Does prayer work?
In this post I am going to look at intercessory prayer – asking God for something (usually for others).
It rather depends what you mean by work – and what happens if it doesn’t “work”.
Almost all Christians will have had experience of an apparent failure of God to answer prayer. I wonder how many children haven’t received x for a birthday or Christmas, or adults someone not receiving the healing that has been prayed for.
In the Church of England’s guidelines on the healing ministry, “A Time to Heal“, it is recognised that healing is different from “cure”; it even goes so far as to say that sometimes death can be healing.
In prayer we are aligning ourselves with God’s will, but all too often unanswered prayers are prayers which are not answered the way we want, rather than the way God wants. When we or loved ones are ill it is ever so tempting to pray for a cure – but is that God’s will? Instead, I find myself praying that God’s will be done. It perhaps prevents me having to question why my prayer wasn’t answered, but it also perhaps helps me to come to terms with whatever is happening – which is an answer, but not the one that I might have been looking for.