Letter writer Jeff Miller (“Prayer still doesn’t work,” Dec. 11) seems intent on insulting, offending and antagonizing those he is trying to influence by unequivocally stating that prayer doesn’t work and mocking those who believe it does.
Such an approach simply won’t convince people to change their ways.
At best, people will simply ignore him, and at worst he may actually influence some to do the exact opposite of what he recommends.
Many people believe in the power of prayer to change things for the better. While I do not claim to be an expert, I have seen how prayer can affect the lives both of those who do the praying and those who are the recipients of prayer.
It does, however, seem to me that for prayer to “work” as Mr. Miller would appear to intend, three things would have to occur in sequence:
1) the pray-er would have to ask God to change the minds of numerous elected officials in Washington;
2) God would have to grant the prayer (of which there is no guarantee, depending upon the exact wording and intent of the pray-er);
3) the elected official or officials in Washington would have to not only hear God’s exhortations, but would also have to listen to and act upon them.
This last is the most contentious and least likely to occur because, as far as I am aware, God never forces anyone to do anything – even though He certainly could.
He granted us all free will so we could decide for ourselves whether to believe in Him, whether listen to Him, and whether (and how) to follow his commandments.
As a result, it is entirely conceivable that our senators and congressmen in Washington truly believe they are following God’s commandments even when they’re not doing what we would like them to do.
So, while prayer does have the power to change how Washington spends money, there is no guarantee of the outcome.
Mr. Miller’s argument against Washington’s spendthrift ways is right on target and his exhortation that we need to do something to stop it is correct. Despite this, his message is lost amid the condescending, patronizing manner in which he speaks to his intended audience.
He is going to have a difficult time convincing those who believe in the power of prayer to take action by insulting and antagonizing them.