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What if we choose not to do the things we are supposed to do? The principal gain is a sense of an authentic act – and an authentic life. It may be a short one, but it is an authentic one, and that’s a lot better than those short lives full of boredom. The principal loss is security. Another is respect from the community. But you gain the respect of another community, the one that is worth having the respect of.
Prayer doesn’t work. Perhaps it makes the believer feel better (in the same way that meditation or deep thought would), but prayer doesn’t actually affect the external world. Not only is it ineffective, but it is also a very narcissistic practice… why would a ‘God’ change its ‘Divine Plan’ to accommodate any person’s wishes?
My grandfather was a most gifted person, and amongst his many qualities, one of them had always particularly impressed me. While the past was a book he had read and re-read may times, the future was just one more literary work of art into which he used to pour himself with deep thought and concentration. Innumerable people since his death have told me how he used to read in the future, and this certainly was one of his very great strengths.
The believer speaks little and does a lot, whereas the hypocrite speaks a lot and does little. When the believer speaks, it is with wisdom, when he is silent, it is in deep thought, when he sees, he takes lessons, and when he acts, it is a cure. If this is the way you are, then you are in the constant worship [of your Lord.]