The Pathology of Prayer


It is in its pure form pathological. Consider:

Pathology #2 adapted, barely altered by your writer

“any deviation from a healthy or normal condition . . . ”

The word Healthy we may discuss sometime, but its root is Old English hælþ “wholeness, a being whole, sound or well,” from Proto-Germanic *hailitho, from PIE *kailo- “whole, uninjured, of good omen” (source also of Old English hal “hale, whole;” Old Norse heill“healthy;” Old English halig, Old Norse helge “holy, sacred;” Old English hælan “to heal”). With Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Of physical health in Middle English, but also “prosperity, happiness, welfare; preservation, safety.” An abstract noun to whole, not to heal. Meaning “a salutation” (in a toast, etc.) wishing one welfare or prosperity is from 1590s. Health food is from 1848 (

Ugh, I have a premise that prayer is pathological, and it certainly looks like there is no way to make prayer into something unhealthy. But when did that slow me down?

Hmmm, it is not normal, as in common. You are rare so rare the one who gets it, does it, believes it, then lives it., It is abnormal (easily) and unhealthy, and so weird: utter delight.

Let us proceed to prove it:

    Prayer is dialogue with another. It may also, delightfully, be a tri-logue or angular prayer (I gave up on the tidy geometry of multi-level prayers, and will simply call them angular. And here, thank God for Steely Dan and their “angular banjoes sound good to me”. 
    For our premise let us simply say that prayer is not to/with one’s self, but necessarily involves an Other. Well, if prayer must involve an Other, then it requires more than self, which means that the self is lacking and therefore not whole and therefore not entirely healthy and therefore in a pathological state.
    Prayer is pathology.

Well, we could go on with that. and I’d love it, to go on with it. Just take any idea and sit with tea, coffee, anything stronger (or nothing), and discuss it, but it’s late.

Two things, now that we know of prayer as pathology:

  1. I have the disease. It’s chronic, incurable, will kill and resurrect in a single breath, and the prognosis is perfection (LOVE no fear) and, since it kills and resurrects, it is eternal. Yea. Really, I am cheering for you, cuz you have it too. The disease is forever!
  2. The disease has symptoms that are good. GOOD! (and everything that the word “good” conjures, connotes, connects, kisses, caresses, and any “K” sound toward alliteration). All of it: good.

I should stop while it makes some sense. If I kept going, well, it’d have to be with at least some tea . . .

Shabbat . . . Shalom . . . Always