A mother's tweet: "Please pray like never before, my 2 yr old fell in the pool." Now, the poor boy died — 19 minutes after the tweet — and the mother is being criticized for using Twitter. Her tweeting had nothing to do with the accident, though, and it's not really wrong — is it? — for a writer to ask her readers for their prayers?
The woman, Shellie Ross, had over 5,000 followers on Twitter, and I don't think it was wrong for her to reach out to them in her time of anguish. At the same time, I cannot conceive of a God that would decide whether to answer a prayer based on the number of followers on Twitter!
And, did you watch "Survivor" last night? 2 contestants who had bonded over a late-in-the-game revelation of Christian faith found themselves on the same team in a competition that required them to pull ropes out of a structure without causing coconuts to tumble out. They started praying to God for victory. Like God should pay attention to whether coconuts are falling. I know Jesus said that God pays attention to every sparrow that falls, but he said nothing about coconuts. Or who wins on "Survivor." By the way, Team Jesus lost when a whole hilarious load of coconuts rained down as a rope was pulled by the Christian in a bikini. That doesn't, of course, mean that God wasn't paying attention. If you believe in prayer, no adverse result will ever shake your belief. In this case, the believer's explanation is obvious: God rejected the request.
Why would God help you win games? And, for that matter, why would God save a dying boy based on whether he had someone who knew he was dying and thought prayer might help? Why wouldn't He be irritated that you imagine him making decisions like that? Believers don't seem to worry too much about the possibility that their invocations displease God. In the case of the coconuts, maybe God actively preferred the people who declined to seek divine intervention. In the case of the boy, why must any child die?