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Prayer

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  • Prayer

    Hi All,

    I have been thinking about this one quite a bit and I have come to the conclusion that I don't feel like I know how to pray. As a former Catholic, I used to just say the standard prayers (e.g. Lord's prayer, Hail Mary, etc.) I found this to be a bit routine and it was hard to keep focus.

    To put it succinctly, how are we supposed to pray?

    Also, I have to admit that a lot of times I wonder about prayer. How am I supposed to believe that my prayers will actually change "God's will"? It almost seems like either a futile exercise or overstepping my place as the creation in that who am I to ask for anything.

    Thanks for the insight

    Best

    E771

  • #2
    Originally posted by element771 View Post
    Hi All,

    I have been thinking about this one quite a bit and I have come to the conclusion that I don't feel like I know how to pray. As a former Catholic, I used to just say the standard prayers (e.g. Lord's prayer, Hail Mary, etc.) I found this to be a bit routine and it was hard to keep focus.

    To put it succinctly, how are we supposed to pray?

    Also, I have to admit that a lot of times I wonder about prayer. How am I supposed to believe that my prayers will actually change "God's will"? It almost seems like either a futile exercise or overstepping my place as the creation in that who am I to ask for anything.

    Thanks for the insight

    Best

    E771
    Prayers show your trust in God and your love for Him and for your fellow man. They should not be attempts to change God's will, as if that were possible, or to try to force Him into doing something you want. I have been constantly irritated by people who tell me to "hold God to His Word", as if He would ever betray it. Just pray and ask God to forgive your sins and to be merciful on you and those you love, and the rest will work itself out.
    That's what
    - She

    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
    - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
    Stephen R. Donaldson

    Comment


    • #3
      Its good to pray to God and to ask for His favours. I think God will give you what you need, more often than what you want, so don't try to guess what comes. I think the best prayers, aside from forgiveness, are all prayers about us fulfilling His will. The connection between our petitions and His Divine Will is a mystery. We know that He often answers prayers, but we also know that His will can't be changed. So somehow, we pray because its in His will that we do this.

      Jesus often asked us to pray for the things that we need, and to do this with constancy, especially for things that are Good such as spiritual things.

      Comment


      • #4
        I agree with both of you. Obviously prayer is not supposed to be a laundry list of things that one wants. I understand completely the need to give thanks and pray for forgiveness of sins. I guess that there are times where I feel "thy will be done" outweighs anything that I could petition. To be honest, I feel that my prayers are just empty these days. Maybe it is something in the air.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by element771 View Post
          I agree with both of you. Obviously prayer is not supposed to be a laundry list of things that one wants. I understand completely the need to give thanks and pray for forgiveness of sins. I guess that there are times where I feel "thy will be done" outweighs anything that I could petition. To be honest, I feel that my prayers are just empty these days. Maybe it is something in the air.
          That's one of the main reasons I have such a hard time with Evangelical churches these days. They feed off of emotion, and when emotions fade, as they always do, there is very little to fall back on. My daughters attended a youth group that was ALL about the "holy boo-hoo" at the altar. I had a lot of work to teach them that your relationship with the Lord has very little to do with your emotions, and that while they are a nice addition, they are not an indication of the depth of your faith. Just remember the basics. God is sovereign and His Word is true. He is faithful and just, and He will never leave you or forsake you. Seek to really and deeply know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And when you get past the feelings, you will see the contentment of sure knowledge based on who He is, not how you feel about Him.

          That's what
          - She

          Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
          - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

          I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
          Stephen R. Donaldson

          Comment


          • #6
            Prayer should be sincere, and only go for as long as needful (I am not opposed to long prayer meetings, it may be needful to pray for hours, but cease if it is no longer sincere), our God doesn't withold blessings based on our wording, so I simply thank him for what he's done, what he will do, and remind myself of His promises and thank Him that He is not a liar as men are.
            Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith? -Galatians 3:5

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by element771 View Post
              I agree with both of you. Obviously prayer is not supposed to be a laundry list of things that one wants. I understand completely the need to give thanks and pray for forgiveness of sins. I guess that there are times where I feel "thy will be done" outweighs anything that I could petition. To be honest, I feel that my prayers are just empty these days. Maybe it is something in the air.
              I'm not saying that this is your situation, but in my experience, my prayers have felt empty when there was something unresolved between me and God. Once I righted the wrong (generally repentance and confession of some sin), my prayers were revitalized.
              Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

              Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
              sigpic
              I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                I'm not saying that this is your situation, but in my experience, my prayers have felt empty when there was something unresolved between me and God. Once I righted the wrong (generally repentance and confession of some sin), my prayers were revitalized.
                It may be but I can't imagine what I have not confessed to or am not repentant of. I would love if he could just fill me in on this one.

                A quick anecdote: I remember about 6 years ago when I was having a serious crisis of faith. I was at church for my daughters baptism which was around Christmas. I turned saw the standard manger scene. I was suddenly washed with a sense of God's presence and it wasn't pretty. I felt like a dirty, small, insignificant piece of a human. I quickly realized that God's love is so intense that if you are exposed to it, you are left standing there in all of your insignificant glory. I have never felt so "small" before. The point of this is to say that I am under no false illusion that I am worthy of anything much less God's grace.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by element771 View Post
                  It may be but I can't imagine what I have not confessed to or am not repentant of. I would love if he could just fill me in on this one.
                  Usually, I would just ask God to show me what the problem was, and it wouldn't take long to come to mind.
                  A quick anecdote: I remember about 6 years ago when I was having a serious crisis of faith. I was at church for my daughters baptism which was around Christmas. I turned saw the standard manger scene. I was suddenly washed with a sense of God's presence and it wasn't pretty. I felt like a dirty, small, insignificant piece of a human. I quickly realized that God's love is so intense that if you are exposed to it, you are left standing there in all of your insignificant glory. I have never felt so "small" before. The point of this is to say that I am under no false illusion that I am worthy of anything much less God's grace.
                  In God's grace, he does not show us more than we can bear.
                  Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                  Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                  sigpic
                  I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The idea that God's will cannot be changed by prayer -- which has been referenced multiple times above -- is a false doctrine. The Bible often describes God's will being changed by prayer. And it specifically notes that some answers to prayer do not occur solely because the prayers are never made.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                      The idea that God's will cannot be changed by prayer -- which has been referenced multiple times above -- is a false doctrine.
                      No it isn't.

                      1 Sam 15:29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind”


                      The Bible often describes God's will being changed by prayer.
                      No it absolutely doesn't. It shows His immutability to punish sin and reward repentance.

                      And it specifically notes that some answers to prayer do not occur solely because the prayers are never made.
                      That still does not change the will of God. His will is tied to His omniscience and immutability.
                      That's what
                      - She

                      Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                      - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                      I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                      Stephen R. Donaldson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bill the Cat
                        No it isn't.
                        James 4:2
                        . . . yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

                        2 Kings 20
                        1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, 3 I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord.

                        1 Sam 15:29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind”
                        There are plenty examples in the Bible of God changing his mind. The verse you quoted does not mean that he never will change his mind, only that he will not change his mind in that particular case. Furthermore, we are not even discussing a situation where God has made up his mind on something in the first place, so your citation about God's mind being changed is basically irrelevant to the discussion.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
                          James 4:2
                          . . . yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
                          Meaning that it is in God's mind that if we ask, He will give. If we do not ask, He will not. There is no change of mind there.

                          2 Kings 20
                          1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, 3 I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, 5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord.
                          Again, God punishes the wicked, but rewards the penitent. This is not a change of GOD'S mind, it is a changing of Hezekiah's mind into a different circumstance that God ordains. Stay in sin and God punishes. Repent, and He doesn't.


                          There are plenty examples in the Bible of God changing his mind.
                          No there aren't. There are examples of PEOPLE changing their minds and aligning themselves with a different part of God's immutable character. Those who change their minds to wickedness change their status under God to being under His judgment. Those who change their minds to righteousness change their status under God to being under His mercy. God does not change. We do.

                          The verse you quoted does not mean that he never will change his mind, only that he will not change his mind in that particular case.
                          No it doesn't. It means that He does not change His mind.

                          Furthermore, we are not even discussing a situation where God has made up his mind on something in the first place, so your citation about God's mind being changed is basically irrelevant to the discussion.
                          God's mind is always "made up". He is merciful to those who repent and wrathful to those who don't.
                          That's what
                          - She

                          Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                          - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                          I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                          Stephen R. Donaldson

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Prayer is a conversation with God. You can start but just talking to him about your day or how you feel, what you think. I think the value of the Lord's Prayer, other than the fact that so many know it, is in the order and kind of things covered. Acknowledging God, thanking Him, talking about spiritual and physical well-being, things like that. As you pray more, you might try to look at what they different parts of it do and follow that.

                            I don't know if we will change God's mind in one sense, but in another, sometimes we have to be changed before He can change His answer.
                            I am become death...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bill the Cat
                              No it doesn't. It means that He does not change His mind.
                              Jonah 3:10
                              And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

                              Comment

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