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3.24.2006    |    Intercessory prayer: a waste of time?
Front page story in today's Washington Post, headline: "Researchers Look at Prayer and Healing." Yet again, we attempt to quantify God, put Him in a box of nostrums that we can pull off of the shelf when we need Him.

Richard Sloan, a behavioral researcher at Columbia University, has it right when he says
I would like to see us stop wasting precious research dollars putting religious practices to the test of science. It's a waste of money, and it trivializes the religious experience.
The story is, for a secular newspaper, fair and balanced. Can I write that about the Post? It's not Fox News, after all... Both "sides" if you will are represented: those who know that intercessory prayer works, and those skeptics who know it does not.

Both are right, in my opinion. First, let me clarify this seeming impossibility. I believe that prayer is necessary for us to lead full lives. I also know, with a certainty, that not all of our prayers can be answered, though all are heard. What a crazy world would we live in, were that all of our prayers were answered. Impossible, since Joe is praying for the exact opposite of what Sue is praying for. Fill in the names of your favorite people or groups. And remember that, as late as World War I, all of the major nations claimed that the (Christian) God was on their side, and, natch, they prayed for victory.

God knows. We don't. Prayer can help, especially if you believe in God, and know that someone is praying for you. Prayer can help, especially if you don't believe in God, and don't know that someone is praying for you.

God help those who think they know what God is doing. They are confused.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.