Why might God not answer prayers for good weather?’
I am indebted to a great truth that was imparted to me at school and has informed every fishing trip I have ever undertaken since – wisdom from a geography GCE revision sheet that offered the astute observation that:
‘The climate of the British Isles is best described as changeable.’
There you have it! Years of meteorological research culminates in a theological understanding of why some prayers for fine weather go answered for many believers. The reality of what happens when people pray for sunshine is not about whether God does or does not answer prayer, but rather it is about random chance. In other words the prayer request aligns with the variability of the British climate for that day. In much the same way that when I flick a coin into the air and call ‘heads,’ I hope that it will spin at such a rate and be caught at the very moment that allows it to be rendered portrait side up.
Now, I appreciate that some believers will struggle with what I am saying here so let me suggest a foolproof method by which the possibility of God controlling the weather might be tested and observed. This method involves setting up of an experiment to provide the scientific conditions by which God might be observed to intervene in a ways that run contrary to the vagaries of weather:
Of course, the experiment would require a multiple number of weddings to be scheduled for different days of the week in India during the monsoon season – a period in which it rains constantly across the country for days, weeks and even months on end. The respective families would be encouraged to pray in advance for good weather for their wedding day with particular instruction to pray for the exact hour when their ceremony is scheduled to take place. The evidence of whether God has answered these prayers would be determined by how many instances of dry weather occur at these specific times within the monsoon period.
Naturally, my own belief is that very few (if any) of these weddings would occur without wedding party and guests getting wet because this is what happens when you hold outdoor events during the rainy season. This isn’t to say that God couldn’t but rather ask the more reasonable question of:
‘Why would God intervene and what higher Divine purpose might this serve?”
Interestingly, when believers attempt to justify God controlling the weather they often cite instances in the Bible in which God has intervened and affected the physical climate in some way. Among these examples are the events of the flood detailed in Genesis 6 or the day the sun reportedly stood still so that a battle could be prolonged and victory secured (Joshua 10:13-14). Other examples include a rain cloud that appears in response to Elijah’s prayer (1 Kings 18:44) or the storm at sea that affects Jonah’s escape (Jonah 1:4). Although all of these examples are used to show the way God has been proactive in the world – intervening and affecting our weather system – it should be noted that most of the ones that are recorded document acts of judgment and not the type of blessing associated with weddings.