There was a recent thread that cited the Templeton Prayer Study and its unexpected results - that intercessory prayer was not effective. The critics (see same link) said that prayer couldn’t be quantified, and that there was plenty of anecdotal evidence for having seen prayer work.
But how can prayer be judged to work? Those who claim to have seen the results of prayer are implying, by their conclusion, that prayer can be done in such a way that it is certain that it is prayer that works and not chance or coincidence. Of course all the science in the world isn’t going to persuade people who believe that all the reliable evidence comes from the bible. So let’s see if prayer works in the bible with a case study of Jesus praying in the garden just before his death.
Was Jesus praying correctly? I think the answer is obvious. If there is a single person to cite as an “expert” on how to do this properly, it would be Jesus.
Was this within God’s will? Naturally it would be in part of God’s will, as it was clear that Jesus didn’t want to be killed. You could argue that it was in the Father’s will that Jesus be killed, but there is at least one story in the bible of a believer asking for the Father to act against his will (and God’s will changed).
The bible claims “ask and ye shall receive”. So if your son, a perfect son who has never done wrong, asked for bread, would he be given a stone? It is clear, from the events that followed, that his prayer was either not answered or answer with a “no, you can’t have what you asked for”. Why?
And what implications does this have for our prayers? If absolutely any request can be vetoed by The Father, no matter how perfectly we pray or act, then why should we ever have faith that we will be granted our request? And if our request is granted, then how can we be certain that it wasn’t through chance?
I know there’s a lot of questions here… I don’t intend anyone to answer them all, but I welcome it.