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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8

The Efficacy of Prayer

The Efficacy of Prayer.

Sir,—Many, no doubt, have been induced by your Periodical to adopt more rational views of religion, and to no longer place implicit and blind faith in the Bible as a Revelation from God, without reading books on both sides of the question.

But, Sir, although the Free Religious Press is so zealous in exposing what may be error, it does nothing (in my opinion) to put us out of the distress of mind it is calculated in some cases to produce. If the only result from reading it is to unsettle one's mind and cause doubt of one's religion, it clearly does harm.

To one truly in earnest in a matter of this kind, the desire for help from God immediately suggests itself. The spontaneous prayer of his soul is to Him for assistance in obtaining truth whatever truth may be. He prays with his whole soul, but doubt enters even here; for although he may know from personal experience that prayer has an effect in enabling him to resist sin in its many forms, yet uncertainty seizes upon him as to whether God will, in direct answer to his prayer, render the much-needed help, or whether prayer only operates by introducing proper thoughts, affections and actions. An article in your Paper on "The Efficacy of Prayer" would, I think, be highly acceptable to many others as well as to

A Reader of "More Light."

[Our Correspondent does not quite see that the mental distress of which he speaks, or the pain, in other words, which the mind feels when surrendering its hold upon venerated convictions without as yet seeing how they are to be replaced, is an essential characteristic of all genuine doubt. We page 182 counsel him to put implicit and unswerving trust in Reason and Conscience, and to shake off his misgivings as to whither they will lead him. The primary work of the Free Religious Press is not to unsettle the religious faith of its readers, but to fix and strengthen it. With regard to "Prayer, its nature, and principle of operation," it is more than likely that an article on this subject will appear in the Press at an early date.—Ed. A.F.R.P.]