The experiential problem for petitionary prayer
Sometimes people petition God for things through prayer. This is puzzling, because if God always does what is best, it is not clear how these prayers can make a difference to what God does. Difference-Making accounts of petitionary prayer attempt to explain how these prayers can nonetheless influence what God does. I argue that, insofar as one is motivated to endorse a Difference-Making Account because they want to respect widespread intuitions about this feature of petitionary prayer, they should also be motivated to endorse an account of prayer that respects widespread intuitions about other central features of petitionary prayer. I describe three problematic cases and the intuitions we have about them, and show how these intuitions restrict any Difference-Making account of petitionary prayer.
KeywordsPetitionary prayer God Philosophy of religion Divine attributes
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