After survey results claiming “four out of five British adults believe in the power of prayer” were published on the Huffington Post UK website, Martin Robbins did some digging. he discovered the survey was conducted by – surprise, surprise – the Church of England.
Turns out the ‘survey’ didn’t even ask what the headline was claiming – it didn’t ask if the respondent believes in prayer. Instead, it simply asks “if you were to pray for something at the moment, what would it be for?” (Emphasis mine!)
And as Martin writes, the results themselves speak volumes about the power of prayer:
31% of respondents said that they would pray for peace in the world. Given the noticeable absence of world peace, there are only a few ways this plays out. Either nobody has gotten around to praying yet, in which case people are callous bastards; or God has ignored them all, in which case God is a callous bastard; or prayer doesn’t work, in which case the Christian movement is the equivalent of a town full of people still trying to call the number of their local Papa Johns two thousand years after it closed down and the phone was disconnected, speaking at the error tone even though nobody has picked up, then spotting a pizza in the supermarket two days later and insisting that it must have arrived by the grace of Papa Johns.
The brilliantly written piece is riddled with similarly quotable gems, but rather than regurgitate them all here I’ll link you to the full article.