This comprehensive, psychological, and naturalistic analysis of prayer offers an alternative to William James's model of prayer, represented in his work The Varieties of Religious Experience, which links supplication to the divine or supernatural realm. Through his examination of prayer, and its connection to faith, Faber also analyzes religious faith psychologically and anthropologically, concluding that subjective prayer is finally an instance of homeopathic magical conduct. It ritualistically conjures up, according to the author, a version of the first, primal, biological situation, in which the dependent little one cries out to a parental big one for physical and emotional nourishment. Eventually, religion…and its expression of faith through prayer, provides us with a magical protective presence that is natural in its return to the primal, rather than supernatural, as James argues, in its presence and existence.
The very instructional details of individual prayer, Faber argues, are unconsciously designed to recreate the magical alliance through which our existence on the planet commences and goes forward. Over and over again, dozens of times each day, thousands of times each year, the little one asks and the big one sees to it that the little one receives. Such asking and receiving is the central feature of a child's existence. As we internalize this reality and seek to re-create it in our adult lives, religious conviction and faith--as it comes through prayer--helps us to achieve a sense of security and a psychic return to the parental alliance. Faber's compelling arguments will challenge readers to consider prayer and faith as a magical circle of religious belief and to examine afresh the underlying nature of supplication.