How Does Prayer Work?

Prayer is a big part of the Christian tradition. But what exactly does prayer do? I often feel we aren’t given specifics of what a Christian is trying to achieve with a prayer.

Recent terrorist attacks have seen hashtags pop up suggesting we #PrayForParis or #PrayForLondon. What are these trying to do? Are they asking that God intercede in someway? Changing the minds of the terrorists? Consoling the families of the deceased? Preventing future attacks?

The main reason given for prayer is normally to achieve something – it’s those cases I’m focussing on. Is the prayer supposed to influence God in some way? Get him to do something that otherwise he wouldn’t have done?

As many have pointed out, prayers can often feel fairly hollow. Using a #PrayForLondon hashtag feels like someone is achieving something, perhaps getting God on side, but not actually involving any action. I’d like to know whether prayer actually acheives anything supernatural?

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