“And so it is in our lives. Sure enough, we talk to God. We are quick to tell God what we think God should be doing in the world, or to make requests to God. But we are too busy talking and listening to the noise of our lives to hear any response that God might make.”—Occupy Advent: Advent Practice: Silence
Lewis once presented the problem in the voice of a skeptic akin to Kurt Vonnegut: I don’t think it at all likely that God requires the ill-informed (and contradictory) advice of us humans as to how to run the world. If He is allwise, as you say He is, doesn’t He know already what is best? And if He is all-good won’t He do it whether we pray or not?
In reply, Lewis said that you could use the same argument against any human activity, not just prayer. “Why wash your hands? If God intends them to be clean, they’ll come clean without your washing them…. Why ask for the salt? Why put on your boots? Why do anything?” God could have arranged things so that our bodies nourished themselves miraculously without food, knowledge entered our brains without studying, umbrellas magically appeared to protect us from rainstorms. God chose a different style of governing the world, a partnership which relies on human agency and choice. God granted the favored human species the “dignity of causality,” to borrow a phrase from Pascal. The skeptic, then, is objecting not merely to prayer but to the basic rules of creation
“I’ve given up giving up on him. I’m a 100 percent believer. Not in his arm. Not in his skills. I believe in his heart, his there-will-definitely-be-a-pony-under-the-tree optimism, the way his love pours into people, right up to their eyeballs, until they believe they can master the hopeless comeback, too.”—I believe in Tim Tebow