Thursday, January 30, 2014

How Does Prayer Work?

I have hesitated to write this blog because I don't want it to be misinterpreted although I know it probably will be by some. Please know it is not an attempt to be disrespectful but a genuine curiosity to understand what people believe.

Several of my friends have recently experienced serious illnesses in their families. When this happens, they always ask for prayers and many respond with messages that they are, indeed, praying for a positive outcome. That is a very good thing because it lends strength to the one who is suffering.

Those who read what I write or joust with me on Facebook know that I consider myself an agnostic. I don't deny God, I simply say I don't know the answers. Having said that, I've experienced situations when it certainly appeared that something outside the norm intervened in a person's life. What I wonder about is why some times and not other times?

So, how does prayer work? How does God decide which ones to honor and which ones to ignore? Surely, numbers don't have anything to do with it. God wouldn't conduct a "fan vote" to influence his choice. It can't be a popularity contest but yet the urgent requests for "everyone to pray" make it seem as if we do believe that the more prayers, the more likely He is to respond. Is this true? Are your prayers more likely to be answered if you have lots of friends and church people and co-workers praying for you than if you don't?

My aunt was always quite pleased because she prayed constantly for her sons not to be sent to Vietnam. And they weren't. She felt it was God answering her prayers. What does this say about the other Moms sending up the same fervent prayers? Did they not pray hard enough? Long enough?

We know that all prayers aren't answered. Some children recover from leukemia and some die? Why? I assume that every single one of them have loved ones sending pleading prayers to God.

If our assumption is that all of us have missions we are supposed to accomplish here on earth and when we've accomplished them, our lives come to an end, then prayers really wouldn't have much to do with it. When you time is up, your time is up, regardless of how many people are praying for it not to be so.

I truly do not understand how people believe this works. Can anyone explain it to me?