Answer to our prayers: The unsolved but solvable problem of petitionary prayer

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Colleges, School and Institutes


There is a concern about the effectiveness of petitionary prayer. If I pray for something good, wouldn’t God give it to me anyway? And if I pray for something bad, won’t God refrain from giving it to me even though I’ve asked? This problem has received significant attention. The typical solutions suggest that the prayer itself can alter whether something is good or bad. I will argue that this is insufficient to fully address the problem, but also that the problem requires another assumption which can be doubted, thereby opening up a new way to solve the problem.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-104
Number of pages20
JournalFaith and Philosophy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • petitionary prayer, philosophy of religion, prayer

ASJC Scopus subject areas