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Old 10-19-2013, 11:23 AM
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Default Studies “Prove” Prayer Doesn’t Work – Why we should Keep Praying

According to two recent studies, intercessory prayer doesn’t work. The 2005 MANTRA II study concluded:

Quote:
Neither masked prayer nor MIT therapy significantly improved clinical outcome after elective catheterisation or percutaneous coronary intervention.
MIT stands for “music, imagery, touch” – new-age therapies unworthy of being compared with True Christian™ prayer.

The 2006 STEP project concluded:

Quote:
Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.
When Dick Dawkins heard about this study, he suggested those who knew they were being prayed for fared worse because of performance anxiety.

Should Christians be worried? Should we just give up praying? Absolutely not! As we shall see, these studies were fatally flawed. Let’s first look at the MANTRA II study.

Quote:
During the first 2 years of the study, the name, age, and illness of each patient assigned prayer therapy were provided to each of the 12 primary-tier prayer groups. All prayer groups were notified directly through the prayer- therapy coordinator at the randomisation centre within 30 min of randomisation. Timing and content of prayers were defined by the routine practices of each prayer group, with durations ranging from 5 days to 30 days after enrolment. Prayer groups were all established congregations. Documentation of prayer-group adherence to the protocol was not mandated. Primary-tier prayer groups included Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist groups.
Is anyone else hearing alarm bells? It gets worse. From the MANTRA pilot project, we get a clue as to what kind of prayer methods may have been used.

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Tantra? Vespers? A printed prayer placed in the Western Wall? As if that’s going to heal anyone! I see a Fundamentalist Christian group in there, but how do we know whether any of them were True Christians™? Were they vetted so that only those who trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation and had been baptized and were living perfect could pray? If not, the study was bound to deliver inconclusive results. God doesn’t hear the prayer of sinners. And we already know those of false religions who pray to imaginary gods are simply wasting their breath.

Is 45:20 Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

The MANTRA study doesn’t teach us anything new. Now let’s look at the STEP project.

The STEP project was funded by the Templeton Foundation, which has a mission to answer the “Big Questions” and reconcile philosophy and theology with science. Yet when their study didn’t yield the results they were expecting, they published it anyway . They need to take a page out of Answers in Genesis’ book. Never publish any findings that would seem to contradict your preconceived notions. There are, of course, difficulties with any study involving prayer.

Quote:
"One caveat is that with so many individuals receiving prayer from friends and family, as well as personal prayer, it may be impossible to disentangle the effects of study prayer from background prayer." – Manoj Jain, Baptist Memorial Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee.
Exactly! How do we differentiate between the results of the intercessory prayers of those involved in the study and the intercessory prayers of those not involved in the study? The STEP project yielded a null result. Was this due to study prayer or background prayer? At least the STEP project wasn’t contaminated by prayer from adherents of false religions, but still we have no way of knowing whether any of them were True Christians™. The downside of the STEP project was that it seemed to show that intercessory prayer was harmful if you knew you were being prayed for. I don’t know how that happened.

A significant finding of both studies, however, was that God granted recovery to Christians and non-Christians alike. This is completely in accordance with what the Bible teaches. God withholds from some what they deserve and gives to others what they don’t deserve.

Mat 5:45b He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

You may think these studies would have provided good opportunities for God to reveal Himself. In the MANTRA study, He could have answered all the Christian prayers and shown all the other religions to be false. But He didn’t do this. God isn’t in the habit of providing evidence for His existence. He doesn’t like to be tested. He doesn’t like to be asked for signs (Mat 16:4a) except when it’s okay (2 Ki 20:8-11). And He expects us to believe without having seen any evidence (Jn 20:29).

Unbelievers are prone to circular logic. Scientists try to prove science with science. Atheists try to prove logic and reasoning with logic and reasoning. We Christians can prove the efficacy of prayer with the Bible, which we know to be infallible because it tells us so (Jn 10:35 – “Scripture cannot be broken”). There are many passages that exhort us to make intercession.

We should pray for all men, especially those in authority.

1 Tim 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

We should pray for ministers of God’s Word.


Phil 1:19For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

We should pray for our brothers and sisters who are sick.

Jas 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

Why would God tell us to pray for others if prayer doesn’t work? Of course, it doesn’t always work. Let’s look at King David’s intercession for his unborn child.

2 Sam 12:15b-18a
15 And the Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.
16 David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth.
17 And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them.
18 And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died.

How should the True Christian™ respond to unanswered prayer? The same way we should respond to answered prayer, of course! With praise and worship!

2 Sam 12:20a Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped:

The Christian response is set forth beautifully in this diagram.


But if intercessory prayer never worked, could you imagine the chaos that would ensue? We wouldn’t have any control over world leaders or world events. We would have the same odds of recovering from illness as anyone else.

The High Priestly Prayer (Jn 17) is a shining example of intercessory prayer. Jesus spent most of it telling God what He had done on earth during His ministry and asking God to glorify Him, but the bits that actually involved praying for others serve as an example for us. No study has ever shown that Jesus’ Priestly Prayer didn’t work. Keep praying, fellow Christians!
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Old 10-20-2013, 01:56 AM
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Default Re: Studies “Prove” Prayer Doesn’t Work – Why we should Keep Praying

Amen, brother Pim. The reason the prayers didn't work is because they were not True Christians™.

We already know God doesn't listen to the prayers of sinners.

What makes them think the prayers of hell bound trash would work at all?
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Old 10-20-2013, 02:56 AM
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Default Re: Studies “Prove” Prayer Doesn’t Work – Why we should Keep Praying

I notice a lot of sinners and atheists complaining because God doesn't answer prayers in exact time or the exact way they expect him to. Now, of course God doesn't answer the prayers of unsaved trash and sinners ( John 9:31 Matthew 6:7 ), but they're also wondering why God supposedly doesn't answer the prayers of Christians as well.

Their perception of how God answers prayers isn't right. If you follow God's word, and you pray for something, and it is God's will that you have it, you will get what you pray for 100% of the time. You just have to be patient. Let me give some examples:

Several years ago, I wasn't doing well financially, so I prayed that I would get more money (without being a liberal bum leeching off the government) . A year and a half later, I received a check in the mail for an income tax refund. The prayer worked! I just had to be patient.

When I was a child, I prayed that my annoying neighbors who had obnoxious, noisy teenagers would go away. Five and a half years later my parents decided to move! God answered my prayer! Just not in the way I was expecting.

After my brother got cancer, I prayed that he would survive. He died two days later, but my parents had another son! I liked the new brother better anyway. I did not specify which brother should survive, so the prayer worked! Just not in the way I was expecting . Besides, that other brother probably did something bad if God was mad enough to justly give him cancer.
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Old 10-20-2013, 03:53 AM
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Default Re: Studies “Prove” Prayer Doesn’t Work – Why we should Keep Praying

Quote:
Originally Posted by Levi Jones View Post
Amen, brother Pim. The reason the prayers didn't work is because they were not True Christians™.

We already know God doesn't listen to the prayers of sinners.

What makes them think the prayers of hell bound trash would work at all?
These studies support our position. The prayers of sinners do nothing, and those who know sinners are praying for them and allow them to continue do even worse.
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Old 10-20-2013, 07:38 AM
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Pim Pendergast Pim Pendergast is offline
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Default Re: Studies “Prove” Prayer Doesn’t Work – Why we should Keep Praying

Quote:
Originally Posted by Levi Jones View Post
That's what these studies really prove -- not that prayer doesn't work but that the prayers of sinners don't work. Scientists always interpret everything according to their own biases.
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Old 10-20-2013, 08:08 AM
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Default Re: Studies “Prove” Prayer Doesn’t Work – Why we should Keep Praying

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prayer Warrior View Post
I notice a lot of sinners and atheists complaining because God doesn't answer prayers in exact time or the exact way they expect him to. Now, of course God doesn't answer the prayers of unsaved trash and sinners ( John 9:31 Matthew 6:7 ), but they're also wondering why God supposedly doesn't answer the prayers of Christians as well.

Their perception of how God answers prayers isn't right. If you follow God's word, and you pray for something, and it is God's will that you have it, you will get what you pray for 100% of the time. You just have to be patient. Let me give some examples:

Several years ago, I wasn't doing well financially, so I prayed that I would get more money (without being a liberal bum leeching off the government) . A year and a half later, I received a check in the mail for an income tax refund. The prayer worked! I just had to be patient.

When I was a child, I prayed that my annoying neighbors who had obnoxious, noisy teenagers would go away. Five and a half years later my parents decided to move! God answered my prayer! Just not in the way I was expecting.

After my brother got cancer, I prayed that he would survive. He died two days later, but my parents had another son! I liked the new brother better anyway. I did not specify which brother should survive, so the prayer worked! Just not in the way I was expecting . Besides, that other brother probably did something bad if God was mad enough to justly give him cancer.
And just remember God didn't answer Jesus' prayer to "let this cup pass from Me" (Mat 26:39) in the way He expected. In this case, the answer was, "Son, that's not possible." It comforts me to know that as Jesus was having second thoughts about dying for me, He still humbled Himself to His Father's will: "Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (Mat 26:39).
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