It is a fact that half the people who pray will get their prayers answered to a greater or lesser degree. Similarly, around half the people who use visualization methods such as The Secret will also see improvements in their life. Superficially at least, it makes these practices quite attractive. But guess what, half the people who do absolutely nothing will also see improvements in their circumstances. It doesn’t require too much analysis to realize that in any group of people, half of them will see better circumstances, and half of them worse circumstances. For those who pray or visualize and who see an improvement in things, they will, of course, thank their God or their visualization practice. Such is our desire to have some control over our destiny, that we will interpret normal meaningless statistical behavior as significant.
I once knew a very devout Christian woman. She was in dire circumstances, having nowhere to live and no means of income. For a year she prayed every day for a job and somewhere to live. Nothing happened, until one day she was offered a job and eventually could afford to rent a flat. Many other people we knew also got jobs during that period, many of them much more quickly than this particular woman. However, being a devout Christian she believed that her prayers had been answered and that her success was nothing to do with her day in and day out efforts to find a job. She went through the hardship and worked hard to find a job, and then she thanked some fictitious entity when things eventually did turn out well for her. It is a kind of madness, and very disempowering.
Most people’s lives follow what is called the reversion to the mean. This means that their life will proceed in pretty much the same way most of the time, and when dips occur they will eventually come back to their normal state, and when peaks occur they eventually come back to their normal state. And so when someone loses a job, and they pray, and then they get another job, this is no different from reversion to the mean. The praying was totally unnecessary. Similarly when things go better than expected people may thank God. But things will go better than expected 50% of the time. There is no need to thank God. God did nothing. He or she or it is demonstrably not interested in human existence.
So the next time someone tells you about a person that prayed and got what they wanted, just remember that half the people on the planet, at any one time, are getting what they want, and possibly more. Things will go as they go, just sit back and enjoy the ride.