A reader writes: More on prayer … part of maturity

A reader writes:

Brian, your response to the man who wonders why we pray is probably a lot better than mine…. [but here it is]
When you know what your son needs, do you give it to him immediately, without waiting for him to realize that he needs it? Always? Will you continue doing that for his entire life? If you do, he will surely become an incompetent adult, unable to deal with any of life’s big questions. The first thing a competent adult does, when faced with a need, is to realize that there is a need. Your son appears to be getting no training in that skill. After a competent adult realizes a need, he or she figures out what to do in order to satisfy that need. In most cases, it’s an action that can be performed and the need is satisfied. Sometimes it isn’t. Then, this competent adult must ask somebody for assistance.
One of the purposes of prayer is asking for assistance when all of your resources are insufficient to satisfy a need. And somehow, the need gets satisfied. Did a personal God satisfy that need? Or maybe did the random oscillations of particles and forces in the universe just happen to line up together to satisfy the need? I can’t prove one theory or the other. To me, the former is preferable.
Once, when i was a young adult, I needed to make my car payment, but I had no idea where the $126 was going to come from. I was in the armed forces at the time. Out of the blue, the service gave me a $100 uniform allowance. I had already bought my uniforms, so the money just went back into the family coffers. Then a friend turned to me and said, “I feel the Lord telling me to give you this”. And he handed me $25. I had not mentioned any financial need. Later that day, walking toward my apartment, I found a $1 bill lying on the ground — in windy Oklahoma, just lying there. $100 + $25 + $1 = $126, the exact amount I needed. I paid my car payment. I cannot prove that this was the action of a loving, personal God. But I have exactly zero difficulty believing it.

You’ve given us two really helpful additions to the discussion – first, pointing out (reminiscent of the film Bruce Almighty?) how automatic “yes” answers-before-they-pray would be harmful to humans in need, and second, sharing an experience that sure felt like a divine response to a felt need. Both additions are important! Thanks.