I want to discuss prayer in our Bible discussion today.  Love suggested Mathew 6:

Mathew 6: 5-8 (King James Version)

5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

 6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

 7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

 8Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

From 5 and 6 we can see that prayer should be a private conversation between you and your God.  I will guess that saying the words our loud is not necessary, you should speak from/with your heart. 

My perception is that when people pray together this is more of an act of coming together to worship God.

Question– Does it make any difference if one person, or 1,000 people, prayed for God’s intervention.  Is God more likely to grant a request if more people ask him to.  I am thinking of the the thousands of Christian’s who are praying for Kate McRae.

Kate McRae is a 5 year old girl who was taken into the hospital Monday for a tremor in her right hand, and then had brain surgery to remove an aggressive, high grade, tumor.

I see on the Caring Bridge site over 236,000 people have visited her page, http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/mcraekate/mystory.  I will guess at least this many people are praying for her and her family.  I certainly join them in wishing, hoping, for the best for her and her family.

There are, sadly, many other young children stricken before that get a chance to experience life.  I wish them all well.  I can see that Kate’s struggle can help unite people, bring people together for a worthy cause.  However, should there be any any expectation that God would intervene to save her, as opposed to any other child with a life threatening illness?

In this case to me, as non-believer, the act of praying for Kate, gives comfort to her and her family, and to all those praying for them.  I doesn’t follow that God would intervene for her because so many are asking him to.  I would think God’s judgement towards her would be based on the depth of her devotion to him, even if she is only five. 

In 7 we see that there is no magic incantation, repetition of words, that will result in God’s answering your prayers.

Where people do repeat the same prayer, word for word, I will guess this is more to put them into a state of grace(?), to help them to focus on their devotion, their connection, to God.

In 8 we read that God will know what you desire.  It is the depth of your devotion/love(?) that your feelings convey that count.

I can think of three reasons people pray to God. 

1)The most important would be to strengthen your connection to God.  You pray for understanding.  With each prayer you are perhaps learning how to better speak through you heart, and though the Holy Spirit within you, to God.

2)You pray to God in worship of him.  You become more humble before him.  You aren’t asking for anything.  You are not expecting to receive anything.  I see this type(?) of prayer as solely an act of love.

3) You are asking God to intervene for something, either for yourself, or someone else.

I can see many examples in the Bible of people reaching out to God because they are troubled.  They are in pain and seek his divine intervention.  I can read examples in the Bible were it says God did answer some of these prayers, perhaps smiting the enemy of the faithful.  God will know, and judge, the degree of devotion you have for him when you pray for help.

Crying out when you are in need I can certainly understand.  However do you turn to God when you are healthy?  When you life is good?  Prayers of thanksgiving are to me a more meaningful example of a person’s devotion.