I think I’ve figured it out! The Bible itself makes clear why prayer doesn’t work, and the clues are all from within the same gospel, Matthew.
I’ve heard stories of people in fast food restaurants who aren’t content to simply pray to themselves but stand and pray aloud for everyone’s benefit. Jesus isn’t keen on these pretentious people.
When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matt. 6:5–6)
But later in the same book, Jesus says something different.
If two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. (Matt. 18:19–20)
There’s the problem—prayer requires both a gathering and being by yourself.
No wonder it never works!
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