I have heard it said that prayer moves mountains. Yet, I see no mountain displaced.
I know that it is a figure of speech but there is a reasonable approach into determining if prayer works or not.
If the world speaks then it asks for worldly things. And how are worldly things attained? By hard labor.
And if one says that God has given us this thing; but God only works in the holy spirit then God must meet that end--that everything is done in the holy spirit.
Can you truly say that God gives you something when you do not use it for the purpose of God, of which is the holy spirit?
Can you not recognize that the Martyrs recieved no deliverance, even through furtive prayer?
And what makes you better than a martyr that you would recieve such things?
If the spirit speaks then it asks for spiritual things. And how are spiritual things attained; especially, when the world ways you down? Through fire.
Simply, if I ask for something not of the flesh then how is it attained, if I do not understand what I seek? How can I possibly find? How can I possibly attain Virtue if I am not willing to become Virtue?
For all that is the gift of God, is through conflict: fire sword and war! From that which is tested in the fire, recieves the gift of God, in that Christ is lifted up.
And everything is the will of God? For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
Actually, the quote does not refer to prayer, but to faith.
But Jesus addressed the issue of worldly attainment quite well, when he said "Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven--all else will then be added unto thee."
In other words, when you work on your spiritual growth first and get in tune with the universe, material goods will come. (This flies in the face of the Puritan work ethic, of course. The Puritans, however, serve well as the poster children for those who have a great deal of religion but very little spirituality.)
This has happened to me hundreds of times over the years. That is, I make my best sales, get the best deals in stores, find the most valuable discards in the local dumpster--when I am in a spiritually elevated state.
Deepak Chopra deals with this issue at some length in Power, Freedom, and Grace, a book which I highly recommend. Neale Donald Walsch also has a lot to say about this in CWG (Converations With God), Part One.
If God can work through me, he can work through anyone. -- St. Francis of Assissi