A few years ago a friend and I used to meet regularly to pray. We became renowned for it. If someone in church had a cold, we'd offer to pray and the snuffler would say, 'Please ... DON'T! I'll have pneumonia by next week if you pray.'
Ah, yes, we were good!
I have no idea why some prayers are answered as we want while some - many - aren't. I don't understand God. If I did, I would be God and I wouldn't want that. I'd much rather be his dependent child.
My cousin had ovarian cancer. As I've said before, she was convinced until her last breath that God was going to heal her. It was hard for the rest of us who could see her steadily weakening. Although we knew God could work a miracle, it didn't look likely.
One day she phoned me and said she'd been asking God for forgiveness. Now my cousin was the sweetest, most innocent, loving and trusting person you could have met so I was puzzled as to what needed such particular forgiveness. She explained, 'I haven't had enough faith in God; that's why he's not healing me.'
I was cross with her for believing such rot. Healing doesn't depend on us. If it did, we wouldn't need God. And I wouldn't think much of a god who said, 'Your prayers don't come up to my standard so I'm not answering them.' A god who thought I wasn't good enough.
No, of course I'm not good enough. That's why Jesus was born - and died.
God does want us to ask him for things. Why he doesn't always give them to us is a mystery. But I do know that someone's healing won't depend on how much or how hard I pray. How much guilt could we inflict upon ourselves if that were the case?
The days numbered for me are already written in a book. Can God be persuaded to change his mind? Now that's the question.