Chelsea are due to play Arsenal in a soccer match. Mr A prays for Chelsea to win, while Mr B prays for Arsenal to win. Chelsea won the match. Why were Mr A's prayers answered but not Mr B's?
Hi, I'm going to answer this question as a non-theologian, but I should note that there are many, many different theological approaches to the theory of prayer, and I'm sure some would disagree with, or offer a different answer than, mine. For the purposes of your question, it seems important to first point out that you are conceiving of prayer *merely* as an attempt to affect the course of events in one's (or another's) favor. So one prays for success at a soccer match, or that one's relative recovers from an illness, and so on. This first sort of prayer is what is commonly portrayed, I think, in movies, casual conversations (including jokes), and, I think, it is what most atheists/critics have in mind when discussing prayer. My first point is just that there are other purposes of prayer in many religious traditions; in most traditions, one regularly prays without having a specific request in mind ,in order to be intimate with the divine, our of love (or something like that). I think you have a Judaeo...
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