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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Intercessory prayer
« on: September 09, 2019, 01:15:33 pm »
Hey,

This is a question for those that believe that God actually steps in to answer prayers.  Also as a note, this will likely only apply to things that are directly asked of God, so if you believe that prayer is just a means for you to talk to God and have a conversation rather than actually asking God for things, this will not apply to you.

So with that said, how does God go about answering a prayer ?  Lets say for example that I prayed to pass my test tomorrow.  How does God go about answering that prayer ?  Does he:

- Grant me improved cognitive functions so I will better remember the material I am studying (wouldn't this be cheating, like taking steroids?)
- Get the teacher to write the questions that are the same as I actually remember (wouldn't this be a violation of the teachers free will ?)
- Change my answers after I write them to the correct ones (again cheating ?)

Etc.  I don't see a method where the prayer could be answered that doesn't result in the direct manipulation of someones will, or outright cheating.  Does someone see something I don't ?

What if I prayed to find my lost car keys ?  Does God move the keys to a place I can easily find them ?  Won't that backfire if I do remember where I left them after praying and go to look and they have been moved ?  Or would God know I would remember and not move the keys in that case ?  Wouldn't it be amazing if the missing keys were just popped into my hands while praying ?  Does he manipulate my brain to insert the location of the keys ? Is that ok because I asked for it, or is it a violation of my autonomy ?  If the former, why wouldn't God grant me other information when I prayed for it, like the cure to cancer or how to solve a complex math problem, why just the location of my keys ?

What if I prayed to win a sports championship.  Is that cheating ?  Does God grant my team an unfair advantage so we will win the game ?  What if the other team prayed too ?  Who does God help and why ?

I have other questions, but perhaps this is best for now.

Thoughts ?

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TheCross

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Re: Intercessory prayer
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2019, 01:29:15 pm »
During a pilgrimage to damascus, the assyrian archbishop of the region was asked a question about prayer.
A boy whom had lost both his parents, a night apart, asked him why god refused to hear him and did nothing to aid his beloved parents.
The archbishop said:

”We have finite wisdom, finite lifespan and we ask the eternal one questions we do not grasp. The purpose of your parents does not end at the grave, for them, the journey has but begun, but their impact here lives on, we can not understand it now, maybe ever, but this is what we mean by the mystery of god.”

People belive, for some odd reason, that by praying, you shall recive blessings, it does not work that way, because a prayer needs to include ”THY WILL BE DONE”, with these words, you are in no position to claim anything out of the prayer, besides, how on earth can we even tell of a prayer has been anwsered?
We might belive that god should do X if our prayer is heard, when the actions are endless at his disposal, but our arrogance requires something to signal to us that the prayer has been heard, ignoring the fact that a prayer might be anwsered in other ways than what we can grasp.

Essentially, prayer is not the same as making a wish...it’s miles away from such a thing.
Gal 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Re: Intercessory prayer
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2019, 03:02:06 pm »
So, remember at the beginning of the post that you are directly responding to when I said:

Quote
This is a question for those that believe that God actually steps in to answer prayers.  Also as a note, this will likely only apply to things that are directly asked of God, so if you believe that prayer is just a means for you to talk to God and have a conversation rather than actually asking God for things, this will not apply to you.

Well, it appears that this post does not apply to you............

But your view of prayer raises many other different questions.  If "THY WILL BE DONE" is the most important part of the prayer, then why bother with the prayer at all.  It seems completely irrelevant to and redundant.  Ultimately, God is going to do whatever it is that God is going to do, and you are going to just sit there and accept any and all outcomes because how dare you have the arrogance to question God. 

God allowed your parents to die, how dare you have the arrogance to complain that from your limited perspective you find it abhorrent.  Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!

So what is the purpose now ?

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ArtD

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Re: Intercessory prayer
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2019, 04:17:38 pm »
Petitionary or intercessory prayer seems to assume the odd idea that God may not do what is best for us unless we ask him to.
As you mention in the OP, this does not apply when prayer is describe as a conversation.
But it does seem (to me) to apply to petitionary and intercessory prayer.
ScienceAsNaturalTheology.org

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Sanoy

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Re: Intercessory prayer
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2019, 04:18:17 pm »
In regards to praying for a test Ben Carson can actually give us an example.

Quote
"The night before the chemistry final exam, he prayed: “Lord, medicine is the only thing I ever wanted to do. Would you please tell me what is it you really want me to do?”

Carson planned to pull an “all-nighter,” but instead fell asleep.

He collapsed into a deep sleep and like his biblical hero Joseph, had a very unusual dream. In the dream, he sat in class and watched a figure in white robes write chemistry problems on the blackboard.

“When I went to take the test the next morning, it was like ‘The Twilight Zone,'” he recounted.

God did something amazing to directly answer his prayer. “I opened that book and I recognized the first problem as one of the ones I dreamed about. And the next, and the next, and the next, and I aced the exam and got a good mark in chemistry!”
ben_carson
As a surgeon at John Hopkins University

The questions and the answers were revealed supernaturally to him! It may be argued that if he had failed that test, the course of his life would have been very different.
Certainly not something I would have imagined, which makes it hard to say much about the others.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 04:21:19 pm by Sanoy »

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Johan Biemans (jbiemans)

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Re: Intercessory prayer
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2019, 04:27:15 pm »
In regards to praying for a test Ben Carson can actually give us an example.

Quote
"The night before the chemistry final exam, he prayed: “Lord, medicine is the only thing I ever wanted to do. Would you please tell me what is it you really want me to do?”

Carson planned to pull an “all-nighter,” but instead fell asleep.

He collapsed into a deep sleep and like his biblical hero Joseph, had a very unusual dream. In the dream, he sat in class and watched a figure in white robes write chemistry problems on the blackboard.

“When I went to take the test the next morning, it was like ‘The Twilight Zone,'” he recounted.

God did something amazing to directly answer his prayer. “I opened that book and I recognized the first problem as one of the ones I dreamed about. And the next, and the next, and the next, and I aced the exam and got a good mark in chemistry!”
ben_carson
As a surgeon at John Hopkins University

The questions and the answers were revealed supernaturally to him! It may be argued that if he had failed that test, the course of his life would have been very different.
Certainly not something I would have imagined, which makes it hard to say much about the others.

So according to Ben God helped him cheat on the exam ??!  Is that really fair to the other students in the class ?  Did he really deserve to pass ?

Also why would God provide this info to him in a dream but not provide the cure to cancer to cancer researchers in dreams, etc?  It seems like really odd behaviour on God’s part.

It gets worse though. What if that dream was from Satan ?  They were testing to see if he would cheat on the test. What if God had a different plan for him and it was all messed up because he followed the dream from Satan instead ? 

Also,  if thy will be done is true and everything happens according to God’s will, then aren’t the things that God allows Satan to do also part of God’s will ?  Every horrific murder, etc are all just part of God’s will ??!

Finally why say that it was supernatural at all ?  He didn’t say that the problems appeared in order, only that they appeared in the test. I would assume that he had been studying for a while already and would have been familiar with all the problems that the white figure was writing on the board. Is it really that hard to believe it was just his subconscious working ?
« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 04:31:08 pm by Johan Biemans (jbiemans) »

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Sanoy

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Re: Intercessory prayer
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2019, 04:40:19 pm »
In regards to praying for a test Ben Carson can actually give us an example.

Quote
"The night before the chemistry final exam, he prayed: “Lord, medicine is the only thing I ever wanted to do. Would you please tell me what is it you really want me to do?”

Carson planned to pull an “all-nighter,” but instead fell asleep.

He collapsed into a deep sleep and like his biblical hero Joseph, had a very unusual dream. In the dream, he sat in class and watched a figure in white robes write chemistry problems on the blackboard.

“When I went to take the test the next morning, it was like ‘The Twilight Zone,'” he recounted.

God did something amazing to directly answer his prayer. “I opened that book and I recognized the first problem as one of the ones I dreamed about. And the next, and the next, and the next, and I aced the exam and got a good mark in chemistry!”
ben_carson
As a surgeon at John Hopkins University

The questions and the answers were revealed supernaturally to him! It may be argued that if he had failed that test, the course of his life would have been very different.
Certainly not something I would have imagined, which makes it hard to say much about the others.

So according to Ben God helped him cheat on the exam ??!  Is that really fair to the other students in the class ?  Did he really deserve to pass ?

Also why would God provide this info to him in a dream but not provide the cure to cancer to cancer researchers in dreams, etc?  It seems like really odd behaviour on God’s part.

It gets worse though. What if that dream was from Satan ?  They were testing to see if he would cheat on the test. What if God had a different plan for him and it was all messed up because he followed the dream from Satan instead ? 

Also,  if thy will be done is true and everything happens according to God’s will, then aren’t the things that God allows Satan to do also part of God’s will ?  Every horrific murder, etc are all just part of God’s will ??!

Finally why say that it was supernatural at all ?  He didn’t say that the problems appeared in order, only that they appeared in the test. I would assume that he had been studying for a while already and would have been familiar with all the problems that the white figure was writing on the board. Is it really that hard to believe it was just his subconscious working ?
As far as whether or not there wasn't an alternate explanation I think we can ask that of anything. Even if he studied it seems the dream itself played a role in him passing.

I don't really know enough about Ben Carson to speculate on whether it was satan instead of God. Ben Carson didn't pray for a cure for cancer here. Ben didn't say he got the answer key to the test, he said he saw the problems up on the board. Having the problem without the answer doesn't help you pass a test. There is another factor here not mentioned in the quote. Perhaps the robed figure was teaching. In which case it is not cheating to know the content that the test is meant to cover.

We pray "thy will be done" in the Lords prayer, as Jesus asked us to pray, because it isn't being done.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2019, 05:09:25 pm by Sanoy »

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TheCross

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Re: Intercessory prayer
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2019, 07:42:49 pm »
So, remember at the beginning of the post that you are directly responding to when I said:

Quote
This is a question for those that believe that God actually steps in to answer prayers.  Also as a note, this will likely only apply to things that are directly asked of God, so if you believe that prayer is just a means for you to talk to God and have a conversation rather than actually asking God for things, this will not apply to you.

Well, it appears that this post does not apply to you............

But your view of prayer raises many other different questions.  If "THY WILL BE DONE" is the most important part of the prayer, then why bother with the prayer at all.  It seems completely irrelevant to and redundant.  Ultimately, God is going to do whatever it is that God is going to do, and you are going to just sit there and accept any and all outcomes because how dare you have the arrogance to question God. 

God allowed your parents to die, how dare you have the arrogance to complain that from your limited perspective you find it abhorrent.  Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!

So what is the purpose now ?

Which is why I anwsered you the way I did, to open your assumptions.

In your view, it seems as though you belive god is a slot machine, and that the currency is the prayer.
No. Prayer is not something where we wish for an outcome, nor should a christian feel anything lacking if a prayer goes unanwsered, which is also why prayers should be conducted in the private, as a secret whisper to the one you hold most high.

The purpose of prayer is for us to humble ourselves and talk to the maker, we ask that he provides whatever we would like provided at the time, nobody on planet earth expects the prayer to be given because you qualify for it, we do not, and it's by his grace that we recieve blessings if he does anwser us, in wahtever way he deems beneficial to our growth and bond.

So, thy will be done is essentially the last sentence you should end with.
Gal 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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kravarnik

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Re: Intercessory prayer
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2019, 03:39:04 am »
Hey,

This is a question for those that believe that God actually steps in to answer prayers.  Also as a note, this will likely only apply to things that are directly asked of God, so if you believe that prayer is just a means for you to talk to God and have a conversation rather than actually asking God for things, this will not apply to you.

So with that said, how does God go about answering a prayer ?  Lets say for example that I prayed to pass my test tomorrow.  How does God go about answering that prayer ?  Does he:

- Grant me improved cognitive functions so I will better remember the material I am studying (wouldn't this be cheating, like taking steroids?)
- Get the teacher to write the questions that are the same as I actually remember (wouldn't this be a violation of the teachers free will ?)
- Change my answers after I write them to the correct ones (again cheating ?)

Etc.  I don't see a method where the prayer could be answered that doesn't result in the direct manipulation of someones will, or outright cheating.  Does someone see something I don't ?

What if I prayed to find my lost car keys ?  Does God move the keys to a place I can easily find them ?  Won't that backfire if I do remember where I left them after praying and go to look and they have been moved ?  Or would God know I would remember and not move the keys in that case ?  Wouldn't it be amazing if the missing keys were just popped into my hands while praying ?  Does he manipulate my brain to insert the location of the keys ? Is that ok because I asked for it, or is it a violation of my autonomy ?  If the former, why wouldn't God grant me other information when I prayed for it, like the cure to cancer or how to solve a complex math problem, why just the location of my keys ?

What if I prayed to win a sports championship.  Is that cheating ?  Does God grant my team an unfair advantage so we will win the game ?  What if the other team prayed too ?  Who does God help and why ?

I have other questions, but perhaps this is best for now.

Thoughts ?

You have somewhat false presumptions about what prayer is. Prayer is to commune with God and cooperate with Him. Sometimes prayers have to do with asking for a particular thing to happen, but often it doesn't have to do with something happening, but one is just expressing particular thoughts to God.


God is Personal, and as such, there are no mechanistic physics which we can ascribe to Him. Just like when you're about to ask your parents for something, you cannot mechanistically predict their reaction and answer: they are personal beings that can react as they see fit and as they will.



The same hold for God. Whether God would grant you something, depends on His Will and on what you're asking for. God's means of making a thing happen can be preternatural, supernatural or natural.

So, God could miraculously spawn the lost car keys in front of you(=supernatural); it could be so that He foreordained that you'll find your keys naturally by just looking carefully, for He has foreknown your prayer to find your keys from eternity(=natural); or He could make it so that something very unlikely happen, that isn't miraculous, but is also very improbable, to help you find your keys, say an earthquake hit and it shook your house the right way, as to have the keys fall right in front of you before your eyes(=preternatural).
"And even if you crush my body and drain it 'til the last drop - you can never touch my spirit, you can never touch my soul. No matter how bleak or how hopeless, no matter how hard or how far - you can never break my conation. Tear the will apart from desire." Insomnium - Weather the storm

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lapwing

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Re: Intercessory prayer
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2019, 02:23:02 pm »
This is a good question that Johan has raised - it doesn't have easy answers. I would be reluctant to pray for things that give me an unfair advantage over others such as a sports competition. It would also depend on whether a test result was determined by an absolute standard or grade boundaries determined by cohort performance. So it would be ok to pray to pass a driving test but not an exam where grades are accorded to percentages of students. So ok to pray to find your car keys but not to find a parking space (at someone else's expense).

But in the Bible we are urged to pray for more spiritual things:

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 11“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for f a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”  Lk 11:9-13

For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15from whom every family a in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph 3:14-19
For by one sacrifice Jesus has made perfect forever those who are being sanctified.

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