Exploring the Mysteries of Prayer
Rev. D. Johns

1. Is there strength in numbers? Why is it good to gather with other believers to pray? Are longer prayer meetings more effective than shorter ones? Sometimes we are tempted to discuss the mysteries of prayer with more energy than is expended entering into prayer itself.

Philip Yancey, Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? Zondervan 2006
He relates an account reported by historian Paul Johnson. In 1493 students at the University of Louvain debated these topics: do four five-minute prayers on consecutive days stand a better chance of being answered than one twenty-minute prayer? Is a prayer of ten minutes, said on behalf of ten people, as efficacious as ten one-minute prayers? The debate lasted eight weeks, longer than it had taken Columbus to sail to America the previous year.

Yancey is not willing to ‘buy-in’ to the thinking that prayer operates according to a mathematical formula in which God calculates the total amount of prayer-pressure being applied. But he does acknowledge anecdotal/historical evidence for mass prayer meeting success. Yancey notes Biblical accounts of group prayer being called for and celebrated.

So, whether you stay home tonight and pray from there, or choose to gather with other followers of Jesus at church tonight – I will not judge. Yes, it is a mystery. Perhaps life in the Kingdom of God is about doing both.


About dougjohns

Doug Johns retired from ministry in Canada to devote more time to international work. Right now he pastors part time at the International Baptist Church in Bielefeld, Germany. He is a graduate of York Univ. (B.A.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Doug is married to Yvonne and they have four grown children plus eight grandchildren. Doug has had significant experience as a Presbyterian Minister in Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and New Brunswick. He has served as Associate Pastor at West Congregational in Haverhill, Massachusetts; Doug is committed to international ministry in Romania; and he has taken leadership in Christian Camping as Executive Director of Camp Fireside, NH; Glen Mhor Presbyterian Camp, Ontario; Timberline Ranch, BC. .... avid baseball fan of the Toronto Blue Jays ... Managed American Legion Baseball Team out of Creston BC in North Idaho League. Doug is a serious runner with many international half-marathons completed over the last 6 years.
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