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Let's assume both a non-believer and a Christian has a fever. The Christian prays to God for healing of his fever. The non-believer doesn't do anything. 1 week later both recover from their fever.

What is the purpose of praying to God, in these kind of circumstances? Did God heal the Christian's fever? If yes, what is the difference compared with the non-believer, who also recovered? Or did both the Christian and non-believer recover by natural means (body recovering on it's own). Is there a need to pray about these things?

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closed as off-topic by curiousdannii, bruised reed, Mr. Beatitude, fredsbend, DJClayworth May 27 at 16:23

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There is a similar, possibly duplicate question. –  Pavel Dec 2 '12 at 21:33
    
The similar question is about the broader purpose of prayer and how it affects God's plan. This question is about the purpose of praying for recovery from illness. –  Dick Harfield May 23 at 1:36

2 Answers 2

The Christian may believe that his or her prayers led to the rapid recovery, leading in turn to the positive outcome of affirmation of faith. Beyond this, it is very possible that prayer never results in better outcomes than the absence of prayer. The John Templeton Foundation helped establish this in 2005, when it set out to prove whether intercessory prayer can be helpful in recovery from major surgery.

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Only your first sentence is focused on answering this question. The rest is you shoe-horning information that you want to diseminate in a place where it doesn't actually belong. If you want to put this information somewhere on this site, then you should either find a more appropriate question or ask and answer your own question. –  bruised reed May 23 at 1:56
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The same comment applies to this answer as well - in both cases you are not doing a good job of answering the question actually asked. Your agenda to inform people about the Templeton study dwarfs any actual on-topic part of your answers. You could quite easily construct a Q & A that is focused on the study itself rather than treat existing questions this way. –  bruised reed May 23 at 2:07
    
@bruisedreed The question asked why the non-believer and the person who prayed for relief both had the same outcome. I posted my information about the study because the study appeared to answer that, and the fuller explanation demonstrated the scientific basis. I continue to believe it to be relevant to the body of the question. Nevertheless, in response to your concerns I have removed the explanation and left only the summary paragraph. –  Dick Harfield May 23 at 2:25

When the believer in your example prays, he (or she) is acknowledging his weakness and inability before God, and calling out to God for help. In so doing he is drawn closer into relationship with God. Praying in this circumstance provides practice of thinking about God in the right way, which can a have a lasting effect on the state of mind the one who prays. This can occur before any result of the prayer becomes apparent.

Beyond this, God can and does answer prayer, and when he does it reveals his good nature and strengthens the faith of the one who prayed. To refuse to pray in this circumstance is to shut God out, and to reject relationship with him. As in your example, not praying does not mean that the person will not get better, but it is harmful to the one who does not pray.

Many Christians will be able to give you examples of answered prayers, and many base their faith, in part, in this experience of the action of God.

Of course prayer does not work like commanding an genie in a bottle, but that is not neccessary for prayer to fulfil its purpose.

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