No, I’m Not Skeptical About the Power of Prayer

Telling someone they should just pray more to solve myriad problems doesn’t always work, but that’s not to say I disbelieve in the power of prayer.

I do believe in the power of prayer. I do believe that prayer can make a great difference in one’s life and praying for others can make a difference in their lives and yours.

But I also believe that sometimes, prayer alone won’t accomplish what we want it to.

I’m not skeptical of the power of prayer.

A pastor friend of mine once revealed a potentially-serious medical diagnosis. I don’t recall now — it’s been several years — what the issue was exactly. I seem to remember that it had something to do with a mysterious spot on an x-ray or CT scan.

A group of us “prayed over” him, gathering in a circle around him and placing our hands on him and saying a prayer for good health and good results in a follow-up exam.

He described feeling a power surging through him. Some of us felt something as well; the closest I can come to describing it is some sort of very mild electric current.

None of us knew what it was, but we believe it was connected in some way to God.

If you don’t believe, I’ll never be able to convince you that it was a genuine feeling, and so there’s little point in trying. Suffice it to say that we know we felt something, whatever it was.

The following week, we were shocked to learn that the results of a follow-up exam revealed the spot had vanished.

Maybe there was a perfectly legitimate reason for the change. Maybe there was some sort of technical defect with the machinery. Maybe there was a misdiagnosis. Maybe the body healed itself in a manner that did not involve anything supernatural.


But those of us who were in that circle at that moment believe it was something more than that.

If you don’t believe, you won’t change my mind, either, so let’s not bother with that.

In any case. I do believe that prayer helped in some way. I don’t know what extent it helped and I probably never will.

I’m not skeptical of the power of prayer.

But every time there’s some tragedy somewhere, I see the same people — folks I know and politicians alike — offering up “thoughts and prayers.” 

And then we wait until the next tragedy happens for another round of more of the same.

If the people who are so quick to offer up thoughts and prayers prayed a bit more often, would that alone prevent more tragedies?

Maybe. Maybe not.

I’m not skeptical of the power of prayer.

But I’m also convinced that prayer alone doesn’t solve every problem.

Someone close to me is going through a difficult time because of a pending medical diagnosis.

It’s entirely possible that there’s absolutely nothing wrong. Unlike the case of the pastor I mentioned a moment ago, there has been no potentially-serious diagnosis. No bigger tests are pending.

There’s every reason to believe that this person may get news from the doctor that anyone would consider great news.

But they’re unable to sleep because of the fear of what might come. They’re suffering anxiety because of the unknown.

And, for what it’s worth, they’re at least as much a believer, if not more so, than I am and have been for longer than I have.

If anyone should be able to rationalize the fear and recognize undue worrying, this person should.

If anybody should be able to pray their own way out of it, this person should.

And even when I’ve prayed, and when others have prayed, on the person’s behalf the fear doesn’t seem to subside.

At least, as of yet, it hasn’t.

I’m not skeptical of the power of prayer.

But I think God doesn’t expect us to rely solely on prayer to get by, particularly during those rough times.

I think there are other ways we can help ourselves and each other:

Words of encouragement.
Acts of kindness.
Gestures of friendship.
Moments of fellowship.

Prayer can help. But I think there are times when God intends for us to do more than just praying.

And to rely on more as well.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.