Eleonore Stump, Petitionary Prayer Essay examples

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Eleonore Stump writes an article concerning her standing on petitionary prayer. Stump starts her argument by defining petitionary prayer as simply asking God for something through the act of prayer. Stump points out since this is the definition of petitionary prayer, prayers of praise and worship cannot be considered petitionary since they are not making requests but instead displaying a sense of loyalty. Stump responds to an argument by Kant stating petitionary prayer was pointless on the account of God will do what is right regardless of you asking. Kant also states petitionary prayer is, at its worse, an insult to God because it implies the human knows better than God what is right or because the human is asking God to perform …show more content…
In a nutshell, Aquinas argues that God knew we were going to pray before we ever did, so our prayer is just part of his ultimate plan. Stump disagrees with this because it is not a strong enough argument to support petitionary prayer not being pointless.
Aquinas’s argument unintentionally suggests since God was going to do said action anyway then there is no point in even asking. Aquinas’s argument also has a flaw in that it seems to take away our free will. If our prayers are of Gods ultimate plan, then do we truly have free will?
Stump’s solution suggests a certain kind of anthropomorphism where we view God as a human friend. However, there are two problems with this method. The first problem is the danger of possibly becoming a slave. The human can become so overcome by the superiority of their
“friend” (i.e. God) that they become a slave-like follower that loses their will. The second problem is the danger of becoming spoiled children because all their wishes are met by God through prayer. Accordingly, if either or both of these problems occurred, the “friendship” between human and God would die and one party would assume power over the other in using.
Stump proposes petitionary prayer as a solution to avoid these two problems. Stump says if God doesn’t give us everything we ask, and we have to ask for things by way of petitionary prayer, it guards us against spoiling and becoming overcome. A person is guarded against spoiling because the

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