December 11, Saturday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 22, 2014.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“What Prayerlessness Says About our View of God” 

James 4:2b

“You do not have, because you do not ask God.” 

Does prayer work?  Proving the effectiveness of prayer doesn’t seem too difficult to do.  For instance, many church services in Mexico still include a time of testimony and I personally have heard hundreds of believers testifying of answered prayers.  That may be good enough for us but not to Dr. Larry Dossey, a chief staff at a major hospital in Dallas who no longer believed in God. 

So, Dr. Dossey, as a man of science, led a carefully controlled study at the hospital, consisting of a group of patients who were prayed for and a group that wasn’t, to empirically see whether prayer works.  Neither the nearly 400 patients nor their doctors and nurses knew who had been randomly assigned to the group being prayed for.  The results showed that patients in a coronary unit who were prayed for daily did better on the average than patients who were not prayed for.

Upon learning about the study, Dr. Dossey faced an unusual ethical dilemma.  As a physician committed to scientific evidence as well as alleviating pain, was he therefore ethically obliged to pray for his patients? His quandary grew as he learned of more than 100 experiments on the impact of prayer that he considered scientifically well designed and indicating positive results.  The fact that he was an unbeliever made this situation even more taxing. 

Dossey’s dilemma is not mentioned here to debate what he should’ve done, but to point out reasons we don’t pray as we ought.  Despite having heard many sermons on prayer, perhaps the real reason we do not take prayer as seriously, and therefore don’t pray, is not that we are lazy (the most popular reason for not praying) but because of our implicit view of God and of us.  

Our general state of prayerlessness indicates two things: first, we have too low-view of God, hence, not believing that prayer addressed to Him makes all that much difference; two, we have too high-view of ourselves, prompting us to act as if we can do it with our own abilities, experiences, and technologies. Folks, prayerlessness is the most powerful statement we can make to the Lord that we don’t really need Him in our lives except for going to heaven.  

So how is your prayer life?  Are you still praying a minute here and a minute there, every other day? Isn’t it about time we “put childish ways behind [us]?” (1 Cor. 13:11).  Turn your gadget off and pray!

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to pray, in FAITH! 

Bible Reading for Today: Romans 6-7

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