if prayer is nothing more than "covering the bases" as you said, than it's clearly expendable as nothing more than an act of superstition.
if you want to reduce prayer to an act of superstition knock yourself out.
covering the bases for me is being smart.
why do i bother to go to work if i can just pray for money? why shower when i can pray to be clean and smell good?
i think YOU are missing the point. you don't want an answer that doesn't fit your own outcome you have in your head.
and kids getting shot in Africa is quite the leap of bitter agnst of being part of the plan. people die everyday from all kinds of methods and reasons.
if you don't want to pray, nobody is forcing you. nobody is forcing me. you do what you believe.
in addition, wanting evidence of prayer working will only further frustrate you man. therein lies the paradox of faith.
you want proof but it won't come in the way you want. thats something i or nobody else can provide for you. either you are going to have faith or believe prayer can do some good or you don't. its that simple.
i dont think any answer i give you will satisfy you pb. however. if you want. i can get my two daugthers to pray for something specific for you. it may work. it may not.
i did have a great friend i connected with on fb a couple of years ago. he had moved to florida and had hiv. we went over so much time lost and as we were finishing up i go man. i know you don't see some things the way i do but would you mind if i got my girls to pray for your T cells to go back up? he was sorta expasperated but said sure why not.
in a few weeks they go back up. to the point where his doc was very surprised. this was 3 yrs ago and he is doing great. was it because of our prayers? i like to think it was but i have no lock solid concrete proof it was. or maybe it was my buddy simply letting go and trusting another friend that it could change for the better. again, no way of ever knowing. but the ultimate outcome is all that matters and who cares who gets credit. im glad he is still here and doing well.