Mainline Protestant Channel
Does Prayer Really Make a Difference?
By Crystal Lewis
Prayer is primarily viewed as humanity's tool for getting things from God. While this view of prayer may be popular, it can be misleading and hurtful to some. The belief that prayer can "move the will of God" can cause us to believe that God is being benevolent when our needs are met and is not interested in our well-being when we are in need. This can be problematic for a variety of reasons.
For instance, are we to believe that God has forsaken the starving people in our world because he hasn't answered our prayers to provide food to them in their time of need? Should we believe that God is so ambivalent to the collective needs of our world that he would spend time sparing one person of sickness or suffering only to ignore the ones who, for some reason, have not prayed?
Because of these troubling questions about this topic, I prefer to view prayer as a state of constant communion with God. I am reminded that God knows our needs before we ask, and that we are to pray without ceasing. In this constant time of prayer, we remain connected to the Spirit and mission of God, and can give food to the hungry, and care for the sick, and bring comfort to the broken hearted.
I believe that God intervenes in our world at times, but I remain convinced that it is our mission to partner our works with the faith we exhibit during prayer. And I believe that prayer should be viewed as the life-giving and strength-increasing communion with God that is necessary to impact the world in Christ's Name.
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Crystal S. Lewis is a progressive Christian who writes a blog called Jesus Was A Heretic, Too. She is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary. Follow Crystal on Twitter.