Dictating reality according to statistics is like saying you cannot help a panhandler out because 99.9% of people ignore them. It is really bizarre logic. God certainly doesn’t alter the laws nature by intervening in a predictable measurable way – He is not an unthinking robot susceptible to manipulation and control. Preachers promising that God will help you with particular problems (if you but do this or that), definitely should not be listened to, but neither should naturalists dictating reality according to their own preferences.
Thinking for yourself obviously doesn’t equate to being an uneducated ignoramus unwilling to listen or read what anyone else has to say. What Charles Gore says about that passage in Luke is spot on, pointing to the unseen unmeasurable power of the spirit for the living of our lives. This is getting right at the fact that life requires subjective participation. Objective observation will never win a football game or make a successful love relationship. What we believe has power. Ask any psychologist, who can tell you this.
I certainly don’t believe in magic words, but I know that belief in love and goodness has power for change. Perhaps this is what is behind the talk of “power of love” which I often criticize as nonsense (because anything used as a means to power is not love). But belief definitely has a great deal of power in human life and affairs. It not only motivates people but alters our perception of things.
LOL Your example of the story of David is a good one, showing that the power of God can even transcend our lack of belief, so it is not just about the power belief either.