Blooming Prayers Saved My Life

I pit this bit of nonsense for a news story:

For the following reasons;

  • It reads like glurge. Expect an unwelcome copy in your email any day soon.

  • The whole ‘prayer made a difference’ philosophy. So God doesn’t care if you die, unless you’ve got lots of good friends to put in a word? God’s intervention is a popularity poll. Tough on the alone and unloved.

  • I think expert medical care “made the difference”.

  • What is with the "blooming"s? I guarantee that no such expression passed the lips of a 19 year old Londoner, and hasn’t done so since Dick Van Dyke was a chimney-sweep’s lad. Especially a 19 year old who’s feels moved to testify from her sick bid that she “loves the USA”. sniff

  • I therefore conclude that a fair percentage of the quotes, and no doubt the facts, has gone though a bit of a creative ‘pep-up’. To be blunt; it’s 50% fabrication.

Sorry, a bit weak for a rant.

You’re right, that is pretty weak.

So what if a few people believe prayer helped her? Why do you have to go shit on their parade? And this…

…is completely uncalled for.

I agree that nobody here says ‘Blooming’ anymore (just possibly about roses).
And if God cared (or even existed), why did he let the accident happen, tying up valuable medical resources?
Of course if you pray for someone and nothing happens , then you publicise that too. Oh - you don’t? So it’s just selective evidence, i.e. rubbish.

More on the ‘power’ of prayer:

‘Dr. Bruce Flamm, a clinical professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the University of California, beginning in 2001, published critiques of the study, which purportedly demonstrated that prayer could help infertile women to conceive. In The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, and in the current issue of Skeptic magazine, Flamm exposed the farce…’

And a further example:

‘An additional hoot, is that he has a “prayer wheel computer program” that allows your computer to pray for sundry things…’

That should save believers time. :rolleyes:

I think this is serious.
Presumably the only point of the story is that there is power in prayer and that the victim might not have survived without prayer.

What if this leads to prayer being substituted for medical treament?
There are plenty of pseudoscientific treatments already being sold and used - why add to incredulity?

Do you think it matters it matter which God you pray to?
Do you approve of religion claiming selective successes?

I’m not on their parade, I’m not even near it. It sounds like their parade is going just fine.

It was a question about a reasonable conclusion.

It all doesn’t make sense. Christian theology would have us believe that God sees all, knows all, and hears all. So if only one person prayed for this teenager then surely that should be enough. If God is minded to, then she’s saved. What difference does an international prayer ring make?

Can we assume that people think that God is swayed by the quanity of prayer? Is God impressed by sheer weight of numbers? Quantity of prayer depends on how many people bother to get involved in your favour. So is it that prayer, and therefore God, works in your favour depending on how popular you and your cause is with others? A case of God helps those who already have plenty. Is this not at odds with Christian thinking that encourages people to see God as friend of the friendless?

While I’m here, let’s make some sense out of the above excuse for a sentence.

“Especially a 19 year old who feels moved to testify from her sick bed that she “loves the USA”.”

If god is omnipotent, omnipresent…blah blah blah, then one person praying is one too many. The god should already know about the sick person.

Let me know when the Christian Scientists take over this country and ban all medical treatment. Until then, I’ll worry about more pressing matters.

He shit on their parade? He contacted each of them individually and told them their belief that prayer helped was nonsense? Huh. I don’t know how an anonymous post they’re probably not going to read is going affect their feelings on this one way or the other.

And hey, the story in the article proposed that this young lady was prayed for, and miraculously recovered where others in her situation hadn’t. The title of the article is “Responding to Prayers.” If the author and participants are implying that “she lived because people prayed for her” which seems to be the case (and God’s intervention, while not stated directly, is implied to be involved; otherwise, why invoke the word “miraculous” or include the quote about “I’m no theologian, but…”), it’s fair to ask “what would have happened if nobody’d prayed for her?” If you remove the “cause” of her survival, would she have lived?

Point of order: There is no indication in the cited story as to the religion of the police officer (or his friends). For all we can tell from this story, they could have been praying to Satan. Or Homer Simpson.

Now that would make the evening news.

Yeah, yeah, I know, Occam’s razor and all that, but still. “Mmmm… prayers!”

I think Christianity is too diverse a religion to make that broad a statement.

There are plenty of people who identify as Christian (myself included) that don’t believe prayer works like at all. If you view prayer as an expression of longing–and prayer with a group of other people has an expression of corporate longing–rather then has some kind of supernatural invocation, it makes a lot more sense. The people who participated in the prayer ring didn’t have the power to change her situation, so as one they expressed their desire for her well being. An expression of love towards another human being shouldn’t be derided. The doctors were doing their job; the people who prayed for her had no motivation other then compassion. If I were in her shoes, I’d feel better knowing that people cared…

Aside from comforting the family, nothing that I will be able to convince you of.

Huh. So is blasphemy a good substitute for a condom?

Already: Nah. I’m sure plenty of people said “God dammit!” after the condom broke, and ended up pregnant anyway.

Indeed. But the suggestion is not that “it was good knowing people cared”, or “it made us feel better”. It’s that the prayers may the difference in saving her life, while others in the same situation have died.

And while I don’t doubt people’s desire that a 19 year old shouldn’t die in a tragic and pointless accident, I have to wonder just how much ‘longing’ you can sincerely express about an accident you know very little about, of the kind that happens the world over every day, to someone you don’t know, that you heard about via a friend of a friend. The is a very strong implication here that you don’t really have to know or care very much for the prayer to be effective. Just saying the words, like some meaningless incantation, is what is required. This is indeed prayer measured by quantity, not quality.

Anyhow, the main target of my derision is not the teenager, not those that prayed (misguided though they may be) but the hack that wrote this sickly splat of heavily embroidered supposed news and the paper that published it…

Er, knowing that your life mattered to a lot of people could very well have helped recovery. And not even the author of the article seems to think she was saved by prayer alone:

So, she wanted to thank the man who drummed up support for her (and investigated the accident that caused her injury), and the doctors and nurses. Seems pretty reasonable to me. The author does end with:

This is the officer giving thanks that she lived, and also ackowledging that many other people don’t. Does he believe that the prayers made a genuine difference? Likely. But so what? He demonstrated compassion far beyond what his job required. I likely have very different theological beliefs then he does, but I’d still be moved by the gesture. Are his religious beliefs so offensive that the paper who printed this column deserves a pitting? Lots of papers (even very good ones) print fluff pieces.

Who are you to know how sincere the people who prayed for her were? People are funny–sometimes they pick a single tragedy to focus on, when a thousand others occurred the same day. Sometimes it doesn’t take very much information about an event to turn it from a statistic to something that feels more palpable.

What section of the paper was this published in? Most so-called “Newspapers” are chock full of fluff pieces. Hell, IIRC the LA Times even has a “Religion” section one day a week…

Lord Ashtar, I think you’ve seen me around long enough to know the depth and strength of my Christian faith, to know that it sustains me and is at least as essential to my life as breathing, if not more so. That said, would it surprise you to learn that I sometimes think the exact same thing? A few years ago, I was on a church retreat, and the speaker talked about getting sick during the (Episcopal) Diocesan Convention, and about how many devout, faithful people prayed for her, and about how it helped her. Now, I admit I’m contrary, but rather than uplifting me, that story annoyed me because it came across to me as bragging about how popular she was. I’ve felt alone and unloved, too unloved for people to pray for me. I know now even when things were at their worst people were praying for me, but, at the time, I believed if saving my life depended on how many people were praying for me, I was doomed.

On any given day, any number of kids die in auto accidents. One of the hardest questions of Christianity and other faiths is why do some die while others live. Does this particular 19 year old deserve to live while others die simply because a policeman got people to pray for her? If so, do you want to be the one who tells that to the parents of the other teenagers who die? I believe in the power of prayer. Twelve years ago this Saturday, I suffered a massive nervous breakdown which left me close to catatonic. I was trying like mad to die, and I was far beyond being able to pray or ask for prayers. It took time to get word to my church of what happened. My fiance was busy getting me adequate medical care before he called my church. I don’t remember much of that awful 48 hours; I do remember my roommate at the hospital praying for “the woman in the next bed.” She didn’t know my name; I couldn’t speak or respond much. Nevertheless, I believe God saved my life and performed a miracle which broke me out of it. I wasn’t saved because people in a cathedral were praying for me; I was saved because God showed me mercy, but that doesn’t account for why other people don’t recover. I can’t tell calm kiwi why God saved my life and not that of her husband, and I won’t insult her by telling her I do.

The God I worship is not on the side of the popular and isn’t running some sort of a tally sheet where He only saves people who have X number of prayers said for them. I don’t think He cares how many people are praying for someone. If He did, Christ would have spent a lot more time with the Pharisees and chief priests, and a lot less with the beggars and lepers, but that’s just my personal theology. Yes, I’ve got issues and knee-jerk responses regarding this whole issue. It comes of believing I was alone and unloved for far too many years. I’m working on it, but it’s why I also pray “for those whose names are known only to Thee.” My own beliefs make it difficult to pray solely for some one person I know or have been asked to pray for, even when that one person is someone I know and love dearly, because I cannot bring myself to say that they are better than someone with few or no people to pray for them. If something happened to me today, I know people on this board would pray for me. Five years ago, you didn’t know me. Was I less worthy of your prayers then?

I’ve no doubt some people will find this story incredibly uplifting and life affirming. I also suspect others may find it a slap in the face, perhaps people who’ve lost a 19 year old child or friend to a car accident. I have faith, not answers, and I can’t say why one lived and another died. I wish I could. I won’t denigrate the faith of those who find this story uplifting, although I realize there are some who’d say I already have. I’ll just say that, for me, I pray there is another way than a variation of “He who dies with the most prayers wins.”


I just wanted to clarify something, by the way. I don’t find the idea of praying for people or asking people to pray for someone offensive. What bothers me is when someone talks about how many people they’ve got praying for them or says a good thing happend or a bad thing was averted because they had so many people praying for them.


Lord Ashtar,

Christians interested in turning other people on to Christianity should pay attention. Because that comment was completely called for. That is how a lot of people who have been turned off of Christianity read this sort of article. This isn’t about the power of a good and loving God, this reads to someone already disenchanted by Christianity as another example of a God who is fickle, one that responds to quantity of prayer and lets people die because they don’t have strangers start prayer chains. If you are interested in spreading the Word, it would behoove you to listen when those comments are made here and make an effort to understand why so many people here are agnostic or atheistic and find the idea of God as illustrated by the article offensive.

Dangerosa, could you elaborate and tell me which of my comments was uncalled for?