QUESTION: Today's comes from CDF...
"If God sometimes says 'no' to our prayers, then why bother to pray? I admit I have a hard time trying to figure out when to pray and when to just keep quiet -- although if something looks hopeless, I really don't see any reason to pray about it."
From time to time throughout our lives we are faced with challenges and hurdles. Sometimes these obstacles appear to be insurmountable by ourselves and it is natural to seek help wherever we can. However, praying to a god has never been proven to have any effect. Religious people don't have better health, don't have more good fortune, and don't avoid death and injury any more than the rest of the population.
Consider the concept of praying for the weather. A religious person will pray for rain and when it rains two days later they thank their god. However, weather happens every day anyway and so it may just be coincidence. Also how many other people live in your city? What were they praying for? It is very ego-centric to credit the whole city's weather to your prayers. Furthermore, your next door neighbour may be praying to Allah for rain - so whose god gets the credit? Perhaps your neighbour may be praying for sunshine, in which case you can imagine the heavenly tog-of-war as one god pushes the clouds above your place and the other god pulls them away again!
Your last sentence inadvertently touched upon the essence of this issue "....I don't see any reason....". The total disengagement of prayer from reason should be enough to show us that prayer is futile. Whilst there is nothing we can do about the weather, there is a well-known saying that applies here: One pair of hands doing something about a problem is more valuable than one thousand clasped in prayer.
BILLY GRAHAM'S ANSWER: