In yesterday's Faith column (no link available), Christopher Bantick defends prayer:
When prayer is not answered and an explanation does not come, there may be a temptation to suspect that our words are cast into a void.And that suspicion would be right
Moreover, God's silence can promote a crisis of faith.Commonly called accepting reality.
Sceptics may say that answered prayer is a coincidence. As one wise monk who had known God's silence remarked to me: "Stop praying and the coincidences stop."Of course the coincidences stop. Coincidences need two events (the prayer and reality, in this case) to occur with one apparently affecting the other. Without the prayer these coincidence are impossible. But it doesn't mean prayer does anything.
Regardless, Bantick thinks these "coincidences" prove that prayer works. But what of the times when god doesn't bless us with "coincidences"?
Prayer is the faithful acknowledgment that it is though (sic) talking to God that clarification comes. This can be silence.So when god doesn't answer prayers its a good sign?
Silence is a gift... the silence God gives offers nodal points of spiritual growth.When prayers are answered it's a gift. And when they're not it's a gift.
There really is no chance Bantick will be disappointed. Or reasoned with.