I think a good way to start this discussion is by reading C.S. Lewis’s essay, “The Efficacy of Prayer.”
Ann Gauger's latest salvo against Dennis Venema's arguments against an original pair of human beings
Wonderful essay. C. S. Lewis certainly had the gift of cutting to the heart of the matter.
Here is a book that has shaped some of my understanding of the matter:
It goes into how we tend to look at physical well being in an idolatrous fashion, and seek through prayer and religion to achieve personal gain. Not that we should not pray for healing, but we need to have perspective and not place health above God. It has been a while since I read it, but as I recall, the book is pretty much in line with what the essay by Lewis states.
I’m not sure about the connection between spiritual and physical health. At the moment, there are various loved ones in my life with serious physical health issues. I am praying that God heals them. I don’t think that is a wrong thing to do.
And neither do I. The problem comes when that becomes the goal of our relationship with God. If God then chooses to answer “no” our motivation then becomes evident if we then back away. I think it is only human, and we all do it, but we should examine our motivation when we pray. As Jesus said we should pray, “Thy will be done.”
Thanks, Bilbo, that was a fantastic essay - full of implications worthy of considering in my own prayer life.