Argument from the efficacy of prayer
- "Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn't in God's Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn't it seem a little arrogant? It's a Divine Plan. What's the use of being God if every run-down shmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?"
Prayer is the act of mentally speaking to a god, to profess loyalty or ask for favors.
Christianity and Prayer
Prayer in the New Testament is presented as a positive command (Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Christians are challenged to include prayer in their everyday life, even in the busy struggles of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:5) as it brings people closer to God.
Prayer in the New Testament is also presented as being completely dependable. For example:
- Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"
- Matthew 17:20 "For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."
- Matthew 21:21 "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
- Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."
- John 14:12-14 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it."
- Matthew 18:19 "Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Thus, the stipulations one must fulfill for having their prayers answered are these:
- Have faith. It doesn't matter how much, for even someone with the faith of a mustard seed will have their prayers answered.
- Don't doubt in your faith.
- Believe in Jesus and the works that he does.
- Believe that you will recieve what you pray for.
- If you really want your prayer answered, get a group of people to all pray for the same thing.
The Bible says that if you adhere to these rules then this is what God will do for you:
- He will answer your prayers, no matter what you ask for.
- Nothing will be impossible for you if you pray about it.
Objections to Prayer
- As the George Carlin quote suggests, the act of prayer seems a little odd for people with belief in a god who is supposed to be omniscient and omnibenevolent. Clearly an omniscient god would already be aware of your problems and know what you want. Ultimately, your request may be regarded by God as either good or evil. If it is good, then why would God not have granted your wishes already? If it is evil, then why would God ever grant your request?
- Billions of people pray for various things every day. Many of the prayer requests are even contradictory. For instance, in a football game, often the players and fans on both sides are praying to win. If God answers prayers, which side should He choose? The side that prays loudest?
- George Carlin on Religion and Prayer (full version)