Sovereignty and Prayer

Today is supposed to be a post on the Church but this is not a post about the Church.  I suppose if I make the rules I can break them when I want, right? What I do want to write about though is God's sovereignty especially in regards to prayer.  I had a good, but brief, conversation about this with a friend today and we both admit we have a lot of questions about this area.  But it really got me thinking.

He used an example, borrowed from Yancey, that it's a good thing to want others to pray for us but does that mean that the Christian with lots of Christian friends has a better shot at their prayers being answered than the person who has very few Christian friends?

Is there a critical mass when it comes to prayer?  We both said we don't believe so. But in practice this is what we tend to see isn't it?  If someone gets sick or suffers a tragedy we try to get as many people to pray as possible. As if more people praying means that person has a better shot at coming through the other side quicker/easier/better.

The other side to this issue is that we just don't pray.  God already knows what is going to happen, what good does praying for a different outcome do? I'll admit I tend to act out this side of the issue more than the other side. Sometimes it seems silly to pray when I know God's already made up his mind.

Of course I know both sides are not completely accurate, extremes aren't.  What I'm finding to be true in most things concerning faith and relationships is that the truth is somewhere in the middle, in the tension between the two extremes.

Extremes are easier, there is a black and white rubric and if it doesn't fit it gets kicked out, be it an idea or a person.  Living in the tension is much harder but it's where I believe we're supposed to be.

So on this issue of sovereignty and prayer the tension is somewhere in the middle, I just haven't found it yet.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. How do you think God's sovereignty and prayer intertwine?