I think hope is good. I think prayer is great. I think it is necessary, and thousands of years before millions of dollars were spent on studies to prove those who believe are healthier, live longer, and heal faster, this knowledge was known. It doesn't take a study, nor money, to realize that prayer and hope result in in happiness and satisfaction, and this is the best remedy of all.
However, hope can also be a thorn in your back, as noted by Friedrich Nietzsche: "Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torments of man." Likewise, as I wrote before: "Hope never solved any problem. Hope traps people right where they are, good or bad. When you're hoping you are staying in your home, doing nothing, but thinking -- hoping."
Yes, hope is good, but you also have to help yourself. As the old saying goes, "The Lord helps those who helps themselves." The Lord put us on this earth, and he gave us identities. He gave us individual freedom to be responsible for our own lives. He allows us to choose to worship Him or some false god (and atheism is a religion). He allows us to choose whether or not we are virtuous, and whether or not we work for a living, or are parasites on the backs of others. He allows us to choose whether we are fighters or lovers.
In this way, the Lord created the first democracy. He gave every person freedom at birth, and it is only man (or government created by man) that can take this freedom away. You can take your own freedom away by sitting back and "hoping" that God will make your life better, and keep you healthy. It is people who have this false hope who sit around wondering things like the following:
- "Why does God punish me so?"
- "Why did got let my son die?"
- Why does God make me work so hard?"
- Why doesn't God allow me an easier life?"
God will assist you, but God doesn't control you. God gave you individual freedom, and so it is you who is responsible for your own life, and your own future. You determine how things go in this life, and you determine whether or not you will spend eternity with God in Heaven. If you simply sit back and rely on God, you will end up with the same fate as the man who sits back and relies on the government for wealth -- it will never come (well, it may if God allows it).
Advice I gave my son: "Christianity (hope and faith) makes great men so long as it doesn't make you naive and lazy. Work hard, and never stop trying to better yourself so you can enjoy your many days, and God will help you."