I read this in an article at the Christianity Today website (which I read regularly) on praying more effectively. It’s a fantastic example of typical vacuous Christian logic:
I spent endless hours in the hospital waiting room while Mom sat on a cold metal hospital table just beyond the waiting room doors. In those hours I prayed—or at least I tried to.
I didn’t quite know what to say: “God, please take these growths away from my mother”? But what if he didn’t? Or how about, “God, please don’t let there be any cancer cells”? But what if there were? Or, “God, just let this be treatable”? But what if it wasn’t? So here’s what I prayed: “God, I don’t want to go through this. And I don’t want Mom to go through this. Yet you must have Mom and our family here for a reason. Help us depend on you during this difficult time. Now, God, I really don’t want to lose her. But since I truly want your will above my own, I leave my mother in your loving hands—as difficult as that is to do. Amen.”
One of the first answers to that prayer was a peaceful calm in myself and in both my parents. The second answer was the good report from the doctors: The growths were benign. But even if they hadn’t been, my trust in God had been challenged to mature as a result of the prayer I’d learned to pray for Mom.
The logic of that is wonderfully transparent: uh, what if God doesn’t give me what I pray for? I’d better ask for something that will have to be answered, so no matter what happens, I can say that God answered my prayer! But what use is God if you can’t petition him for anything specific? What use are specific prayers if, when your prayer is not answered, you conclude reluctantly that what you’d asked for was not God’s will? Of course there’s a psychological benefit to prayer, as there is to meditation and many types of wishful thinking. But if all prayer gives you is a sense of peace and acceptance, God isn’t even necessary.
Christians will never tire of giving God more opportunities to be right. That’s why they have to create questions with no wrong answer. That’s the beauty of “Thy will be done”. It creates a world where God can never be wrong.