If any believers want to hazard a guess as to why God decided to ignore Texans’ official three-day prayer session for rain, it would be illuminating. Perhaps prayers are sent without any serious expectation that they will be answered (and why is that?), so that when they are not answered, the believer feels no great disappointment and no need to explain the lack of response. Nevertheless, we are told all the time that God does answer prayers. Indeed, Governor Rick Perry and his followers would not have appealed to God if they weren’t confident that God, in his concern for human suffering, listens to and responds to such petitions. So why not these?
One would have thought that the Texans presented a worthy petition for relief, since the failure to end the drought has resulted in the loss of life and massive loss of livelihood and property. Perhaps the number of prayers sent God’s way didn’t reach a quorum. Or were not heartfelt enough. Or maybe Texans don’t in fact deserve to be relieved of draught.
Catholic theologians up to the Pope himself stress that God is Reason and compatible with reason. Presumably, therefore, the causes and meaning of his behavior are accessible to human understanding and not shrouded in capriciousness and mystery. Still, it’s hard to come up with a reason why he couldn’t have sent some rain in response to the Texans’ request, since he does so many good things for us everyday in response to prayer, theologians like Michael Novak assure us.
The possible suggestion that God has in fact answered the Texans’ prayers, but we can’t hope to understand how, would be a bit hard to accept here as elsewhere.
Governor Perry seems to have given up on the divine angle for now, however, and is asking for aid from a more reliable source: the federal government.