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Can Our Prayers Change Others? Part 2

The power of prayer.  It’s an overworked platitude.  But is it true?  Can our prayers change others for the good, especially the ultimate good of their salvation?  Taking off from something C.S. Lewis said, last week I suggested that our prayers for others are powerful.  Without violating their free will, God uses them to have a powerful effect on the people we are praying for. 

But, is there any good reason to think prayer can have this effect?  Yes, at least two.

First, quantum mechanics, specifically quantum “entanglement”, provides a compelling parallel.  At the quantum level, experiments have shown that what happens to one particle can have an impact on another particle a great distance away.  As Robert Spitzer explains: “The measurement of momentum, position, or spin of one entangled particle will affect momentum position or spin of the other particle (no matter how far the other particle is from the first)…one particle has effects on another at great distances.” (Robert Spitzer, The Soul’s Upward Yearning, San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2015, pp. 237-238)  

These particles, the building blocks of our material world, are connected in some unseen, but undeniably real way.  They exhibit an “invisible”, but real relationship.   

Paul Davies is one of the most widely respected commentators on science.  Based on the phenomenon of quantum entanglement, he concludes: “In short, the world is not a collection of separate but coupled things; rather, it is a network of relations.” (Paul Davies, God and the New Physics, New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1983, p. 112)  Incidentally, Davies is not a Christian.

Given this invisible “interconnectedness” at the quantum level, the idea of an invisible interconnectedness at the spiritual level seems much more reasonable.  If matter exhibits this kind of unseen but profound relationality, then there is good reason to think that (by God’s design) the spiritual realm might too.    

The power of prayer.

Second, there are many credible cases where people have reported some kind of dramatic healing effect as a result of other people praying for them.  Many times, the recipients have no prior knowledge that anyone was praying for them.  In his monumental book Miracles—the largest scholarly study of the subject to date—Craig Keener had documented thousands of credible healings.  Although there are many different catalysts for these healings, intercessory prayer, often at a distance, is a common element.

While all the scientific studies on intercessory prayer done to date have, for myriad reasons, proven inconclusive, Keener’s careful and critically adept vetting provides numerous examples that can’t easily be dismissed.  They often contain uncanny details that are difficult, if not impossible, to explain otherwise.  

The most dramatic example I know of personally involved a woman who was an active member of a church I once served.  While traveling, she suffered a brain aneurism and had, what was essentially, a near-death experience.  Literally at death’s door, just about the time she was entering emergency surgery, a group of parishioners gathered in our chapel to pray for her. 

Even though she was a hundred miles away and unconscious—she had no way of knowing they were doing this—she swears that at that very moment she felt those prayers.  After (miraculously) recovering, she would often recount how she could even “see” the specific people in the chapel praying for her.  With tears in her eyes every time she shared the story, she would explain how overwhelmed she felt by their love—and how instrumental this was in helping her get through that experience.

The power of prayer. 

Of course, there is so much more to it.  I haven’t touched on the other effects intercessory prayer can have.  And, most importantly, I haven’t even touched on the most powerful effects of prayer: the way it changes us; and, above all, the way it connects us to God.

But if you ever wonder whether your prayers for other people matter—especially when praying for them to know the transforming love of Christ—doubt no more.

The moment you pray this way, God unites your love for them to His and enables you, in real and powerful ways, to participate in His efforts to draw them to Himself.

The power of prayer!

Do you think prayer “works”?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  You can go to the “Contact E.J.” page of the Raising Jesus website and leave your comments there.  Also, please “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to our YouTube channel if you haven’t had a chance to already.  I truly appreciate all your on-going support!

 

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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