RELIGION

Are prayers always answered?

Insights on the nature—and results—of prayer

"I'm not interested in prayers that are answered until I understand why prayers are not answered," said my friend. With all the news of tragedies today, I could understand her frustration. Although one may long to rely on a sure and loving God, the question of unanswered prayer can seem an obstacle to our willingness to pray and trust in Him.

But to start out wanting an explanation for the negative before learning about the positive is somewhat like wanting to learn to solve a mathematics problem by first trying to explain how all the wrong answers originated. While this approach may, under some circumstances, be useful, it is far more productive to learn how to get the correct answer. In math, one can be confident that this is possible because one accepts that mathematics is founded on concepts that are constant, understandable, and that when correctly applied, will give the right answer.

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February 9, 1998
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