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Instant Comm. and Prayer

July 2, 2005

In a world of email and blogging and everything else, how has instant communication changed prayer?

Just thinking outloud here (so give me a ‘heresy horn’ if you want):

  • Has the ability to have more people pray more quickly changed the way God responds to prayer?
  • How has the church changed it thoughts about prayer because of our ability to pass the word?
  • Has it made prayer more or less effective? Can we even discuss it in those terms?

The past two weeks have brought these things to mind.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Slothboy permalink
    July 5, 2005 3:38 pm

    You’ve actually got a much more basic question to address first. Does prayer actually change what God was going to do in the first place?

    Prayer absolutely brings us closer to God on a personal level. I feel very strongly that prayer gives us strength and helps us learn to listen to God, but does it change the will of God? Sports is a great example.

    Presumably, there are very faithful people that are fans of virtually every team and/or player in every sport. Many of those faithful fans probably pray for “the win.” Does God tally up the number of prayers for each team and the one with the most votes wins? That sounds silly but it is a good way to look at the issue from a non-emotional perspective.

    I pray all the time for the health and welfare of my family. I find that the first hint of trouble has me praying bullets. (Watching the news inspires me to pray more than the average Bible study.) But why do we pray for intervention? Will God ignore us if we don’t ask him for help? Jesus didn’t reach out to Peter as he was about to drown while attempting to walk on water until he asked for help, but does that mean that God will refuse to act until we request that help? That doesn’t seem likely. If I were knocked unconscious by a meteor as I was speeding down the freeway and didn’t have a chance to pray before my car crashed through the median would God just look the other way?

    Then you have to decide if more people praying creates a greater chance for intervention. (If 50 people pray for something it won’t happen but when 51 do then God will jump in…) Do different problems have different prayer quotas? The very idea makes my head hurt.

    I have had a lot of experiences that tell me prayer works, but maybe those experiences only really show me that ”…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We have already enlisted God’s help in our lives when we made the choice to let Him in.

    I do think that we can feel the prayers of our fellow believers. I envision it like a big group hug that is stronger and more uplifting the more people are involved. There is real power in prayer, I just don’t expect to ever really know how that power manifests itself. The reason for that is that I don’t have the benefit of seeing what the outcome would have been if I hadn’t prayed. This is also an experiment I don’t think I would care to undertake.

    I also realize, of course, that all these questions come from the critical thinking side of my brain. For those of you keeping track, hat is the side of my brain that checks out immediatly and heads for the hills when the fit hits the shan… as it were. It is in those moments when there isn’t even time to think that the most earnest prayers shoot up to that big switchboard in the sky. “Oh God, help me!” I think we should never ignore that sort of instinct. So I pray for everthing from guidance to the absence of Salmonilla in my ice cream. Best to cover all the bases, in my opinion. I just have to remember to close with “thy will be done.” But that’s a whole other can of worms.

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