Dr. John Cobb offers amazing insight into just about every theological areana. Here he is on prayer:
“Jesus calls on us to give water to the thirsty. If a man asks for water that you could provide, and instead of giving it you pray for him, this prayer is not an expression of Christian piety. If instead of visiting a sick woman in the hospital, you pray for her at home, there is nothing pious about that prayer. To withhold needed medical care and substitute prayer is not a Christian act. We are called by Jesus primarily to serve our neighbors in whatever ways we can. Intercessory prayer can be one form of service. But it is not a substitute for more obviously effective forms. We properly pray for people in order to supplement other forms of service or when we have no other way to help them.The primary reason for engaging in prayer, even intercessory prayer, is to bring our own purposes in line with those of God. If God uses that new alignment to benefit the one for whom we pray as well as ourselves, that is a wonderful bonus.”
Check out the Homebrewed Christianity podcast with Dr. Cobb here.