Thanks for your e-mail letter. It was truly a delight to hear from you. I am sorry it has taken so long to reply to your thoughtful questions.
I am afraid this return letter is going to be a bit of an anti-climax. Rather than give an in-depth reply to the questions you ask, I would like to suggest a couple books for you to read (or re-read). The best book I know on the question of suffering is C.S. Lewis' classic "The Problem of Pain." Even though it was written in the early 40's it is still on sale in book stores (the bigger ones, anyway). It can also be found in public libraries. I recently checked the tape recorded version out of the Seattle Public Library and found it wonderful to listen to.
C.S. Lewis also has a good article on intercessory prayer. The problem is not so much why God doesn't answer certain prayers, but how we can follow the Lord's command to pray with total confidence that whatever we ask in His name, he will grant. C.S. Lewis has some brilliant reflections on that questions.
Speaking of reading, have you tried G.K. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy?"
I would enjoy hearing from you again, Kevin.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr Phil Bloom
Letter from Kevin.