Which raises the question about what we expect this sort of prayer to do. The other day at lunch (see the post here) with some of my colleagues from the district, we were talking about (well 'talking' is a rather lame word to describe what wasreally going on as we laughed, screamed and joked with each other)...we were noting what different theological positions we had on a whole range of things. One of which was whether God actually 'intervenes' in our lives, as a result of our prayers or, indeed, at all.
The new bright young thing (who is pretty theologically advanced) made the observation that as soon as we bring God into the equation at all then there had been intervention. We then discussed what we meant by 'intervention' you see it was just a hilarious conversation!
What I am pretty sure of is that there is a strong view of God that sees him as a sort of slot machine. If you put the right coins in and say the right words, pull the handle then God will deliver. Indeed, prospperity theology (which I despise) would say that God is just waiting to give us the jackpot.
As nice as a 'jackpot' might be, it is not my experience of how God intervenes at all. It is almost always never the answer.
I would generally agree with the idea that as soon as you bring God in then everything changes; God won't always move to fix things. Indeed God doesn't seem to fix the stuff that we should fix up ourselves.
God does (it seems to me) make us aware of what needs to be done, and how we might do it. Usually by leading us along, sometimes fast and sometimesslow, so that we deal with the complexity of life rather than pretending it is as simple as right formulas, right coins and pulling the handle.
And, for the sake of anonymity, a person who I shall refer to as W...did warn the participants in last week's lunch that what they say would be taken down in evidence!