I'm sorry you misunderstood me. I don't pray for forgiveness so that I don't hit myself, I realize that I am saying no to God's (that's all sin is about) protection when I hit myself. You remember when I said I asked for his protection until the day I die? So God won't protect me when I don't want him in my life. I hope you understand me better now.
In practical terms, Luk, I really don't see much of a difference. Is your god really protecting you when you pray, or are you protecting yourself via placebo effect with the prayers putting you in a more positive and self-protective state of mind?
This is a really good example of where the scientific method could explain more convincingly -- But only if we had proper experimental controls and a larger sample. At this point, all we know is that "something happened." We don't have supplemental information to tell us how often it normally happens to the average person, or what factors combine to evoke a protective effect.
This is also a good example of the problems inherent in personal testimony. Again, "something happened" but we may never know what, or why. All we have to go on is what you tell us, and even you may not know or remember all the contributing factors. For instance, it's My understanding that in Catholicism one may not take the Eucharist without confession, so trying to go it alone has the potential of making someone an outlier in their religious community. I don't know to what extent you participate in formal religion, but deeply ingrained practices are something that we tend to expect as part of our day-to-day routine, and any disruption of the usual can be quite jarring at a psychological level even if the change itself is for the better.