The numbers game - Hope 103.2

The numbers game

By David ReayThursday 26 Jun 2014LifeWords DevotionalsCultureReading Time: 0 minutes


Read 2 Corinthians 1:10-12

10 He who rescued us from so deadly a peril will continue to rescue us; on him we have set our hope that he will rescue us again,11 as you also join in helping us by your prayers,so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (NRSV)

We sometimes hear that some blessing of healing or encouragement or salvation has come on a person because so many others were praying for them. This,however,raises serious questions about prayer and faith and God. Will God favourably respond if 20 pray whereas the blessing gets withheld if only 19 pray? Does this sort of mathematics favour those who have lots of praying friends and disadvantage those who have few?

Despite the attractive-sounding declaration that sheer force of numbers has swayed God,it is a false trail. One person’s prayer can work wonders. And,sad to say,the earnest prayers of numerous believers towards the one goal may not achieve the asked-for goal.

God doesn’t play those numbers games. And yet there is everything right in summonsing others to pray. Paul was doubtlessly blessed by such prayers. These prayers do have an effect. But the effect cannot be reduced to simple numbers of those praying. And so often the effect is on those being prayed for.

I dare not assume I will get what I ask for because lots of Christians are praying for me. But I can derive great comfort from being aware of such prayers. They help me,they help others identify themselves as part of a wider body. When it comes to praying for one another,the more the merrier. Not so as to impress God,but so as to remind us all we are connected as human beings and utterly dependent on the help of God.

David Reay