Prayer works. Part 11 of Why Pray?

Prayer works. Part 11 of Why Pray? December 28, 2021

Evidence is strong that prayer works

This series explored many topics regarding prayer. It explained that there are no restrictions on who can ask God for necessary things, and receive them, even if we feel undeserving, because we’re all deserving in God’s eyes.

360° photo at the base of the University of Maryland's physical science complex Image by Hillel Steinberg on Flickr
360° photo at the base of the University of Maryland’s physical science complex

Image by Hillel Steinberg on Flickr

We do need to expect God will honor our request, but it may not be in the form we think we need or want, or may come later. God rarely intervenes in nature, but there is an influence through prayer like the still, small voice.

God makes connections between the living, and part of that is by changing us so that our relationships are better, which can be associated with opportunities, challenges, and success.

Science, philosophy, and religion are very different fields, and one doesn’t negate the other.

Finally, evidence can be very strong that prayer works, as noted below by a study and personal experience.

An exceptional study

One exception to prayer studies is a well-designed hospital study of interventional prayer for 3393 adult patients with blood infections, split into a control group and a prayed for group, with neither group knowing they were being prayed for. The study demonstrated that there was less than a 5% probability the results were random. The researchers concluded “Remote, retroactive intercessory prayer said for a group is associated with a shorter stay in hospital and shorter duration of fever in patients with a bloodstream infection and should be considered for use in clinical practice.”*

Physicians at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) took a keen interest in analyzing the effects of prayer. They reviewed many well-done scientific studies. Many had excellent results.

Personal Life experience with faith and prayer

While I really like and follow public scientists like the late Stephen Hawking, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson, I look to them for science, not faith. Hawking, an atheist, said, “I believe the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws.” I strongly agree, except that prayer does work and miracles do happen that science can’t explain.

I have faith in God. I believe God does intervene in our lives, but not so much in nature. I know this from experience. Not scientific study experience, but from living life and depending on God. Three times we have sold our home to do things we felt would benefit others, and spent the money. Each time we were restored to our original situation or better.

My wife attends a prayer group which keeps a list. She says it’s amazing how many of the things they pray for are resolved in a positive way – nearly all of them. That’s affirming.

Humor: We just got a new TV to replace one that was going bad. I didn’t pray for that because we had the means to just go get it. Maybe if I had prayed for it, we wouldn’t have gotten it. Never know – the first two delivered to us didn’t work. Divine intervention? A sign? Maybe persistence pays off. I wanted that TV and I was going to have it.

Take Home Points

Do we look at boulders and expect God to move them? Is that a fair request? And can we accept that physicians and others are often the instrument of God in health and extending life?

Pray and keep communicating with God. It works.

Next in the series

Another article may be coming, based on comments. If so, it will appear here.

Our answer is God. God’s answer is us. Together we make the world a better place.

– Dorian

Other Patheos writers on prayer



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