God is not a gumball machine–you can’t just pop in a prayer, turn a cosmic crank, and expect God to answer the prayer in exactly the way that you expected Him to.
God promises to listen to prayer, and listen only. Despite the dramatic hyperbolic language (such as Mark 11:24 and others) used by Jesus, each and every prayer is not going to be answered affirmatively. It will be answered in God’s way and in His time.
So, if you’re sick, seek help from a doctor. Don’t shy away from praying for health or gathering the elders of your church to anoint the sick (Jms 5:14). But don’t expect that God will automatically reach down and heal the sick person. A prayer is only a request, not a demand and it will not always be answered affirmatively.
That means that I think Dale and Leilani Neumann of Weston, WI are guilty of negligent homicide, a statement which will undoubtedly surprise many people generally acquainted with my position that prayer is a very powerful thing. It is. But I believe that prayer is a way to offer yourself to God, not a way to get anything you want from Him.
According to a March 25th article in the Wausau Daily Herald, the Neumanns prayed for their daughter Madeline to get well, but never sought appropriate medical attention. This is just plain stupid. God doesn’t call only ministers into service, God calls people of every profession into their respective services, which includes doctors. He uses doctors as instruments of His healing. How did they expect their daughter to get better if they gave her no help whatsoever?
God’s preferred method of operation is to work through people. So don’t stop going to doctors when you’re sick, Christians! And as for the rest of the children in the Neumann household, GET THEM OUT OF THAT SITUATION FAST!