Can I watch TV while I pray?

I think most people would disapprove of watching TV while praying.

Could such a request be made palatable?

I could ask, "Can I pray while I watch TV?"

This is more likely get a favourable response.

However, despite seeming the same - simply expressed differently - the questions are totally different. The difference lies in the principal activity and the proposed secondary activity.


KayMac said…
Since the gospel encourages Christ followers to "pray without ceasing" i think we should pretty much be able to pray while doing most anything.

I like that in the middle of any part of my life...Christ is there...and I can talk to Him.
Richard said…
kaymac: the post is not actually about prayer, rather it is about how the meaning of a question can change depending on how it is phrased. I simply chose that example because it seemed fairly clear cut. But, yes, I believe a contemplative and meditative life is good.
Yes, you're exactly right...seems funny when you just look at the words technically without meaning or context. It's not like math where 7X2=2X7! or 5+1=1+5

(Isn't this the old associative property?)
tin-tin said…
hmmm.. you're right. it's a different statement when you switch the words :)
Richard said…
MOI: it is the commutative property (think about things commuting - moving - around). The question I asked is not commutative (at least not if you assign different merits to each activity).

tin-tin: how a question is posed can affect the response. However, it may not always be the same question, even if it has the same words. Now you have a new technique for trying to influence people.
Barbara said…
The only prayer I can imagine offering while I was watching TV would be that it would be over soon.

You are so correct that that even the placement of a single word can totally change the meaning of a sentence. English is not an easy language.

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