Summary: Prayer is a powerful connection with God, but there are reasons why prayer sometimes doesn’t work the way we expect.

Does Prayer Really Work???


Randy A. Croft

Largest radio receiver on earth is in New Mexico. Pilots call it the Mushroom patch. It’s real name is VLA-Very Large Array. It’s a collection of huge satellite disks on 38 miles of railways. Together they form a single telescope the size of Wash D.C. Astronomers come from all over world to analyze the data from the heavens. Radio signals from sources millions of light years away. They need huge dishes, because radio waves are very faint. The total energy of all the radio waves ever recorded barely equals the force of a single snowflake hitting the ground.

Some people wonder today if God is like the VLA satellite system. Is he hard of hearing our messages--our prayers. So many times it seems we pray only to have the prayers unanswered. Silence. Does God have a VLE system--Very Large Ears, or does his computer upstairs get clogged with the millions of people praying each day?

America Online-a computer internet provider, got sued for millions of dollars because people paying their monthly dues would try to get on the internet and would get constant busy signals. Too many calls coming in...

Some people pray every day. Some pray only at church. Rates are always cheaper on the weekends anyway, right?

Tonight I’m not going to talk so much about how important it is to pray--the bible makes that very plain. Mark 1:35 "Very early in the Morning, while still dark Jesus got up, left the house where he was staying, and went off to a solitary place where he prayed." Jesus prayed, duh--we ought to pray....

Tonight questions: "Why are some prayers are answered and other aren’t?" "Does God hear all prayers?" "Does Prayer really work, or are we just wasting our breath?"

Contrary to the popular opinion, there are times when we really are wasting our breath--more on that later.

First of all--let me give you a few examples of prayers that don’t seem to work. Then a few examples of answered prayer.

Unanswered prayer

1. Friend. Christian. Daughter sick. She died. Became agnostic.

2. Chaplain in WWII said that there were always more men who prayed going out to fight than men who came back.

3. Father in a coma. Cancer. Prayed get better. He died.

Answered Prayer

1. Car stops at night. Trouble. Mother prays. Waits. Car drives up. Fixes it. "I saw you praying." Impossible.

2. Young pastor start a church. Needed $600 exactly. He had $10. He went to a church one morning. During offering time, a friend put a check in his pocket. $600.

3. Roger, friend of mine. I kept inviting to church. I prayed one day telling God I wasn’t going to invite him invitations weren’t working. If God wanted him, he’d have to reach him himself. Amen. Phone rang. Roger on the line...Hey can I come visit your church this weekend. Later baptized, Christian college, committed to Christ.

4. Mother. Cancer and Osteoporosis. Several surgeries. After one surgey, 3-4 years ago, the doctors said, "It’s a miracle the cancer didn’t spread to other areas of your body. It would have been critical."

Even if you don’t believe in God, and you pray--things happen. One person used to be criticized for believing in answered prayer...People called it coincidence. He said, "I don’t care what you call it. When I pray--coincidences happen. When I don’t pray, they don’t happen. I’ll keep praying for coincidences then." That’s what science is revealing more and more. Prayer does affect things.

Article in Medical field about prayer. God M.D.

ILLUS: Dr. Dale Matthews from Georgetown Medical Center in Wash D.C. "I can say, as a physician and scientist...that, scientifically, prayer is good for you. The medical effects of faith on health are not a matter of faith, but of science."

Ex.. One scientific report of 400 patients--coronary care unit. at SF General Hospital. Tracked over a 10 month period. 192 (almost half) patients were entered into an intercessory prayer group (they had people praying for them and didn’t know it).

Those who were prayed for had less heart failure during recovery, had less pneumonia, and cardiopulmonary arrests.

Ex..700 patients at a Veterans Hospital. One group received lengthy visits and prayer from Chaplains. The other, very little contact. The extra time the chaplains gave cost hospital about $100/patient. However, discharge rate was much higher, and had a healthier recovery. It actually saved the hospital $4000 per case.

Several more examples--these two give you a taste of the current studies being done on prayer and healing. I could give you similar cases in terms of addictions, finances, and family, and jobs opening up.

Harvard has been studying the connection between prayer and healing for some time now, and have reached some conclusions that praying is more than simply a placebo or an emotional activity. There are qualitative and scientific results that take place when people pray.

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