The following is a story I recently heard. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it illustrates a point about how Christians in general, and I in particularly, misunderstand prayer and have a weak view and practice of prayer.
A bar was built next door to a church. It wasn’t a nice comfortable pub, but a rowdy place often with massive parties late into the night, drunken brawls which spilled out onto church grounds and morning trash which also littered the church’s property. Legally there was nothing the church could do and the bar owner was hostile to every attempt to reason with him, declaring himself to be an atheist and the church a pack of deluded fools. The pastor called the church to pray for God’s intervention. The church did. Daily, weekly, monthly, in public and in private the church prayed that God would “do something” to solve this problem. After a time a tornado hit the town. It so happened that the bar was completely destroyed while the church was left without significant damage. The bar owner filed a lawsuit against the church. The church said, “We didn’t do anything, we’re innocent.” The judge commented, “This is a strange case. I have before me an atheist who apparently believes in the power of prayer and a church which does not.”