We believe that the universe operates according to the laws and equations of physics. And then we ask, “if the behaviour of the universe is predictable according to the laws of physics, then is there any way in which God can ‘do’ anything; how can God answer prayer?”
Perhaps in the same way that we ‘do’ things? As I type this, I am influencing the material world with my mind, with my will. Although we all speculate based on different quantities of data, nobody knows how we do it. We can trace pathways through the brain, down nerves and so on, but we still don’t know how ‘we’ operate with free will or exercise that free will.
Some claim that we don’t, that free will is a delusion. But they don’t really believe it – we all behave as if we have a degree of free will. Clearly we don’t decide everything our bodies do, but we still do decide some things. We exercise our free will daily. How could it be otherwise? If free will were a delusion, then if we were truly able to believe that it were an illusion we would realise that there is no point to anything at all and we would give up all our searchings, all our science, all our religion Yet we would not be able to give it up, because we would not have the free will to be able to! And if someone claims that free will is a delusion, how have they come to that conclusion? If they are correct then clearly they cannot have come to the conclusion themselves, but only had the delusion of coming to that conclusion …. So the claim that freewill is a delusion is contrary to all evidence, and by as outlined above completely un-provable. It is outside of science and outside of reason. Therefore if pursuit of the truth is to have any meaning then we must conclude that we have free will.
So in the same way that we, with our free will can operate in the material world, controlled by the laws of physics, God too can operate. There is thus no scientific reason to suppose that God cannot answer prayer. (If he exists of course!)