The New York Times
has an article talking
about the latest scientific study that anonymous prayer has no affect on sick people.
Now, I'd be all riled up and upset about this if it weren't for the fact that these scientific studies related to medical issues come out every other week and most of them contradict each other. One week bran flakes are the absolute best thing for your body and the next week they aren't. Or one week eggs are good for you, the next if you eat one your cholesterol will go through the roof and you'll have a heart attack right then and there!
So, you can see why I can't get too worked up about this study. We had a study a while ago that said that prayer had benefits, now we have one that says there aren't any.
I think the thing the study misses is that it isn't really the prayer itself that is the cental thing. It's the faith and the belief behind it that's important. I also think that too many times, we get this oversimplified view of prayer.
I think about this old Peanuts
cartoon. Sally is out in an empty field. She says, "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight. I wish I had a pony." She then looks left, looks right and seeing no pony goes, "Stupid star!"
It seems to me that a lot of times prayer is seen this way. It's like a laundry list of things we want or we see God as some kind of Santa Claus who is going to grant our every wish. And yes, it does say in the Bible to pray to God for all things you want, but it's not to be like a kid on Christmas morning or Bruce in Bruce Almighty and get your hearts every desire. It's because God is our heavenly Father and wants us to have a conversation with Him. And sometimes to get to the heart of the matter, we have to get past the "I want" stuff and really get down, dirty and talking to God.
And prayer is supposed to be a conversation with God we have on a regular basis, not just when we want or need something. I know that in times of troulbe it's easier to turn to God and sometimes as humans we are quick to give ourselves too much credit and forget about God when times are good. But Scripture says we should give thanks in all circumstances.
Also, let's face it--sometimes what we ask for in prayer isn't exactly what's best for us. And God knows it. And yet, He listens to us ask for these things even though they aren't what we really need or want.
And my experience has shown me the power of prayer and that God does answer it and bless us in amazing ways beyond our imagining from it. I have only to look to see my sister and her two amazing children to have firm, concrete proof that God does listen and He does answer prayers.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 3/31/2006 12:36:00 PM