The Prayer Study
The recent flurry about the study on the effectiveness of prayer for sick people needs to have at least 2 of its inner factors immediately clarified: 1) it was the prayer of one stranger for another without the personal ties of friendship, family or even names; 2) it used the concept of intercessory prayer as almost an effort to change God's mind. I saw an image of a God strongly decided on finishing off someone and then someone begged him to change his mind and let the sick person survive. I know there are many, many notions of prayer but I would just suggest that when I pray for someone by name, I am simply expressing my love and concern for that person on the deepest and highest level I know of - the presence of God. Just as I do not think of God as some sort of puppeteer playing with our fates, I do not pray that he will change his ways or his mind. All authentic prayer is about acceptance of God, his will, my destiny and thanksgiving for all of God's gifts.