Last post I suggested that according to the Mechilta, it was not the circumstance of being in the midbar that caused the mon to fall; it was not the circumstance of being pursued by the Egyptians that caused Hashem to split the Yam. Aderaba -- it was because Hashem wanted Bnei Yisrael to experience the mon that he brought them to the midbar; it was because Hashem wanted them to experience the miracle of splitting Yam Suf that he caused the Egyptians to pursue them.
We find this idea elsewhere in the parsha as well, in a very deep idea Rav Hutner found in Maharal. The Egyptians were in hot pursuit, Bnei Yisrael had their back against the wall (or sea) with no way out. What do you do when you are out of ideas and have no place to turn? You daven! Moshe turned to Hashem in tefilah. Yet, and this may be the only place something like this happened, Hashem responded by telling Moshe to stop davening and tell Bnei Yisrael to step into the sea. Meforshim struggle to understand Hashem's response of, "Mah titzak elilei," asking Moshe why he was davening. What else was Moshe supposed to do? Why was davening an inappropriate reaction?
The Maharal in Gur Aryeh (based on the Rashi) explains (unlike many of the other meforshim) that it was not that tefilah per se was inappropriate. Hashem wanted Moshe's tefilos more than anything in the world. Yet, precisely because Hashem wanted those tefilos so much that they posed a danger -- Why would Hashem save Bnei Yisrael when doing so would mean cutting short Moshe's davening? Imagine someone pouring out his soul, reciting Tehillim with great hislahavus and kavanah because of some impending tragedy -- it's almost a shame to remove the threat of tragedy and lose those Tehillim! So Hashem asked Moshe to please stop. Close the Tehillim so I can save Bnei Yisrael.
Rav Hartman in his footnotes to this Maharal quotes from Rav Hutner that this idea does not apply to every situation. No one should think that by saying Tehillim he/she will cause a choleh to remain sick or some tragedy to not be averted. In most cases, Hashem wants (for whatever reason) to put a person in a certain circumstance or situation. It's because the person is uncomfortable with the situation that Hashem wanted that he/she davens to try to change the gezeirah. By Yam Suf it was different. Hashem did not want the circumstance or situation; Hashem wanted the tefilah. The whole situation developed precisely in such a way to ellicit those prayers of Moshe Rabeinu. So long as the end goal was met, i.e. Moshe was davening, there was no need to make any change in the situation -- exactly what was supposed to be happening was happening. It was only once Moshe ceased tefilah that Hashem would turn his attention kavyachol to splitting the Sea.
Rav Hartman sees a hint to this type of tefilah in the pasuk in Yehayahu, "Terem nikra'u v'ani e'eneh, od hein medabrim v'ani eshma." Sometimes we call out in tefilah and before we are even done Hashem answers. But sometimes, like at Yam Suf, "od heim medabrim," so long as the tefilah continues, "ani eshma," Hashem says that He just listens. Why interfere with a situation when the most beautiful thing in the world is taking place as a result?
A simplistic reading of the parsha might lead a person to think that tefilah is sometimes not as valuable or important as it otherwise might seem. Based on the Maharal, the lesson is exactly the opposite -- we see from our parsha the greatness of tefilah, so much so that Hashem would delay the salvation of Klal Yisrael just to continue to listen to Moshe's words.