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How do prayers work?

This painting is called "The Fall of Kabul" and it is my response to the events in Afghanistan

I shared my prayer for Afghanistan in the "Phone Credit for Refugees" Facebook group. Check it out if you'd like to help refugees in camps around the world contact their families.

Amongst the positive comments and Amens from people across the faith spectrums there was one question.....

"How do prayers work? I know that sounds facetious but I’m genuine. I see it helps the person praying but how does it help others?"

I commented without really thinking my answer through very much. But several hours later, and with a positive response from the person who asked, I've decided I want to remember what I said.

Now that's a very big theological question which I won't even try to answer, but I'll share my experience.

As you say, praying helps me feel like I'm doing something and reminds me that I need to take action.

Praying publically like this also raises awareness of issues I'm praying about and I never know who might respond through action.

Praying like this is also a comfort to those who are suffering, knowing that they're not alone.

I also believe that God hears my prayers and acts, not necessarily in ways I might be able to understand or notice, but in ways which matter.

So, for example, I became a blind wheelchair user 7 years ago; I prayed for healing, others prayed for healing, I received healing yet I'm still a blind wheelchair user. The healing I received was a healing of the grief and anger I felt at becoming disabled; I was able to adjust and adapt much quicker than rehab specialists ever expected and I know that to be an answer to prayer.

I'd love to know what you think and how you'd answer the question.... How do prayers work?

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