The thing is, I don't believe prayer is magic. I believe in a BIG God who loves me so much that he is with me every step of my journey. Prayer is a word for talking to this all-consuming power of holiness. I talk to my friends and share my life, but I share my heart and soul with my God. I know he listens and comforts me. I don't pray to just get good things (like Santa) but I pray to reflect and get my heart right and on track. To get back in sync with God, the universe, and changing my attitude.
People are naturally selfish, naturally inconsiderate, naturally jealous, naturally greedy...etc. A faith-based life centers you back to be serving of others, not of yourself. I see this every day with the kids I work with at school. I love them dearly, but many of them struggle and suffer little pains because they don't have a center that centers on giving to others. They deserve respect without doing anything for it, its kind of okay to flirt with someone's girlfriend/boyfriend if they liked them first, and if someone says something about them they will go back full force. They want to be the center of attention and often could care less about others.
We even find as adults, many people give to get something in return. I love the picture of Christ because he gave, knowing that he would be rejected. He gave knowing that he would be mocked. He gave knowing he and anyone who took up these principles would suffer as well. To me, that is integrity. I don't know many people that would show kindness AND love to people that others reject. I don't know many people that would literally give their own life so that others would have a chance to share eternal joy. I don't know many people that would choose serving others over fame, riches, and glory. That's the God I love. Is religion perfect? no, it's man-made....BUT I do believe that community of people that share similar values is really important. I love hanging out with other Christians because I know that they value kindness when the world says you have to be a shark to survive, value humbleness when the world says fame is the only way to make a difference, value a person's innermost being when the world says sex and beauty are what makes you feel alive.....it helps me not feel so alone to be with others who will bring me back to Center.
Again, it comes to this...a man came 2,000 years ago claiming HE was the Son of God and actually God himself. We have to come to terms with that and say either "this man was a raging lunatic" or "He is God" There is no in-between. Also, he was seen for 40 days after he had been dead 3 days. He healed people, cast out demons, and brought his friend Lazarus back to life after he had been dead for several days. I don't just believe in being a good person, for the sake of being good. There is amazing thrill of knowing that there is hope for this life, no matter how terrible things can get, there is the promise of something wonderful in the next life.
I'm not always good on saying things on the spot, but that's my real response.....