Prayer Is A Last Resort
When a main character has no options left to deal with the conflict, they'll try prayer
Indexes: Religion Tropes
"Prayer: the last refuge of a scoundrel."Nothing seems to be going right. The character is continuously failing to make any progress, despite constantly trying. But eventually, they reach a point where they've exhausted all avenues for success and there are no other options. Now is a good time to pray. This trope is an observation about the use of prayer in fiction. Praying is seen as a sign that the character is giving up and acknowledging that they have no control, and so for a character to pray as a first response is almost always a sign of weakness. As such, works will typically portray prayer as a last resort or an act of desperation after the character has tried and failed to resolve the conflict on their own. Sub-Trope of Godzilla Threshold. If a character prays as a first response rather than a last resort, it signifies that the character is weak or has no initiative. Not always a case of Truth in Television, as people who pray regularly usually do so as a first response, and then try to resolve the issue if that doesn't work - and this is seen as normal among such people. However, it is a case of truth in television if the person doesn't regularly pray, and feels they have exhausted all other options.
-- Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons, "Bart Gets An F"
- One of the Kaamelott comics has this. Father Blaise is brought along with the expedition, but since he's no good at fighting, they tell him to pray. Despite telling them it doesn't work that way, he keeps at it, and at the climax his crucifix unloads a Kill Sat against the monsters. When asked how the hell he pulled that off, he reminds them that he's been praying for the past twenty hours.
- In The (in)famous DC comics miniseries "Act of God", when all the magic/mythical power based heros lost their powers, wee see Diana(Wonder Woman) praying on a Catolich Church... did we mentioned Diana is more related to the greek pantheon that to the JudeoChristian One, or tha she lives on a World where supernatural creatures and Gods are known to be real and commonly seen around with other heroes in a regular basis
- Patch Adams.. Sort of.
- George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life. Slightly subverted in that his Guardian Angel Clarence has been looking out for him all along.
- Conan the Barbarian (the Scharzanegger film).
Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you, Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!
- Arnie also prayed toward the end of End of Days.
- Patton. During the Battle of the Bulge the situation is desperate. The Germans are winning and Allied air support is grounded because of the bad weather. Patton calls in an Army chaplain and orders him to write a prayer to ask for good weather so Allied planes can smash the German forces.
- IIRC there is a joke about an atheist praying to god when about to be devoured by a bear, asking to make the bear a Christian. The bear says "thank you for this meal I am about to receive."
- In Deception Point when the cast are about to freeze to death (having been trapped on an ice sheet by a group of Delta force soldiers) the female lead comments it probably looks like she's doing this in her internal monologue, but she's actually attempting to tap out an SOS message in the hope a secret array of microphones might pick it up. It doesn't, but luckly a submarine was passing nearby).
- In The X-Files season 7 pilot, all Scully can do for a dying Mulder is to pray. It helps.
- A genuine option in the Pathfinder pen & paper RPG, high level clerics have tiny chance (a matter of 3% or so) to turn the tide massively in their favour when all seems lost by praying to their god(s).
- EarthBound has this in its final battle. The final boss is defeated by praying to everyone the protagonists have met on their journey, and the player.
- This also happened at least once on The Simpsons, in "Bart Gets an F".
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