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Questions About Prayer

March 6, 2009
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This week the church I go to, Immersion in Des Moines, is starting a series on prayer. Prayer has always been one of my weaknesses. I’m good at reading, and sometimes even serving, because those are very tangible things. I’ve always seen prayer though as being the most vague and ambiguous spiritual discipline. It frustrates me. I always tell myself I’m going to get better at it, but I never know how.

I co-lead a small group for InterVarsity here on Drake’s Campus called 101. It’s like a Christian basics group. This last week we talked about prayer, and a lot of great questions came up that I thought should be re-posted here. I think we often do something blindly because we’re Christian without even thinking about what it means. Some of the questions:

  • Why do we pray? Is there Biblical justification for asking God favors? Does our prayer change things?
  • “Ask and you will receive” – really? What does that mean? Are there limits on that?
  • How do we make it two-way communication instead of me just talking to God?
  • How on Earth can I pray for everything I need to pray for?
  • Why do I have a right to ask for things with all the suffering around me?

Aren’t these great questions? I’m wont even attempt to answer them, because I’m not even sure there are clear answers. Nonetheless, I think the questions need to be asked. It’s good to question. It’s good to ask. It’s good to be confused and searching.

Maybe this series on prayer will clear things up for me. And maybe it wont. Hopefully either way I’ll learn a little something about what it means to be someone who prays to a living and active God.

Think about it.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 6, 2009 2:25 am

    First, Why?
    if for no other reason, Jesus told us to. He said we are to ask for our daily bread. If we claim to be a follower of His, then I suppose we should do that, whether it makes sense to me or not.

    Second, “Ask and you will receive…”
    That line (and others like it) is one of the great embarasments of the bible. If I were an early monk, handwriting a copy, I would be tempted to leave it out. The fact that it survives is to me, one of the marks that our Bible is authentic.
    George MacDonald said that He who desires the Father more than anything the Father can give is likely to get what he asks for, as he is not likely to ask amiss.

    Just some thoughts, You are right, they are interesting questions to ponder.

    -Blessings,
    R. Eric Sawyer

    2-way communication?
    same as here. Listen. Shut up and be quiet. I often find that in the back-and-forth, if I am true to my heart about what is going on, I find that my heart is being changed through the process. Silent meditation as an adjucnt is very helpful.

    Everything I need to pray for?
    “The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep to utter…”
    I think it is more like talking to your parents (especially when we were kids). It isn’t so important that we hit all the agenda items, Our father knows what we need before we ask. It is about nurturing the relationship, of being formable into His image, the way we were formed by our relationship, for good or bad, with our parents.

    Why do I have a right, with so much suffering elsewhere?
    So God has a limit? one billion request per day, don’t hog the line, don’t ask for more than your share? please.
    Once again, Jesus told us to ask for our daily bread.
    He also told us to ask for the furtherance of God’s kingdom on this earth.
    If one is realy concerned that these other things are more important, then one has the topic for which he ought to pray.

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