Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger
We recall with considerable mirth the recent unsuccessful prediction of The Rapture and subsequent world annihilation by Family Radio Worldwide leader Harold Camping who said he made the discovery after much study, reflection, and prayer. Sadly, Mr. Camping suffered a stroke after seeing the fall of his Rapture prediction on May 21, 2011, and after spending an estimated $100 million dollars over seven years to “educate” the public on his prediction. Not to be outdone, the revised prediction is now set for October 21, 2011. It got me thinking about the success rates of some other famous prayerful requests and predictions:
2003 – In a study by cardiologists at Duke Medical Center, results showed that extensive prayer had no measurable effect on patient outcomes. “Over three years, 750 patients awaiting angioplasty, a procedure to clear obstructions from their arteries, were recruited for the experiment. Names selected at random by a computer were sent to the 12 prayer groups, who began praying immediately for their recovery. Neither the hospital staff nor the patients and their relatives knew who was being prayed for. The prayer groups included American Christian mothers, nuns in a Carmelite convent in Baltimore, Sufi Muslims, Buddhist monks in Nepal and English doctors and medical students in Manchester. Prayers were even e-mailed to Jerusalem and placed in the Wailing Wall. An analysis of the results found that there were no significant differences in the recovery and health of the patients who were prayed for and those who were not.”
2007 — Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue takes to the podium on the lawn in front of the Georgia Statehouse to publicly pray for rain for the drought striken bible-belt state. Two days later drizzling rain comes to parts of Georgia but the National Weather Service figures show it didn’t put a dent in the overall water deficit. Atlanta saw less than one inch of rain for the month. Georgia averages between 45 and 75 inches of rain annually with a 30 year average of 50 inches, however since the public prayer service, the State has received the following annual rainfalls:
2007 31.85 inches
2008 41.43 inches
2009 69.43 inches
2010 48.15 inches
2011 21.93 inches (through May)
According to the Atlanta Journal & Constitution,the Georgia continues in drought conditions this summer.
2011 — In April, Texas Governor Rick Perry asks residents to pray for rain to end a historic drought and slow down the spread of raging wildfires. In May, which usually receives about 5 inches of rainfall, 29.9 mm (1.18 inches) of precipitation was recorded by Weatherzone.com. In the hardest hit areas, less than half an inch of rain fell during May. In June, Weatherzone.com reports that 14.6 mm (.575 inches) fell but most areas in Texas have received less than 0.1 inches of rain. http://www.srcc.lsu.edu/maps/current/index.php?action=update_region®ion=SRCC. The average monthly rainfall in June is about 3 inches. Since the prayer proclamation, the drought in Texas has worsened and the affected areas have more than tripled. http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/12_week.gif The drought is now classified as “exceptional” in some areas.
I am sure there are examples which suggest that prayer really does have some effect on earthly events or that we simply haven’t waited long enough to know. But, as the above very public requests and predictions show, unanswered prayer is still in the divine lexicon.
~Submitted by Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger