Does prayer change things?

Abstract
The belief that God responds to prayer is widespread. According to a recent Newsweek survey 87% of Americans said that they believe that God answers prayers. In fact, they believe so heartily in the efficacy of prayer that nearly one third of those polled said that they prayed to God more than once a day. What is even more interesting about this belief among ordinary Americans is that it has been denied by so many theologians. One might think such denials would be found only among contemporary liberal theologians who deny that miracles are possible or that God would deign to interfere in human affairs. But in fact, such denials can be found in the writings of the founding fathers of many religious traditions. Of course, these theologians do not thereby deny that prayer is important or meaningful. Instead, the argue that it is meaningful because it brings about certain internal, psychological benefits for the petitioner.
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