The Evolution of Prayer
Early men often prayed for food, shelter, or rain. Praying for material blessings is a perversion of prayer, but it encouraged primitive people to seek these necessities by ethical means.
True prayer appears only in conjunction with the understanding that God is a personal being. Prayer contributes to the conservation of social, moral, and spiritual values. Prayer is a psychological procedure combined with a spiritual technique that promotes development of religious sentiment. It induces humans to look in two directions for help: to the subconscious mind for material aid, and to the superconscious mind for inspiration and guidance. Prayer must be a stimulus for action rather than a substitute for action. It often effects lasting change in the person who prays.
Prayer contributes to health, personal happiness, self-control, social harmony, and spiritual attainment. God does not solve man's difficulties, but he will provide wisdom and strength while man resolutely attacks his problems himself. Contact with the indwelling Adjuster is favored by meditation, but it is more frequently prompted through loving service to others.
Religious experience benefits the individual by bringing better physical health, more efficient mental function, socialization of religious experience, increased God-consciousness, and enhanced appreciation of truth, beauty and goodness. Genuine prayer is spontaneous God-consciousness. Words are irrelevant to prayer because God answers man's attitudes, not his words.
To attain effective prayer, one must consider the laws of prevailing petitions. Effective prayer requires the petitioner to: sincerely and courageously face problems that come up; exhaust the capacity to solve the problem by human means; surrender every wish of mind and every craving of soul to the transforming embrace of spiritual growth; make a wholehearted choice to follow the divine will; recognize the Father's will and translate it into action; pray for divine wisdom; and have living faith.