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    Christian Advice Requested - Thread: What Good is Prayer?

    1. #11
      Stravinsk is offline Composer and Artist on Flat Earth
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      In fairness to the text of my original quote, and the fact that I have and do occasionally pray for members of this site (although it may not always be evident through the "pray" button - which I don't think I've used (or will use)), and in general -

      The title of this thread "what good is prayer?" is not really what I was aiming for as a suitable summary for the points I raised. I do pray, and I find it helpful.

      What I can gather so far is that no one (forgive if I missed it) is really answering the first question in my quote:

      "May I ask (and in spirit of those kinds of prayers that ask for instant healing, assurances of things that may not be true etc) - what kind of witness Christians hope to share when and if those prayers are not answered to their liking?"

      The reason I phrased the question this way is because prayers for certain things (like healings) fall remarkably short of Yeshua's healings in the bible - and His disciples healings in the bible. Do not use the excuse that they were "more special" -because according to His own teachings - real followers of Him get results.

      Some people answer that God simply has determined it's time for some to "come home" with regards to terminal illness (especially if they are at earlier stages in life), or say that the answer to prayers of healing for them is simply "no".

      Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer through cancer or other terminal illness (and more acutely - watched them suffer even more with the so called "treatments" that they receive from the medical establishment) - cannot tell me that they honestly all believe in a loving Creator who has deemed millions of people suffer the lot of Job - and for no reason at all except as some sort of test of devotion - or to "bring them home quicker" - because it's getting lonely in Heaven? Who knows.

      To me this is neither consistent with the character of a loving God nor is it consistent with the Faith of Yeshua, nor of the apostles who never failed to deliver in the healing area - except in cases of Yeshua and certain unbelieving towns (whole groups of people, apparently) where it's not even said He tried but just that He couldn't as there was so little faith in them.

      I've long thought modern lack of healings in Christianity had to do with non-Sabbath observance - because if you look - nearly all the healings of Christ were done on Sabbath - and in Acts with the disciples this is also so. If there is preaching in the synagogues where the Jews are, or the disciples are on their way - it's the Sabbath - as there is no other day for them to be gathered in a Synagogue or the Temple - unless it is a Jewish holy day (also Sabbaths).

      I still think this is part of it. Most people (Except Adventists and others who think they are keeping the correct day in good conscience) wearing the Christian mantel are also rebels with regard to this particular day. Active and antagonistic rebels, some of them - some who would even claim Yeshua as their example - by believing the Jews accusations that he was actually breaking the command! If so - their "savior" is not a sinless one - and is hence a type of false Christ.

      But there is something more.

      Many of the diseases that plague western society in particular (and through the influence of companies worldwide - now plague other nations) come down to what we consume. This is now an established fact.

      The original diet given to man was completely herbivorous. Plants, trees, their fruit and their seed. What does this tell us? According to the original plan of God we weren't designed to eat animals at all. However - there was a great great rebellion before the flood and man had become exceedingly evil - so bad that God deemed it necessary to wipe all humans off the earth save Noah and his family. It is after this period that God says "ok - you can now eat animals - but here are the rules".

      Man's physical design did not change between pre-flood and post flood. We were created as herbivores according to the bible - and nothing physiologically changed after the flood. The human body can consume, digest and get nutrients from meat - but only in a way that no other animal - carnivore or omnivore does - we have to cook it so we don't get sick. All of our physical characteristics class us as herbivores - from intestine length to teeth to how we move our jaw to lack of claws for tearing our prey.

      The frustration of my post and some of the things I mentioned directly reflect these things. As humans - we are meant to consume whole foods - plant based foods. And of the plant based foods - we are certainly not meant to greatly separate them in order to sell their individual parts for more money (refined sugar vs molasses) or for longer shelf life ( taking out the bran and germ in grains like wheat ).

      Refined foods (foods that have great decreases in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein), chemical foods (additives like Aspartame and others) and getting all or most of our vitamin, mineral and protein needs through animal foods (B vitamins, iron etc or calcium from cow milk)

      - are the reasons I believe the western world is suffering epidemics of all kinds of disease from diabetes to heart disease to cancer. These are the base or causal reasons and it is to plants we must look in general for the cure (and sometimes, special ones like Cannabis that has properties in it that if consumed as intended (eaten) greatly speeds up the healing.


      Getting back to how this ties in to prayer:

      As a Deist, I firmly believe that God does not break His own Design except in special circumstances. This is one of the things that makes some of the miracles in the Bible so special. But they are not the norm - they are done for reasons. When it comes to design issues and diseases arising from rebellion against design:

      Scurvy: Refusing all plant foods will result in lack of Vitamin C - humans (unlike carnivores) don't make it - we need to eat it from the plant world - so scurvy is brought on by rebellion against design!
      Pellagra and BeriBeri are also brought on by B vitamin nutritional deficiencies when grains are refined (their parts are separated from each other). In Pellagra (niacin deficiency) the germ is removed from the corn in making cornmeal. In beriberi(thiamine deficiency) -it's the husk of rice that's removed - both of these are examples of messing with nature that results in a disease from a deficiency.

      Rebellion against Design results in a greater chance of disease.

      God is not going to change his Design to fit humans. So a person who refuses all plant foods and develops scurvy - they have brought it on themselves - the only prayers that are of use is the one that leads the person to the knowledge that plants containing vitamin C help their condition.

      Magic healing prayers in Jesus name will not work - if they are done in a context of rebellion against design!

      God is not going to change his Design to fit humans. A diet that is high in processed, refined and chemical foods and meats is not how God designed humans. Most of our modern diseases are a direct result of degrees of rebellion against design. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, clogged arteries, cancer - come from our dietary habits, exposure to chemicals - and in infants - mostly from their mother's dietary habits or exposure to chemicals.


      These are design issues - and so far in human history - God doesn't provide the greater answer for the masses in any other form - His design. Not miracles - And Christians don't get a free pass.

    2. #12
      Josiah's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Stravinsk View Post
      The title of this thread "what good is prayer?" is not really what I was aiming for as a suitable summary for the points I raised.

      Forgive me if I broadened the discussion a bit. But note that I did state as a question for the thread, "What about unanswered prayer?"

      If you want a different title, let me know, it can be changed.



      "May I ask (and in spirit of those kinds of prayers that ask for instant healing, assurances of things that may not be true etc) - what kind of witness Christians hope to share when and if those prayers are not answered to their liking?"
      The reason I phrased the question this way is because prayers for certain things (like healings) fall remarkably short of Yeshua's healings in the bible - and His disciples healings in the bible. Do not use the excuse that they were "more special" -because according to His own teachings - real followers of Him get results. Some people answer that God simply has determined it's time for some to "come home" with regards to terminal illness (especially if they are at earlier stages in life), or say that the answer to prayers of healing for them is simply "no". Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer through cancer or other terminal illness (and more acutely - watched them suffer even more with the so called "treatments" that they receive from the medical establishment) - cannot tell me that they honestly all believe in a loving Creator who has deemed millions of people suffer the lot of Job - and for no reason at all except as some sort of test of devotion - or to "bring them home quicker" - because it's getting lonely in Heaven? Who knows.

      Again, I accept that this is a valid question. And I think several here (including me) attempted to address it. I predicted that I doubted anything offered would be definitive or possibly accepted to you, but I DO think there are already been several various attempts to address it. I hope others will chime in.





      But there is something more. Many of the diseases that plague western society in particular (and through the influence of companies worldwide - now plague other nations) come down to what we consume. This is now an established fact.
      The original diet given to man was completely herbivorous. Plants, trees, their fruit and their seed. What does this tell us? According to the original plan of God we weren't designed to eat animals at all. However - there was a great great rebellion before the flood and man had become exceedingly evil - so bad that God deemed it necessary to wipe all humans off the earth save Noah and his family. It is after this period that God says "ok - you can now eat animals - but here are the rules". Man's physical design did not change between pre-flood and post flood. We were created as herbivores according to the bible - and nothing physiologically changed after the flood. The human body can consume, digest and get nutrients from meat - but only in a way that no other animal - carnivore or omnivore does - we have to cook it so we don't get sick. All of our physical characteristics class us as herbivores - from intestine length to teeth to how we move our jaw to lack of claws for tearing our prey.
      The frustration of my post and some of the things I mentioned directly reflect these things. As humans - we are meant to consume whole foods - plant based foods. And of the plant based foods - we are certainly not meant to greatly separate them in order to sell their individual parts for more money (refined sugar vs molasses) or for longer shelf life ( taking out the bran and germ in grains like wheat ). Refined foods (foods that have great decreases in vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein), chemical foods (additives like Aspartame and others) and getting all or most of our vitamin, mineral and protein needs through animal foods (B vitamins, iron etc or calcium from cow milk) - are the reasons I believe the western world is suffering epidemics of all kinds of disease from diabetes to heart disease to cancer. These are the base or causal reasons and it is to plants we must look in general for the cure (and sometimes, special ones like Cannabis that has properties in it that if consumed as intended (eaten) greatly speeds up the healing.

      Interesting, but friend, I just don't see an obvious connection to PRAYER and the issue of "answering" of such. Perhaps this needs a separate thread.






      Magic healing prayers in Jesus name will not work - if they are done in a context of rebellion against design! God is not going to change his Design to fit humans. A diet that is high in processed, refined and chemical foods and meats is not how God designed humans. Most of our modern diseases are a direct result of degrees of rebellion against design. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes, clogged arteries, cancer - come from our dietary habits, exposure to chemicals - and in infants - mostly from their mother's dietary habits or exposure to chemicals. These are design issues - and so far in human history - God doesn't provide the greater answer for the masses in any other form - His design. Not miracles - And Christians don't get a free pass.

      A valid point.....


      Thank you!


      - Josiah
      We are justified by works - just not our own.

    3. #13
      jsimms435's Avatar
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      I think we have to get away from the idea that prayer is somehow about telling God what to do or informing God about something. God doesn't need information from me. Neither, as Sovereign God do I tell him what to do. I share my concerns with him and the burdens on my heart, but the ultimate issue of how a prayer is answered is God's decision not mine. I

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    5. #14
      Stravinsk is offline Composer and Artist on Flat Earth
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      What I find with many religious people is that too many just want to be comforted with lies. That's Jew and Gentile alike - and probably almost all people to some extent. So the prayers reflect that. When the miracles don't manifest because of their rebellious heart they not only can be tempted to hate God but they do a discredit to the name of their religion.

      So it is with the Prophets - as Yeshua said. The people telling them the truth they murder in favor of people that will flatter them.

    6. #15
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      This issue of prayer is perhaps the most difficult for me. I have to go to our Lord's prayers to try get an understanding of its function. In Yeshua we see him giving praise and seeking the Father's care for his children. I don't see Yeshua praying for healing, even though he could heal as he willed. I see Yeshua telling us to pray and sharing the illustration of a father giving gifts to his children. In some passages it seems that all we have to do is ask and our Father will respond. In other passages it is suggested that is true unless we ask amiss.
      Experience shows me that God rarely heals in a miraculous way when our bodies break down. Instead, God uses medicines to help slow the breakdown or he just let's the breakdown take place for reasons only he knows.
      I will share the past 8 years of my life when God chose to allow waves of sorrow to crash upon me.
      The first crash started when my sister-in-law was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She started chemo and radiation because surgery was not an option. Shortly after this, my brother's first child was born and it was discovered he had an incurable genetic disease (SMA-type 1, is like Lou Gerhig's disease for children). As we were praying for healing in two areas, my brother (who was married to my sister-in-law with the tumor) suddenly died from a heart attack. God chose not to heal my nephew, Josiah, and he died in December of the same year.
      Praise God, my sister-in-law's tumor shrank, but she could no longer work. God provided funds to help her.
      In 2011 my other brother had another child, this time a girl, but God made her with SMA as well. We again prayed that God would heal. Later that year, I was laid-off from the job I loved. This lead to 4 years of struggle to find a job. I had too much experience. I had to reinvent my career.
      In 2013 my brother had another child, his son was also born with SMA (the odds were one-in-four and all three had SMA). We prayed for healing and my brother and his wife worked harder than any parents could to care for their children. Every decision was only to try comfort and prolong a life given to them by a loving God.
      In the summer of 2013 my dad was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. He died 6 weeks after the diagnosis. In the fall my mother-in-law died from heart failure. In March of 2014 my nephew died due to SMA. His sister was stronger. Turns out girls with SMA tend to be stronger.
      In the summer of 2014 my sister-in-law's tumor came back. Chemo and radiation would not help, but she fought. She lost her battle the next year.
      Bright spot. In 2015 God gave me a full-time job, which I still have. Praise God.
      In the spring of 2016, my niece died after she had to either have surgery or die in pain due to complications with other body functions.
      In all these things we prayed and we prayed. We poured out our hearts for miraculous healing. God chose not to heal.
      I have a brother and sister-in-law who are the greatest parents I have ever met, but no longer have living children. I have two nephews that have no parents. I miss my dad and mother-in-law. I have grieved deeply all these years.
      I still believe in prayer. But, I don't understand it. I have read book after book after book on prayer, but I still don't really understand prayer.
      I understand faith. I am grateful for all the dark threads God has brought to me and my family. I know that these dark threads come from a good God who has chosen to love me and my family. I have come to understand that if God only saved me from my sin and did nothing else, it would be an act of love greater than I deserve. It is enough. I am content.
      I will one day be with God in heaven and all my loved ones will be there worshipping God. God simply brought them home before me. My purpose on earth is not yet over.
      What I know is that my experiences give me an audience that will listen when I tell them that God will provide all our needs. God will bring us through the valley. God will give us the daily grace to persevere in faith. God will sanctify us and make us more like Jesus. I tell them this truth:
      God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
      I still don't understand prayer, but I understand God is a very good God!

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    8. #16
      Wilhemena's Avatar
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      Our Father expects us to pray as any father would expect his child to come to him at times of need or even to merely say thank you and whether we receive an answer we want or not is not the purpose of prayer life. It is communication and directs us back to Him who has great mercy when we do not see it or understand it.

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    10. #17
      MennoSota is offline Expert Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Wilhemena View Post
      Our Father expects us to pray as any father would expect his child to come to him at times of need or even to merely say thank you and whether we receive an answer we want or not is not the purpose of prayer life. It is communication and directs us back to Him who has great mercy when we do not see it or understand it.
      This is all well and good.
      What do you do when your Father stays silent as you pray?
      Prayer is not like a parlor conversation with your dad around a topic.
      While God is our Father, he is also the Sovereign King. He is majestic beyond our understanding. (Read Ezekiel 1 to get just a glimpse of the Almighty.) To be in his presence is to be in awe, to cry out "woe is me a man of unclean lips."
      Have you experienced the utter silence of God? This is a part of prayer that was hard to understand, yet in God's Sovereignty perfectly within His right. Somehow, in God's deep love, silence in the process of sanctification is necessary. We will not know why. We will only need to trust God's perfect plan and process.
      So...yes, you are right, but there is more, so much more that is mysterious to me.

    11. #18
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      https://utmost.org/the-purpose-of-prayer/
      Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.
      “Ask, and you will receive…” (John 16:24). We complain before God, and sometimes we are apologetic or indifferent to Him, but we actually ask Him for very few things. Yet a child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask! Our Lord said, “…unless you…become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3). Ask and God will do. Give Jesus Christ the opportunity and the room to work. The problem is that no one will ever do this until he is at his wits’ end. When a person is at his wits’ end, it no longer seems to be a cowardly thing to pray; in fact, it is the only way he can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself. Be yourself before God and present Him with your problems— the very things that have brought you to your wits’ end. But as long as you think you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.
      To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.

    12. #19
      Asuk is offline Rookie Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post

      Christians, why pray?
      For forgiveness and to give praise to the lord.

      What about unanswered prayer?
      You asked for something that wasn’t in his divine plan.

      Can there be a "false hope" in prayer?
      If you asked for something that wasn’t in his divine plan and expected to get it then yes.

    13. #20
      hedrick is offline Apprentice Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by Josiah View Post
      It's a good valid question .... and one I think a lot of agnostics raised. Some Christians do, too! I think it was Mark Twain who commented that when he was a boy, he prayed for a fish hook but didn't get it - and that taught him that there ain't no God and no use in praying.
      ... edited for brevity, but I'm thinking of the whole posting
      My first reaction is that this it the best answer we're going to get.

      But I can't help thinking about Mark 11:24

      "So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

      I've never been attracted to Pentecostalism, but they're right that Jesus seemed to heal on demand, and sent out his followers to do the same.
      Last edited by hedrick; 08-06-2018 at 06:50 PM.

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