Does Prayer Work?

Call to me and I will answer you.  -Jeremiah 33:3 (or, milk jug

 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. -Matthew 7:7 (or milk jug, again)

How Does God Answer Prayers?

There are many Christian sources that say God always answers in one of three ways when he is asked for something via intercessory prayer.
  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Wait
Let's consider a hypothetical example of a woman who is actively looking for a job in the publishing field. She prays and prays, asking God to arrange this new position for her.
  1. The woman soon gets a job in her desired field.  GOD SAID YES.
  2. The woman fails to find a new job in her desired field, and moves on to focus on something else.  GOD SAID NO.
  3. The woman fails to immediately find a new job in her desired field, but she is persistent.  A few years later, she finds that publishing job. GOD SAID WAIT.
Do you see the problem with this? There is no other possible outcome than Yes/No/Wait.  The person praying will ALWAYS be reaffirmed that God has answered their prayer.  Even if God does not exist. 

Let me repeat that.  God does not even have to exist in order to answer prayers.

Praying to the Milk Jug

Let's illustrate this concept by replacing God with a jug of milk.  Yes, that's right. A jug of milk. (I did not come up the jug of milk analogy, but I sure do love it).
Holy Jug of Milk Answers Prayers
If milk had a baby with a magic 8 ball

Let's imagine a conversation where I am trying to convince a friend that my jug of milk is omniscient, omnipotent, and has the power to answer intercessory prayer.

Me: I have a jug of milk that answers my prayers. 
Friend. What? That's crazy. What are you talking about?
Me: I swear. Whenever I pray to it, it answers me.  Just last week, I prayed to it to get this job I wanted.
Friend: Did you get the job?
Me: I did not. The milk jug answered "No."  That job wasn't in its holy, divine plan.
Friend:  Wait. You didn't get what you asked for. Why do you think the milk jug was even involved?
Me: Oh, because sometimes it DOES grant me what I want. Like the other day, I lost my car keys. I prayed to the holy jug, and then later that day I found them.
Friend: But...but!! Sometimes we just lose things and find them again. It's not like finding your keys is a miracle or anything.  Again, how do you know the milk jug did that?
Me: You just have to have faith. The milk jug is soooo powerful.
Friend: This milk jug can do anything?
Me: Yes!
Friend: And it cares about us?
Me: Yes!
Friend: So, it found your car keys, but did nothing to help the 800,000 people murdered in the Rwandan genocide of 1994?
Me: ..............well, the milk jug allows evil so that we can have free will...

In case you missed this critical point, here it is:  

Every intervention that people currently attribute to God can also be accomplished by a jug of milk.

Why Doesn't God Ever Grant Miracles?

I'm not talking about someone who recovers from cancer or wins the lottery.  Those events are improbable, but not impossible. Therefore, they are not miracles. (If someone recovers from a grave illness, it is illogical to attribute the recovery to a milk jug than to the care of doctors and nurses, medicines, and years of research, clinical trials, and training that went into it all.  But I digress.)

I am referring to provable, documentable miracles that cannot be attributed to anything but the supernatural.  Such as: 
  1. An amputee's limb growing back
  2. A person with a documented genetic disease suddenly no longer having that disease (in other words, that person's DNA changes)
  3. A corpse coming back to life (not after a few minutes; I mean a long-dead corpse)
  4. Coronavirus suddenly going away (see this hilarious tweet about the Pope asking God to stop COVID)
  5. Granting a sign of his existence to the person praying, who is desperately asking for an affirmation of their faith. (I don't mean something like a butterfly flying past your window. I mean the type of sign where God writes "I EXIST" with fire on your bedroom wall).  I have actually prayed for this, and got nothing in response.
I think that subconsciously, people know that the more outlandish the request, the less likely their request will be granted.  So prayers are limited to those things that are within the realm of natural possibility--such as getting a job, finding a spouse, car keys, etc--and not for limbs to be regrown.  

Which is weird, because with God/milk jug, anything is possible...right?
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. -Matthew 17:20/Milk Jug

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. -Mark 11:24/Milk Jug

But if God does not exist (or milk jug does not have powers), then it makes total sense that praying only results in natural outcomes that readily happen in our natural world anyway.

Let us pray

"O wise jug of milk most high. I just ask, that if it be your will, that you just allow the Orioles to win tonight. Please just grant them, if it be your will, the ability to score more than the other team, if it just be in accordance with your just and holy plan. Amen."


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