The Prayer Calculator February 13, 2010

The Prayer Calculator

Got a few spare minutes? Here’s an interesting idea:

Calculate how many hours your spent praying when you were religious.

Let us know what you get.

Do you consider it all wasted time now? Or was there at least an emotional benefit to it that you wouldn’t consider a bad thing?

If someone can make a quick website/application that lets users punch in the number of years they were religious and how many hours per day (or week) they prayed, and does the math for us, that’d be spiffy.

(via @Parrowing)


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  • cj

    I don’t think i could possibly be able to figure that out. Though, I think that it’s probably a lot less than it feels like it was.

    I hated praying as a Christian. And the only reason I can attribute to that now, is that even then, as a fully committed Christian, somewhere in the back of my mind, it didn’t make any sense.

    So, yeah, I think even though the amount of time wasn’t terribly significant, I feel that it was a total waste of time. Not something I would ever dwell on and regret, but really glad that I’ve moved on from that.

  • I could make a C++ or Perl program but I can’t make it an executable so you would need a compiler. I don’t know how to make a calculator in HTML yet.

  • I spent more time twirling my hair and checking for split ends so I’m good. I do need a hair cut, though.

  • As a child I prayed about 3 minutes each morning in school during what was called “assembly”. UK schools still have to have a mandatory act of daily worship (Christian unless specially negotiated).

    Then another 2 minutes at bedtime as I’d been taught by my “Cafeteria Christian” mother.

    I worked out that it was all bullshit when I was 13. The praying caused anxiety more than anything else, so it was more than just a waste of time – it was unhealthy. I was a lot happier when I gave it up.

  • muggle

    Gee, no way I could even begin to figure that out and no reason to unless I want to depress myself.

    I’m afraid I wasn’t as Christian light as those above. I prayed formally and informally and talked to “God” all the time. I prayed in school to pass tests. I did good in my good subjects and still did bad in my bad subjects and they were amazingly influenced by how much I had or had not studied. Every little thing I had to get through in life, I sent a quick prayer up to “God” to help me get through it. I was a real invisible friend junkie.

    I’m afraid it was a large chunk of time but I don’t consider it a waste. I had to go through the futility of it to learn it was futile. Like everything else you go through in life, you live and grow from it and, as long as you do that, it’s not a waste.

  • Jim H

    Well, since I grew up with Catholic parents, it’s a minimum of 58 hours per year (Sunday plus so-called “holy day” mass) from about ages 5-18, plus about 30 seconds a day just before dinner from birth to 18.

    That all adds up to about 34 days (that I can never get back). Though, to be fair, I did a lot of daydreaming in church, that might be worth something. 😉

  • Maybe a couple hours a week — if that — for two or three years.

    312 hours…that’s 13 days, I think.

  • You know, I spent almost no time praying to myself when I was still a Christian. I only did it when I was really nervous. However, I always got compliments when I was called on to pray in a group setting.

  • liz

    i prayed at dinner…that’s all. And by pray i mean, sitting there while my mom prayed for us. I think she had us pray at bedtime when we were little too.

    Actually the only time i actually prayed was at mass on sunday, just thinking about all the shit in the world that i wished would get better =P

  • Kris

    Hm. I seem to come up with a nice round zero. Unless you count sitting through weddings, funerals, and my grandparents’ pre-dinner prayers at holidays. I don’t think that counts, though.

  • Robert J. Grieve

    Hhmmm, a rough calculation would be a liberal average of three (3) hours per month from age three (3) until I was thirteen (13). This would include the parental unit mandated nightly prayers, BSA BS (especially at camp), church camp marathons and rituals, quick and desperate pleas when the shit hit the fan, and periods of no prayers balanced against segments of my life saturated with one-way communications with Yahweh.

    That would make a total of 360 hours or 30 days of Xtian nonsense. One month I will never see again. All-in-all, a complete waste of my very young life. I’ve spent far more productive time in bonehead 101 college courses. At least in those I actually learned something as well as received feedback on my responses. Push comes to shove, I would rather have had 30 days worth of the flu. At least when I am sick, I can read and write to pass the time, not to mention that diarrhea and vomiting are more productive then praying.

  • Say, on average, 1.5 minutes a day, from age 3 to age 12… That would come out to about 3.5 days. OUCH.

  • stephanie

    Eh, back in school I prayed before exams and on mornings after a hard night out, but was never really that religious. I probably blew a lot more time watching reruns of cartoons, so I don’t feel like I wasted my time any more than I did doing anything else…

  • jew

    3 times a day from (well really younger but lets start at 13) until 18
    so

    S-F Morning: 1 hour
    S-F mid day: 15 min
    S-F night: 20 min
    Per Day total: 1:35 (1.583)

    Sat Night: 1 hour
    Sat Morning: 2.5 hours
    Sat Midday: 25 min
    Per day total: 3:55 hours (3.916)

    365 days * 5 years = 1,825 days
    Of which 260 were sat and 1565 were not.

    That makes 2,477.395 + 1,018.16 hours.

    A total of 3,495.555 or about 3,495:33 of wasted time.

  • Angie

    I haven’t calculated the approximate time spent praying when I was young, but it would easily number in hundreds of hours. Prayers in Catholic school, at mass, in the morning, at night before I went to bed, a MINDNUMBINGLY BORING rosary every night in my early teens — all of it wasted time that I’ll never get back.

    The thing is, I never received any comfort or spiritual insight from reciting rote Catholic prayers. The entire exercise was one of many activities intended to pacify a tyrranical god so that he wouldn’t send me to hell after death. After I deconverted at 14, I found far more constructive things to do with my time.

  • Am I the only person here who’s never prayed even once in my life?

    If so, I want some kind of prize, LOL.

  • Hemant, your wish is my command 😀

    Prayer Calculator

    Source is here.

    I’ll probably make it more interesting if people want me to. I’m getting better at PHP as time goes by.

  • medussa

    I did a nightly “Star Light, Star Bright” most nights. Does that count?

    And I actually don’t consider that a waste of time, as at some point I realized it helped me verbalize to myself what’s really important to me (the difference between wishing for a bicycle vs wishing to have a good day without screaming and yelling in the house, for example).

  • Eliza

    I’m with you, Anna – I’ve never prayed.

    Which doesn’t mean I’ve never screamed “Oh, God!” 😉

  • Carlie

    I’m with muggle – I would be way too depressed to see that total number. Although I will admit that an awful lot of the nighttime prayers trailed off into sleep mode, so maybe it was a good relaxation technique. Some of it was good for me, as a way to cope with stress and anxiety. But thinking of the times when I was so earnestly praying to figure out what God wanted of me, and then so desperately praying to accept what I thought his will was even though it wasn’t what I wanted, those are the parts of my life I want back because they often caused me to go against my better judgment and to convince myself that I couldn’t make my own decisions.

  • thing

    @Brielle
    use method=”get” and $_GET
    1) $_REQUEST could lead to security problems (with more important scripts – but it is good to get started with good practices)
    2) post is typically used when the action you take will change something on the server – otherwise use GET

  • Miko

    For a general purpose calculator, there’s http://www.wolframalpha.com

    For our purposes, enter an inquiry in the form “8 hours per week for 11 years” or what have you.

  • Fraser

    Hmmm … well, there’s a lot of experimental error of course … and I’m not counting the times I closed my eyes before dinner at a religious friend’s place (my thoughts were along the lines of “this is sooooo uncomfortable”) … so ballpark figure is, um, zero! I think Australia is a slightly less religious country than the US (apart from the fact that both the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition are energetic god-botherers).

    I was sent to Sunday School when I was young, but I had no idea that I was supposed to take all that stuff seriously.