I’ve still got a lot of emails to read, but I’m heading out for an appointment and won’t be back for a while. So far, it seems almost everyone agrees that prayer in large numbers has no greater effect than prayer in small numbers — in terms of God’s actions. Some (most) believe that prayer cannot change God’s actions because an omnipotent, all-seeing, all knowing God wouldn’t change His mind simply because of one man’s prayer or one million’s. Why would he? Others believe prayerin large numbers can have powerful external effects and therefor prayer can be uplifting in secondary social ways. And pretty much everyone believes that prayer is especially and specifically for the good of the believer. In other words, prayer makes the individual understand God’s will not the other way around.
But I guess my point remains the same. If all that’s true, why would so many clearly literate believers make it sound as if God will do the bidding of humans who pray hard enough? Maybe I don’t remember the Pat Robertson hurricane thing properly, but didn’t he argue that if everybody prayed hard enough the hurricane would change course? And, for the sake of argument, let’s say he did make that case (my memory could be poisoned by unflattering media portrayals). Isn’t that in a fundamental sense blasphemous or otherwise offensive? Implying that God’s plan can be deterred, amended or changed merely by large numbers of people asking or wishing for it surely makes God the servant of man rather than the other way around.
Again, I really don’t mean any offense. I just find this stuff very interesting — as do many readers, it seems.