I grew up in an evangelical Christian home. I prayed to Jesus at age nine to forgive me of all my sins and to be my Lord and Savior. I was told that as a child of God, a Christian, God would speak to me “in my heart” with a still, small voice and that he would “move” me and “lead” me to do his will. All I had to do was to pray to him and to seek righteousness.
I never heard God once. I never felt “moved”. I never felt “led”. I felt and heard nothing.
However, all the evangelical Christians around me were hearing God and feeling God all the time! What was up? What was I (it had to be my fault, after all) doing wrong??
So I prayed harder. I repented of my sins harder. I repented of sins I wasn’t even aware of just to be sure. But nothing.
In my teens, I came to a point in my life where I seriously questioned if I was a Christian. I must not be if God is not speaking to me. So I prayed to Jesus again: “Lord, PLEASE save me. PLEASE be my Lord and Savior. I commit my life; everything I am and have to you. PLEASE speak to me.”
In my mid-twenties, I finally decided that either there was some sin that I was harboring in my heart (about which I was completely unaware), or, God just didn’t want me. So I left the Church.
Now that I am older, I have had time to look at the evidence, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it was never me…it was always God. Here is the evidence I found:
Disease and Illness: Christians have the same rates of disease and illness as non-Christians. Jesus doesn’t seem to answer prayers for healing. The percentage of non-Christians, including atheists, who recover from illness is the same as that of Christians. Christians who claim that they were healed due to prayer cannot prove that their healing was not due to some other factor, such as the medication that their doctor was giving them or pure coincidence. If Jesus really heals people due to prayer, Christians should have a much higher healing rate. They don’t.
Accident rates: Christians have just as many accidents as non-Christians. There is no evidence that Jesus provides any better protection for Christians behind the wheel than non-Christians, including atheists. So asking Jesus to keep you and your family safe on your road trip doesn’t seem to be of any benefit.
Job promotion: Is there any evidence that Christians are promoted in their jobs more often than non-Christians? I doubt it. Praying to Jesus to give you that promotion or that raise that your family really and truly needs doesn’t seem to work.
Food poisoning: Most Christians pray before every meal for God to bless their food. However, no study I am aware of indicates that Christians have fewer incidences of food poisoning or that Christians are healthier than non-Christians. Jesus doesn’t seem to respond to prayers for “blessing” food.
Child Safety: This is a big one for most Christian parents. We pray to Jesus to keep our children safe. Studies, however, demonstrate that the rate of accidents, injuries, disease, and death among the children of Christians is no different than the rates for the children of non-Christians. Praying to Jesus to keep your children safe is not effective.
But wait a minute! Maybe it isn’t Jesus will that Christians have lower accident rates, lower death rates, higher job promotion rates, lower food poisoning rates, or higher child safety rates! Well, that might be true. But you have to wonder, why do Christians bother praying for these things if God isn’t going to answer these prayers at a rate any higher than pure chance??
But here is the nail in the coffin for the question of whether or not prayer works: Every evangelical Christian I know believes that God has a life-mate chosen for him or her, and that if each individual (true) Christian will sincerely pray to God and sincerely seek righteousness in his or her life, God will bring that special “one” to them. But here’s the problem: Christians, and even evangelical Christians, have the same divorce rate as non-Christians!! Jesus just doesn’t seem interested in answering prayers regarding choosing a life mate!
How could it be Jesus’ will for Christians to marry the wrong person, when they had so sincerely prayed to God to lead them to “the one“? Why didn’t Jesus lead them to someone whom they would never stop loving and never want to divorce? How could it be Jesus’ will for Christian children to live in broken homes, without both their father and their mother? Now maybe you will say that it is not God’s will for Christians to divorce; that God did lead them to “the one”; that they should just stick it out and make the marriage work. But are we really to believe that the high divorce rate among evangelical Christians, who are some of the most devout people you will ever meet, is because they didn’t sincerely pray to God to save their marriages?? Come on.
Prayer doesn’t work, folks. The evidence is overwhelming. All the Christians around you who tell you that God speaks to them, moves them, and leads them, are simply on an emotional rush…listening to the still, small voice of…themselves!