Friday, 12 August 2011

What are we doing when we pray?

THE nature of prayer was the subject of a fascinating conversation at the Festival of Spirituality and Peace in Scotland's capital earlier today. 

For many people prayer is effective in transforming people and attitudes, bringing us closer to God, to each other and to the loving purpose at the heart of the world. Other see it as contributing to the altering of events and outcomes through invoking divine action, while yet others think that the difference God makes is not best accounted for by 'interventionism'. There are as many views of prayer as there are people praying.

So when we pray for someone  - what are our expectations?  When people say ‘their prayers have been answered’ - what has happened? Is there any scientific evidence that 'prayer works' in some directly functional sense?   Is something that can be 'measured' going on, and in what sense is God involved?

Today, Jenny Williams and Anne Douglas of the Christian Fellowship of Healing discussed research into prayer, including projects they are currently running, in conversation with Jim Pym of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers (whose publication What Kind of God, What Kind of Healing? is now available).

The Christian Fellowship of Healing (Scotland) is an interdenominational organisation, "bound together by our commitment to offer a ministry of listening and healing prayer." It declares: "We are ordinary people and we believe that it is ordinary people Christ calls to be his instruments. We welcome people from all faiths or none to join us in our regular programme."

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