"Well-informed people know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible to do so, the thing would be of no practical value." - Editorial in the Boston Post (1865)
Of course this was said about the telephone but one could apply this statement to prayer and how sometimes we wonder if it is doing any good at all.
Many years ago when attending Bible School we heard a story from a visiting speaker about his mother, who would pray in the evenings after dinner while washing dishes. He said it was the one time, in her big family, when she could guarantee some time alone. During her prayer time she found she often spoke the same word over and over as well as other words. She was speaking in tongues, a method of prayer spoken about in the New Testament, and she did not know what she was saying but asked God to show her someday what she was praying for.
A long time later she and her husband invited a visiting missionary to dinner and in the course of conversation she related this time of praying and repeating this same word many times. The missionary immediately said that he knew that word, because it was the name of a woman, who had become a Christian and because of that was dragged outside her village and stoned and left for dead. However she did not die, she got up and walked back into the village with no visible wounds. Thereafter most people in that village became Christians.
It took a lot of faith for Alexander Graham Bell to persist in order that today we have the telephone, despite the disparagement of society, and it took faith to persist in prayer for something she did not comprehend. There are many marvellous things in the world which we do not understand, but do we need to understand everything in order to believe in them?