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What's the point of praying for others?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
    You said that not to care or pray for them when praying for greater empathy is selfish. How exactly am I mis-reading you?
    Because you pray to learn to care for others. You don't pray to show you care for them. is that so hard to grasp?

    and I agree with CP. this is something important and not something to troll about.

    Why do you pray for others?

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
      I saw how it came from SB, Spart.... and please forgive me for not believing, but I think you have a tendency to argue just for the sake of arguing. This is an INCREDIBLY important subject to me, and I have just had the feeling you're "playing". When I saw your "trolling is fun" comment, it seemed to support my suspicion.

      Again, I'm sorry if I am misjudging you on this, but something inside me says you're just playing.
      This is a serious thread, and I have serious questions about the theology of prayer, even if I don't know how to express them in a way you can easily understand.
      Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
        Because you pray to learn to care for others. You don't pray to show you care for them. is that so hard to grasp?
        Then why is praying for compassion toward others but not actually praying for them selfish? You said it was in post #22.

        Why do you pray for others?
        Honestly? Because people tell me I should. I can see why praying for them can be an expression of compassion and might, through God's grace, help me grow in compassion, but I don't see what purpose it serves in itself.
        Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Spartacus View Post
          Then why is praying for compassion toward others but not actually praying for them selfish? You said it was in post #22.
          Because if all you are concerned about is yourself and how "compassionate" you are, and not about the person, then you are not actually compassionate at all. You are just wanting something for yourself. And that is selfish.


          Honestly? Because people tell me I should. I can see why praying for them can be an expression of compassion and might, through God's grace, help me grow in compassion, but I don't see what purpose it serves in itself.
          So if people told you to jump off a cliff you would?

          To me, the purpose it serves is to change me and make me more like Jesus. Not talking about just wanting to be more compassionate, but actually BEING more compassionate. It helps me to understand them better. It helps me to let go of anger and frustration. It makes me want to help them. It makes me love them.

          Think of someone in your life that you are angry with, or dislike a lot (I hope it isn't me!) and pray for them, and their wellbeing. Meditate upon them and ask God to help you understand them better. I think you will find yourself liking them better, a bit more each time you pray for them. Praying will change you. And when they see your change in attitude towards them, it will change them too.

          Now as far as praying for others for healing and such, I know God knows the future and has a plan for everyone so you might wonder what good would prayer do in that case? Well, prayer could be part of God's plan. He wants people to pray for someone's healing for example, and uses that to affect all of those who are involved and even those who are not.

          When my dad had a stroke, the doctors said that he would probably die in a coma, and even if he woke up he would probably be a vegetable. I was not a Christian at the time but my mom was, and the elders from her church came over and prayed over my dad and stayed with him and my mother (my dad wasn't a Christian either). Her whole church prayed for him and she drug me along and even I prayed although I didn't believe.

          He woke up after a week or so, and began to recover. The doctors were amazed. I was amazed. Because of prayer, my dad got better. And he became a Christian, and I became a Christian, and some of his old VFW drinking buddies became Christians, and my brother and his wife and son did too, as well as at least a dozen people in his family. So although God knew what was going to happen, he used prayer to bring a lot of people to him.

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          • #35
            Because God wants us to participate in the salvation of others. I read something good recently on this subject by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), from a series on prayer; the relevant portion can be found here:

            http://www.pravmir.com/prayer-xi-pra...#ixzz3Gjy43miT

            I think it is the same reason that God asks us to help the poor. He could just magically create food ex nihilo in the homes of people who are hungry, but he wants human beings to help and serve one another in love. He uses people to help people because he wants to allow us to participate in his work. It is like the metaphor (not of my invention) of a small child helping his or her father build something by holding the hammer. The child's father's hand is also on the hammer and is providing most of the guiding and force to the tool, but the child is then able to say, "I helped Daddy build a _____." That act of doing something together is what God as a loving Father desires, and in his love he also celebrates and honors our participation in it, even if our actual involvement is so small compared to God's work that it is like placing a few grains of wheat onto a cart completely loaded with grain (another metaphor that is not mine).

            I do completely agree with what has been said already by OBP and Sparko about the way that prayer for others changes one's own attitude towards the other person. But that is not the only reason we pray for others, or else prayer would be merely a mental trick that has no bearing on anything or anyone outside oneself.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Sparrow View Post
              Because God wants us to participate in the salvation of others. I read something good recently on this subject by Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeyev), from a series on prayer; the relevant portion can be found here:

              http://www.pravmir.com/prayer-xi-pra...#ixzz3Gjy43miT

              I think it is the same reason that God asks us to help the poor. He could just magically create food ex nihilo in the homes of people who are hungry, but he wants human beings to help and serve one another in love. He uses people to help people because he wants to allow us to participate in his work. It is like the metaphor (not of my invention) of a small child helping his or her father build something by holding the hammer. The child's father's hand is also on the hammer and is providing most of the guiding and force to the tool, but the child is then able to say, "I helped Daddy build a _____." That act of doing something together is what God as a loving Father desires, and in his love he also celebrates and honors our participation in it, even if our actual involvement is so small compared to God's work that it is like placing a few grains of wheat onto a cart completely loaded with grain (another metaphor that is not mine).


              I do completely agree with what has been said already by OBP and Sparko about the way that prayer for others changes one's own attitude towards the other person. But that is not the only reason we pray for others, or else prayer would be merely a mental trick that has no bearing on anything or anyone outside oneself.
              Of course it's not the only reason (and arguably should not be the main reason), but it is in addition to the reasons we would pray for ourselves. The 'golden rule' is not inapt here, with the caveat that it should not be misread to imply that we should do something for others because we hope they'll do so in return.
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              • #37
                I might be in another camp compared to Sparko and Cow_Poke... or I might have misunderstood what they're suggesting.

                When I pray for someone I'm not engaging in a merely pedagogical exercise that's meant to make me more loving, sympathetic towards them, I'm requesting God show greater mercy: healing, forgiving them, helping their circumstances, help them build character. In response to my humble request if its in His Will.

                If I'm engaging someone I pray for both of us, that our meeting will be fruitful.

                I'm not saying CP or Sparko meant it any different, but it wasn't clear.

                I do believe our prayers are effectual. God listens to our prayer, and if we're persistant often He blesses us.

                Edit: Saw CP posts above, we're in agreement.
                Last edited by Leonhard; 10-22-2014, 10:57 AM.

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                • #38
                  Thanks for the responses, all. I'll think about them for a few days and let y'all know if I have further questions.
                  Don't call it a comeback. It's a riposte.

                  Comment

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