Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Does Prayer Work?

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Does Prayer Work?

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

In a documentary next Thursday BBC2 television asks: Does Prayer Work? I'm all in favour of investigative journalism but is there any mileage in this old potboiler? It's an impossible question to ask and even after you've cleared the undergrowth your answer will never satisfy everyone.

The undergrowth is mainly to do with what we mean by prayer. Basically, we mean developing a relationship with God. All sorts of people will tell you this certainly works and that their lives are all the richer for it. They apologise to God, they thank God and they consciously spend time with God. But if they keep asking whether He's working or not they blow the whole operation. As one young child told me, "if you believe in God, he'll take care of the details".

Most people think of praying as asking for things. But you wouldn't be much of a son or daughter if the only time you spoke to your dad was to ask for presents. Tell him you love him some time and you'll be surprised how he reacts.

The trouble with asking God for things is that we also like to tell Him how he ought to react. And when he doesn't do it our way, we say prayer doesn't work. Recently, I had a spell in hospital having a hip operation. I can testify to how my feel-good factor was boosted by knowing that I was on the prayer list at my parish Church.

The night before the operation the surgeon asked me if I was worried about the outcome. I said I wasn't sure whether I was yet ready to meet my Maker. He said he could not guarantee that particular outcome. But I still slept soundly that night. The fact that I'm still in the land of the living is no proof that prayer works or not. But it certainly helped me approach the operation.

I shall follow Thursday's programme in the hope that they discover something I haven't thought of.

THE Lindisfarne Gospels are well-known in the North East. …

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