Does God answer prayers for sunny weather at weddings?
The seminar at its end, people dispersed, save for a few conference delegates who lined up to speak to me about what I had just presented. As I chatted, I became aware of two teenage girls waiting at the side. Finally, with the last person away, the girls came over and asked if I would explain something that was troubling them – namely, my assertion that ‘it is a redundant act to pray to God to provide sunny weather for a friend’s wedding day.’
Of course, what troubled them was not my statement so much as the idea that God might not be as they imagined Him. By that I mean, the uncomfortable notion that God may not answer these sort of prayers or least, not in the way they want – an idea totally at odds with what many Christians believe about God and the way He acts within our world. After all, what is more important than the bride’s wedding day and a loving God would surely want to intervene and make it as joyous as an occasion as possible – wouldn’t He?
Now, aside from the fact that there is no meteorological evidence to suggest that Saturday is the sunniest day of the week – which it should be if God is answering prayers for fine weather for weddings on these days – there is also the very real issue that although some people petition God for good weather, it still rains on their special day. Which begs the question:
- ‘Does God favour some people’s weddings over others?’ (OR)
- ‘Is it just simply the case that God does not answer prayers for this sort of thing?’
If the first were true, people would be right to challenge God because scripture informs us that the Divine is not given to favouritism (Acts 10:34) but loves all people equally. Now, while some families may have fine weather at the wedding of one daughter, they might encounter poor weather on another occasion, suggesting that a parent, daughter, son, fiancé(e) or other family member had transgressed God in such a way that He is now unable to bless them. This does not even consider the more ludicrous anomaly of how it may rain on a couple marrying for the first time yet not for those remarrying for the third, fourth of fifth time? – people whose lives might be frowned upon by some yet enjoy the hottest day of the year for their wedding and, by inference, the greater blessing of God?
As I will deal with the reasons as to why I believe God does not interfere with our weather in the next post, I will close with the answer I gave to the girls – much to their chagrin. Namely, that weather is random and unpredictable – particularly in the United Kingdom where it is not unusual for a variety of elements to occur in one day which may include rain, sunshine, and sleet – within the same hour and even in summer. That believers pray for sunny weather and it occurs does not mean God has answered but rather the person was fortuitous in praying for it on a day when it was going to be sunny. Moreover, there is no sidestepping the question that if God responds to requests for sunny weather with thunder and hail, what should we make of that?
(extract adapted from ‘A short book of believer absurdities’ – Bob Eckhard)