Ateo: You get down on your knees and ask Jesus to give you stuff, right?

Ingenuo: Yes.

Ateo: Does He always give it to you?

Ingenuo:  In a way, I guess.

Ateo:  You don’t always literally get what you asked for, do you?

Ingenuo: No, not really.

Ateo:  So when your scripture says “Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith, ye shall receive,”  you don’t really believe that, do you?  Don’t give me some cop-out about how you lack enough faith.

Ingenuo:  It’s not a cop-out.  Besides, I do believe that.  Whenever I pray, implicitly or explicitly, I am telling God “I want this but only if its best for me in your judgment.”  I expect him to sort out the true desires that lie behind my requests and sort out what I really ought to get.

Ateo:  Oh, brother.  OK, but what about someone who doesn’t do that?  What about someone who just asks in faith for something they want, without putting in a little clause about ‘thy will be done’?

Ingenuo:  I’m glad we’re having this conversation.  I just figured something out.  “Faith” isn’t some kind of magic force like an extra special holy willpower.  Faith is just an old English word meaning trust and loyalty.  If you ask for something without trusting in God to do what is best for you, you aren’t asking in faith.

Ateo:  You’ve just reduced the scripture to a tautology then.  You can’t prove anything that way.

Ingenuo:  If you want proof, that’s what you should pray for.  When I pray for my lost keys or for better health, I’m looking for my lost keys or better health, not for proof.

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