There are actual limitations to what people will pray for
You have probably heard this story before. Someone prayed for a cure for their terminal illness and became cured. Someone prayed for a sports team and they won. A prayer for a successful job interview landed them the job.
People credit prayer after the fact. With nearly 60 percent of Americans praying every month and 30 percent praying several times a day, prayer can have a different purpose.
Americans pray for overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But there seems to be a limit to what individuals pray for, which may reveal the real extent of faith people have in their beliefs.
Here is the test for prayer. Ask yourself this question: Is prayer the only way that this event will occur? Here is an example. People pray for eliminating cancer. While cancer could be eliminated by the power of prayer, there are other causes. It could be genetics, the change in immunity, or a certain treatment is effective. Prayer cannot be ruled as the only way that the person defeated cancer. But what if someone prayed for a new limb? There would be no other explanation beyond divine power. Yet, you rarely, if ever, hear about people praying for a new limb. And never have you heard about it occurring.
Does this mean that people have some sort of rational calculus of prayer? If people are rational about what can and cannot be accomplished by prayer that may mean that they do not have faith. But that is not the only time that people do not pray for things that can only be explained by the Lord.
Praying for time travel? That would prove that the power of prayer works. What about praying for your dog to speak perfect English to you? I have never heard that prayer.
This is not to say that prayer can have some positive effects. But it is to say that when individuals say it is clear that prayer was how they got their house, job, or health we need to be realistic or look for things that might actually constitute an actual miracle.