Thursday, October 4, 2012

When an answer to prayer is not actually a prayer answered.

Morningside Baptist Church (now renamed "Central - Jesus at the Heart") are reporting an answer to prayer on their web site here.

The story begins with the church meeting on the evening of Sunday 24th September. I will  let them take up the story from there:

During the final stages of the evening, we prayed as a group for the issue of drugs in Edinburgh. This was a specific time of contending for change for a specific issue. Before we started to pray, a testimony was shared about a group of Californian intercessors who prayed for the same problem in their region and how they had seen their prayers answered though a report in the newspaper.
Sitting in small groups, we each simply asked God to bring about a shift – in effect, that God would bring justice to this issue (Luke 18). Today (Monday 25th) we prayed for this issue again during a leadership meeting in the church. At 12:48pm (during the end of this meeting), a report on BBC news Scotland was published that the police had seized a £30,000 cannabis haul in Leith.

The report can be found here on the BBC web site.

There are two issues I have with this story. Firstly, they did not pray for any specific outcome so attributing an outcome to being the result of prayer is tenuous, particularly in a city where there are drug incidents involving the police at least once a week. There simply isn't a logical connection between the two. Trying to attribute cause and effect is not unlike cold reading and its quite unbecoming of Christians. Who are they trying to kid? Secondly, the raid in which the cannabis was seized took place earlier on the Sunday, before any of the prayers were made. The investigative work which led to it would have been ongoing for some time.

I think whats happened here is a case of people wanting to bolster their faith by seeing a pattern of cause and effect that is not there. Its not the first time I have seen it either. I knew of someone who had found a lump in her breast and was referred for tests by her doctor. Her church prayed. The tests results were that it was a non malignant growth. The church declared it as a healing miracle. Other more skeptical observers might take the view that she never had cancer in the first place.

There is still drug addiction in Leith.