Prayer and the Will of God
by: John Tyrrell
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Bruce Robinson's little note congratulating me on the longevity of this site caused me to revisit his ReligiousTolerance.org which has long been listed on our links page. While browsing the site, I found a little study conducted back in 1999-2000 that I was unaware of until now0 which was designed to determine if prayer was effective in determining the will of God.
Design of the study:
We published a notice on our web site encouraging visitors to take part in our study to assess the will of God. We E-mailed a form to each visitor to our web site who had asked to be included in the study. Subjects were thus self-selected. The form asked the recipient:
- Whether they were currently in favor of or opposed to same-sex marriages
- Some personal data -- their sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and which "wing" of that religion that they followed.
- To seek God's will for same-sex marriages through prayer.
- To continue praying until they received a response from God or felt that they could not assess the will of God.
- If they were successful in assessing God's position on SSM, then we asked:
- what God's will is, and
- how certain are they that they correctly assessed God's will.
Summary of the study:
- The most significant result, in the author's opinion, is that:
- Those who personally favored SSM found that God also favored it.
- Those who personally opposed SSM found that God also opposes it.
- God did not disagree with any of the participants' beliefs, even though they are in conflict.
- With few exceptions:
- Religious liberals favor SSM.
- Religious conservatives oppose SSM.
- With no exceptions:
- Heterosexual conservative Christians oppose SSM.
The main finding:
Although the sample size was small, one result was striking: Of the 68% of the participants who believed that they assessed the will of God, every person found that God agreed with their stance on SSM:
- All of those who are personally opposed to SSM reported that God agreed with them
- All of those favoring SSM also reported that God agreed with them.
- None found that God took a compromise position, saying that God supported or opposed SSM depending upon the specifics of each individual case.
Is anyone surprised? Everyone who determined the will of God through prayer found that God agreed with them.
While it is a small sample of self-selected participants, I think it is safe to say that determining the will of God through prayer is about as effective as praying to God to bring sight back to an empty eye socket.
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