Roberts says he used to pray for God to change history, but he rarely does so anymore. It seems highly manipulative that God would withhold his loving care and refuse to redirect the storm, (restore mutated cancer cells, or dissolve the plaques that cause dementia for that matter,) unless people can muster up enough faith to respond.
I agree that this kind of manipulation would be entirely unworthy of God. And to bash one's self or others against the rocks of a request that cannot possibly be granted seems cruel and a surefire way to ultimately kill any belief in God. When my first wife died during the birth of our son - I was approached by some friends who asked if they could pray with me for God to restore her to life. I did not tell them that immediately after her death I had been approached by organ donation people who asked my permission to release pieces of her to the. As hard as it was, minutes after her death, I agreed that my wife would have wanted this because she had a heart like Jesus. Now I was faced with this implied accusation that if I didn't go along with this prayer - it would signal a lack of faith and a betrayal of my wife, whom Jesus WANTED to heal. I can't express the pain that this caused me. So I just want to say - I know where Roberts is coming from. C.S. Lewis' comment "Prayer does't change God, it changes me" is very reasonable. But in my heart of hearts I long for someone more powerful. I long for a protector. That is why I need a slightly different answer. At least I think it is - you tell me.
- Sometimes we see prayer being effective, like when Abraham prays for Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:16-33) or like when Moses prays for Rebellious Israelites (Exodus 32:9-14).
- Sometimes it's ineffective, like when David prays for the life of his unborn child (2 Samuel 12:14-31)
- Did God answer that prayer - or would the person have gotten better anyway?
- Did God refuse to answer - or is he asking me to rely on the sufficeincy of his grace?