The Physical Value Of Prayer -- By: J. E. Wells
BSac 32:125 (Jan 1875) p. 62
The Physical Value Of Prayer
Has Prayer a positive physical value? Is it really able under all, or any, circumstances, to invoke effectually a “Power which checks and augments the descent of rain; which changes the force and direction of winds; which affects the growth of corn, and the health of men and cattle?”1 Is the frail child of earth able thereby to “move the hand that moves the world?” or is he, indeed, notwithstanding all his boasted powers of thought and will, but the creature and the sport of blind, inflexible forces, either self-originated or long since utterly divorced from all control of the Great Intelligence, which, in the mysterious and chaotic foretime of the universe, set them in operation? What other question so momentous, so vitally related to its highest interests, saving alone the one great question of its own immortality, can a human mind propose to itself for solution? Can it be possible that, after the
BSac 32:125 (Jan 1875) p. 63
lapse of so many centuries, during which generation after generation has lived and acted and suffered, such a problem remains still unsolved? If so, the wonder surely is not that it should become occasionally the subject of earnest discussion in scientific clubs and literary magazines, but rather that the plough is not left in the furrow, the coin on the counter, the chemicals in the crucible, in short, every lesser human pursuit abandoned, while thinking men of all classes concentrate their utmost energies upon this one all-absorbing subject of inquiry. The problem cannot surely be in its nature insoluble. If there is in the universe such an Almighty and universal Sovereign as the praying Christian invokes, and if in his government of this world so wide a sweep and so resistless a potency are allotted to believing prayer as the Christian’s Bible certainly claims for it, the facts must, from their very nature, be susceptible of proof, — not necessarily, perhaps, of such proof as would meet the comprehension of the careless, or compel the faith of the insincere inquirer; but proof ample to set at rest the doubts of every earnest seeker for truth. If to such a seeker, diligent, candid, and humble, such evidence is not forthcoming, it can only be because the thing to be proved has no existence in fact. If so divine a power exists within human reach, it can be shown to exist, inasmuch as men cannot wield it without both knowing that they do so, and affording to others the means of knowing it. It would seem almost superfluous to add that the evidence must, as a matter of course, be sought within the bounds of the true nature and lawful exercise of prayer. The application of this remark to some tests which have been seriously proposed will...
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