The Mind of the Believer and Unanswered Prayer

I want to continue a discussion I started right here and followed up on here, about a time when God blew it on national TV to answer a high profile prayer by three contestants (self described "prayer Warriors") in a reward challenge for food during an episode of CBS's Survivor.

Initially when it was admitted that God did not answer Natalie's prayer Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) explained it away by saying..
If our expectation of God is that He cannot say "no" then He is nothing more than a mere idol,created to do our bidding. God is not an idol. He doesn't give us snakes -- sometimes we unwittingly ask for what enables ppl to become conceited. If these girls had won, the cynics would have chalked it up to luck - it wouldn't have proved a thing because there have been testimony and witnesses to answered prayer and they have been rejected and scorned. Thx!
I responded by saying:
MMM do not discount the effect that an answered prayer like this would have on cynics. Besides, there are many Christians struggling with doubt out there whose faith would be confirmed if God had answered that prayer. But he chose not to help them. He was silent in the midst of their struggles. Par for the course.
Then said MMM:
Do you believe that this girl on Survivor could have made a choice to not be a part of the television program? Do you think that a God Who values human life should encourage and condone daredevil pursuits for entertainment purposes? I think that is exploitive and would be encouraging ppl in the wrong direction. This girl's suffering is consistent with the program that she enlisted in. God doesn't condemn ppl who engage in these pursuits -- He sees them as already suffering enough by engaging in a degrading lifestyle. There are plenty of challenges in caring for the ppl in our own neighborhoods that can provide for a full life story,much more engaging than a television show.
Among other things Rob R. (the answer man) said:
Just one more parting thought John, but it would've been far more productive for this contestant if she prayed that she would play the game in a way that was consistant with Christian integrity and would allow God to display his glory with wisdom according to his power, purposes that he could have for her in that situation. I just don't see winning a million dollars as an essential part of that and would see it as very likely sending the wrong message along the lines of the prosperity theology that is common in some branches of the church.
Brad Haggard seemed to discount scientific studies in these words:
Why would God feel compelled to act on a TV reality show? This doesn't even count as "evidence", especially in light of James 5.

I get the feeling that most people look at prayer as some sort of magic, cause and effect. The prayer studies look at it this way, but the praying people aren't the subjects, increasing the validity of the study, God is the singular subject (since it is His response). I think they are wrong-headed from the start.
But then Natalie won Survivor and a million dollars. Now see what MMM is saying and it's classic:
Okay, I don't watch Survivor,and I am only going by the post here and the newsflash about this Natalie girl, BUT, I was way wrong to judge that God didn't answer Natalie's prayer!

Apparently, from what I read on the posts here, Natalie prayed for one meal, but today I read that the winner of Survivor (and,apparently a way hefty paycheck!!) is Natalie!

It looks like God chose to let Natalie win the whole shmeal deal challenge so that now she has enough for wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-y more meals!!! That is just like Him!! I bet she's gonna share her winnings with the poor too! Yay!!! Sorry God for getting infected with doubt!

Hey John, It sounds like God heard your complaint and decided to show you how He answers prayers. You were probably expecting Him to give Natalie one lousy meal - but no!!! Now, are you convinced???
Again this is par for the course and typical of the mind of a believer in order to maintain faith! So which is it, believers? You do whatever it takes to maintain your faith, don't you? Is there any consistency here? Nothing can falsify such a faith, right? Nothing!

What Natalie prayed for was not answered as requested. And the answer demanded that the believer counts the hits and discounts the misses. This was a miss. So it was discounted. Now the believer switches sides as fast as a new wave comes to shore and claims God answered her prayer after all, when that was not what she prayed for.

Believers will claim Natalie prayed to win too, which she surely did. Plenty of these contestants prayed to win along with their families, especially Brett and his family and friends. God cannot answer hundreds of thousands of prayers simply because it would be impossible to do so with so many believers praying for the same things.

If Natalie did not win believers would still discount the misses, wouldn't they? They would do this in order to maintain their faith. Deny this if you can. God knows best, they'd say, so don't let them kid us. They'd be claiming that a million dollars would not be good for Natalie somehow, like they previously did.

And even though Natalie won I have plenty of other reasons for doubting God answered her prayer. The bottom line is that scientific studies on prayer show us that prayer does not work. Why do we need scientific studies? Because no matter what happens believers will not consider the truth. Prayer does not work. It never has. It never will.

Again, we must depend on the scientific studies. Science is our best and only hope with regard to these questions, given the mind of the believer who never fails to count the hits and discount the misses.

If prayer does work then why not pray to change a tragic event in the past, but that's another topic. ;-)