Felicity Dale at Simply Church has posted some interesting accounts in Does prayer make a difference? Two groups of christians prayed for non-believers, with very striking results:
- A church in the US identified 160 homes, and prayed for 80 of them for 90 days. Then they approached all homes with the offer to visit and pray for them. Only one in the “not prayed for” group accepted the offer, but 69 out of 80 homes that were prayed for responded positively.
- Christians in India picked two villages and prayed for one. When they visited both villages they were thrown out of the village they didn’t pray for but made many converts in the village they did pray for.
I have a few difficulties about praying for one group and not another, though I guess they can at least rectify this following the experiment. And I certainly don’t think we can use these examples to “prove” that prayer works. (In fact, as you can see at Intercessory prayer and healing properly scientific studies of prayer show only moderately positive results.)
But I think we can see these accounts as a great encouragement to pray. We all believe in prayer and know we should pray more, but as TS Eliot said:
“Between the idea, and the reality ….. falls the shadow.”