Tuesday, March 27, 2018

WHAT DOES PRAYER ACCOMPLISH?




With all the talk about the alleged benefits of Eastern meditation, I was surprised to find an article in Psychology Today about the many studies pointing to the benefits of prayer:

·       Prayer appears to help boost people’s will power, making it easier for them to exercise self-control.

·       Across multiple experiments, researchers found that having participants pray for someone reduced aggressive responses to being angered or provoked. This research suggests that prayer may be a good anger management tactic.

·       Prayer similarly makes it easier for people to forgive. Researchers found that having participants pray for romantic partners and friends made those individuals more likely to forgive their partners and friends. This work can be found here (link is external) and is consistent with other research suggesting that prayer improves romantic relationships.

·       Researchers found that having couples pray together increased both feelings of unity and trust and did so more than having couples talk about positive experiences. This work suggests that prayer is more than just an emotionally positive experience. It helps bring couples together. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/more-mortal/201603/science-reveals-the-benefits-prayer

Although I would assume that the majority of participants are Christians, the article makes no explicit claims about Christian prayer. However, in an interview on Pat Robertson’s 700 Club (3/27/2018), Lee Strobel discussed his new book, “The Case for Miracles: A Journalist Investigates Evidence for the Supernatural,” and the many findings that Christian prayer brings positive results.

However, the skeptics often cite an extensive study funded by the Templeton Foundation, which found that prayer didn’t make a difference. For a long time this study had silenced me about the benefits of prayer. However, Strobel revealed a key factor that the skeptics had not disclosed. The participants were not chosen among Bible-believing Christians, and this makes all the difference in the world.

James had written, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). The studies inform us that we can bank on this truth.



4 comments:

  1. Fathers don’t reward their delinquent children with gifts. Obedient children should not expect gifts, necessarily, but they can certainly be more hopeful of them than disobedient children have any right to. And disobedient and unfaithful children curse God because he does not answer their requests?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly did my own share of cursing before Christ revealed Himself to me.

      Delete
  2. James wrote something about asking amiss to consume upon lusts. My faith experience has taught me that God knows what gifts are good for me . I've had many disappointments during my Christian life , but eventually I realized that I'm better off with what I have been denied and what I have received . This may seem fanatical but it's real to me . njp

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not at all fanatical. It's actually an expression of the Biblical truth that God works all things for the good of His children.

      Delete