Praying for Sleeping Bags

23 Oct 2016 /
Praying to the Madonna of the Rosary, by Carav...

Praying to the Madonna of the Rosary, by Caravaggio, 1606-1607

I was having a conversation with someone last night about the efficacy of prayer . . .

“Prayers are always answered,” I was informed, “but sometimes the answer is no, or not right now.”

What’s the point of the prayer if God is going to do whatever he wants to do anyway? Your results would be just as good if you offered prayers to me. Some of your prayers would be answered and some wouldn’t.

Has anyone done a study on this? A control group wants things but doesn’t pray for them, a second group prays to God for what they want, and a third group prays to a random entity — me, or maybe a shopping cart.

Would there be any difference in results between the groups? I’m going to say no.

It’s also hard to assess the efficacy of prayer because people never pray for anything tangible . . .

My son as a kid went on a camping trip with a church group where they wound up short of sleeping bags. I asked him did the church leaders pray for more sleeping bags and he said no.

People will pray for so-and-so to recover from brain surgery but they won’t pray for more sleeping bags.

The brain surgery patient being prayed for is going to recover or not. If not, that gets filed under “sometimes the answer is no.”

But everyone knows damn well that praying for more sleeping bags is not going to work.


One Comment on Praying for Sleeping Bags »

  1. -----

    23 Oct 2016 @ 5:46 pm


    Prayer is the mental version of picking Door Number 3 in a game show, or guessing what’s in a wrapped birthday or Christmas package. It’s the the suspense that’s irresistible rather than answer.

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