A recent Gallup poll asked two questions about prayer. “It has been said that those who pray will receive help. Do you think this is a true statement or not?” and “When you have prayed for help, what happened, did it work or not?”
To the first question, 71% of all adults said yes. To the second question, 63% said yes. More women than men replied affirmatively to both questions.
Apparently, prayer works!
We presume that this means those who prayed got what they asked for. But this whole idea of prayer as something that “works” bothers us. There is a different test of what “works” when we pray.
- Prayer works when it gives us a greater sense of the majesty and glory of God.
- Prayer works when it leads us to true repentance after confessing sin.
- Prayer works when it arouses in us an awesome sense of the forgiving grace of God.
- Prayer works when it engenders profound thanks for every day that we live and makes us realize that life is a gift to be received with gratitude and a task to be pursued with courage.
- Prayer works when it leads us to pray for others.
- Prayer works when it impels us to action on behalf of our brothers and sisters in this world.
- Prayer works when it leads to new commitments in our Christian pilgrimage.
- Prayer works when along with our asking, it leads to our giving.