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Philosophical Reflection on Petitionary Prayer



If God actually answers prayers that petition him for something, then it seems he is willing to withhold some good(s) from the world unless and until someone prays for those goods. But how is this compatible with His benevolence? On the other hand, if God is dedicated to providing every good to us that we may need, it would seem that He would provide these to us even if we did not pray for them. But if so, it would appear that petitionary prayer is pointless. This discussion reviews the various contributions (especially the most recent ones) made by philosophers in trying to answer these questions, and in criticizing these answers.