Working, healing prayer

“Each prayer is unique,” observes S. P. James, who wrote the article you’ll read on page 10 of this week’s issue. That’s a very helpful and essential fact. Nothing you’re going to read here suggests that effective prayer is based on formulas or rituals, on getting just the right combination of words or ferreting out the one lone correct thought in some proverbial prayer haystack. 

This week’s authors all bring their own special observations to help answer the question “How does prayer work?” And every insight is uniquely valuable, pointing to dependence on God alone, and not on ourselves. As Skip Phinney explains in the lead article, “Perhaps the most important thing to know, then, about how prayer works is that we don’t make it work any more than we make the sun rise or set.” Kathleen Chicoine’s repsonses to various questions from around the world help illustrate this (p. 8). So does the beautiful experience of Dorian Atkins (p. 14)—you’ll enjoy reading how he had a healing of intense loneliness that began when he prayed at a Sunday School seminar.

September 19, 2011

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