Na-ked [ney-kid]

1. plain; simple; unadorned: the naked realities of the matter.
2. not accompanied or supplemented by anything else: a naked outline of the facts.
3. exposed to view or plainly revealed
4. plain-spoken; blunt: the naked truth.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Please Pray For Me!....

Prayer is one subject that I really struggle with. Day after day I am surrounded by people who believe in it's power. But do they really understand how it works? When we ask people to pray for us...does this imply that God is swayed one way or the other depending on how many people call in? Doesn't this undermine the notion that God will answer each individual prayer, and that the outcome is predetermined? If so, then why do I need a multitude of other people to pray the same prayer? To me, this seems to imply a lack of faith on the behalf of the person asking for God's consideration. In fact, if our lives are predetermined, with the exception of free will (which is another enigma that I won't even touch on right now)...why pray at all? God doesn't change his mind, right? So if I get cancer, and God's plan is for me to die from cancer...who am I to ask God to heal me? Some will argue that we are not to pray for healing, but rather to pray that God's will be done in our lives. Does God need to be reminded of this? Isn't that kind of the idea? Why pray to God to do something that he's already going to do anyway? This is mind boggling...

If there are any Christians out there reading this...can you explain how or why prayer works? I feel like my brain is going to overheat and explode.


  1. Well this one is a whole big can of worms, and I don't think I can get that far down into the issue but here's the basics of how i tend to see it...

    In Matthew 6 Jesus gives specific instructions on how we should pray...i figure that if Jesus said it then it is probably a good way to go about it....he says:

    9 “This, then, is how you should pray:"

    “Our Father in heaven,
    hallowed be your name,
    your kingdom come,
    your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us today our daily bread.
    And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
    And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one."

    In other word's, follow this formula...

    “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."....give praise to God and admit your submission to His will, rather than trying to change his will...

    "Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.".... professing our reliance on God for life and confessing that we need forgiveness as well and our need to forgive others.

    "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."...asking for spiritual guidance and direction.

    In other words, the purpose of prayer is to align ourselves with God's will, not to align His will to ours. It means asking for the wisdom to accept what plans He has for our lives and to acknowledge our reliance on Him. When we pray for healing in our lives we should really be praying for is God's comfort and peace to accept whatever comes our way.

    We have turned prayer into something of a wish list and while we may gain comfort from it, our prayers sometimes lose their power because we fail to give God what is His.

    I recently heard a story about a church whose pastor was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Every Sunday he confidently told his congregation that if they all prayed then he would be healed. There was no doubt in any of their minds that God would take this illness from him. Months later he was dead and his congregation was left shattered. They were so certain God would heal and He hadn't. Their faith died with that man.

    How amazing would it have been if that pastor had taken his situation as an opportunity to teach about God's glory? What if he told his congregation about how great God is, regardless of what happens to him? What if they had all prayed for wisdom to understand God's will? The death of that pastor could have been used to strengthen that congregation. Instead it left a trail of people whose lives were now shattered, whose understanding of the world they lived in was twisted, and whose faith was now decimated. We need to pray to understand God...

  2. That all makes perfect sense. Your wisdom never ceases to amaze me, Dan. In a way, I have always kind of thought of you as the big brother I never had. You're wise beyond your years. You remind me of Dad in so many ways, which I find comforting, since I know that Dad won't always be with us. (This, coupled with your potential career choice, is going to leave you in the position to be my future go-to guy when I need prepared. lol.)

    Having said that, you're right when you say that it doesn't really cover the whole issue. I will do some research and get exact verses if need be, but what is coming to mind is the verse about "where two or more are gathered in my name...", and another one about being able to move a mountain if we pray it with sincerity. Does this imply that it is impossible for us to be totally sincere? Or is it the usual "God can say yes or no" deal? I don't expect you to be able to answer all my questions...but these are the things that confuse me.

  3. Well I'm certainly no expert but here are my thoughts on those 2 passages in particular...

    First, Matthew 18:19-20 says:
    “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

    This is probably one of the verses most commonly taken out of context. When read in relation to the verses surrounding it you see that the verse is actually about discipline within the church, not prayer. It describes the authority given to church leaders in terms of dealing with members of the church caught up in sin. Essentially what it says is that if, after following a prescribed course, two or three agree on the proper judgement then God's authority is with them. As I understand it is a throwback to ancient judaic that passage in context and you will see it differently...

    As for Mark 11:23-24...
    “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them."

    Im not totally sure on the implications of this passage, but some people have suggested that the mountain (in this case the Mount of Olives) is more a representation of a seemingly immovable force in our lives. We may feel like certain obstacles are too big to overcome (such as sin and things that hold us back in our lives) but Jesus offers a solution: align your will with God's and see what His plans are for you. I see it as a call to hand over control. Obviously we cannot move a mountain on our own, but if we rely on God's plan and His strength then our best life is finally achievable.

    I think there is probably some implications towards the old Judaic law here as well...Jesus is exposing a shift to a new way of faith, one in which direct connection with God is possible. It is freedom from a list of legalistic do's and don'ts and a move towards a life rooted in love and personal relationship with God.

    Again, check it out for yourself, I obviously don't have the answers, just some thoughts to offer a different point of view.


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