“We are all praying for you,” or “We’ll be praying for you. In the last two weeks I think at least 300 people have told me they are or will be praying for Sue (and me and the girls). Quite possibly the number who are praying is much higher. Some may be praying for Sue who haven’t even told her they would.
Let’s say 500 people join in prayer for Sue once a week on Sunday when the pastor makes them, and half that many (250) pray for her one additional time a week, and half that many (125) pray for her once a day, and half that many (75) pray for her twice a day. Now, assuming our assumptions and our math are correct, we have, for Sue alone, over 1,000 prayer petitions going up to God every week. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 11 million American people were living with cancer in 2005. Presumably the number is higher today. Presumably the number is much higher worldwide. But if just the 11 million in the U.S. have 1,000 prayer petitions offered for them weekly, then God receives 11 billion cancer prayer petitions per week for Americans only.
Now factor in world population and the myriad other reasons besides cancer that people might petition God – non-cancer illnesses and injuries, financial problems, marital problems, relationship problems, addictions etc. You can now imagine that God probably gets trillions of prayer petitions a day.
It would be easy to be cynical about God’s ability to hear and process and respond to each one of these trillions of prayers personally and compassionately. But I am not cynical about it because I have experienced God’s direct response to prayer. I don’t know how God does it, but I guess God is bigger than we think.
[Note: The reply comment by Jim is worth reading.]