Author Topic: Thoughts on Prayer  (Read 1282 times)

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Paul Hazelwood

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Thoughts on Prayer
« on: July 11, 2008, 06:57:22 AM »

Just throwing this out there for thoughts.

Has anyone watched or read much about "The Secret".  I have not watched or read any official material,  only read things from others.  My aim in this post is not to rail on about something I don't know much about.

However, if the idea is positive thinking and the "law of attraction"  I find a very disheartening relationship between that and some Christian churches idea of Prayer.

I do not pretend to have the final word on prayer.  But I am willing to learn in areas where I may be wrong.

In general, I once rejected the idea of the cliche of "if it be Gods will"  that I heard growing up. 

I think why I rejected it was not because of its untruth, but because of the callous way it was used to explain things that happened that were bad, rather than seeking  scripture to help us understand the nature of God and how he uses everything.

Now I am confronted with the teachings of a friend that I believe is wrong.  I believe the nature in which prayer is taught is unrealistic and can only cause more people to feel like they cannot please God enough to get what they want.

If Jesus example tells me anything its we must pray according to what must happen in Gods will.  I believe that my friend is teaching prayer to be this genie in a bottle so to speak and that if we close our eyes and believe enough then we will get anything we want.  This is especially so concerning prayer of agreement between two people.

I believe that this teaching is no different than "the secret" where positive thinking will get us anything we want to be prosperous.

I feel the measure of success and the reasonings for failure are the same.   Basically with prayer, if you get answered prayer it is because you was faithful, and if you don't get an answer to prayer the way you wanted, then you did not believe strongly enough.   The secret is no different, I have heard the exact same things for its successes and failures.  Of course upon failure, they just didn't think and believe positively enough.

I do not "believe" in science.  But what I do think is that the Law of Averages could show that you could take a group of people say 100 or so,  tell them to rub their stomach and head that the same time and chant to the hairy God mother to grant a wish and you could find a number of people in that group whos wish was granted by the Hairy God mother.  It could be said that those who did not get their wish simply did not believe enough in the Hairy God mother.

I know a couple of people personally who have incurable diseases who are convinced that there is something in their life that they themselves need to overcome in order for God to step in and heal them.  My heart goes out to them as I wish that they be healed to, but I also see how others are affected positively by their lives and see purpose in them that they cannot see.

So I would like some discussion on prayer,  please, I do not mind weblinks and I will not try to force anyone to refrain from posting them, but I would really like your own words on how you view prayer, what YOU really believe, what is your prayer life like.

Mine personally is that sometimes I am scared.  Flat out scared.   I read verses where God is going to give us an experience of evil in order to humble us.  My faith is not at the point where I can rejoice in that, and I feel powerless at times.   My family and I have been through trials and made it through and that gives me some encouragment, but then I wonder, what may be next.

I cannot see in scripture that if I just believe enough that these things can be prevented from happening.  I get mixed feelings because the teachings of this Genie in a Bottle God are quite convincing.

I see that it is OK to petition God for what we desire.   Jesus not only prayed once, but twice, petitioning God that what was going to happen would pass, that there be some other way to get the Job done,  but in the end it was Gods Will that he prayed for, even though he wanted it to be Gods will that his Cup before him pass.

I am partly there,  I ask for things and I know that God is in control, I want things, but in my heart I believe that I am starting to want to see Gods will be done regaurdless of my wishes.  I still struggle,  but I really am rejecting this pray for anything mentality as if God can be convinced to give us what we want, rather than to be drawn to want the will he has planned.

I hope I was not just rambling on, but  if I am wrong or there are things I need to learn, or, maybe indeed God is the genie in a bottle,  I am willing to be taught that which I do not know.


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Re: Thoughts on Prayer
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2008, 10:13:39 AM »
Jesus did indicate that if you faithfully followed the plan of God for your life, kept and treasured and built your life upon His Word, then you'd have whatever you said (Mark 11:22-26).  I could find probably a dozen different times that that was said in a dozen different ways throughout the New Testament.  Even if the sky were the limit on things, provided you were sticking really close to the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and the plan of God for your life -- it's definitely not in our timing. 

Jesus did say that if your house wasn't built upon the Word when the storms of life came, then inspite of all of your moans for God's mercy, you were most assuredly going down worse than the Titanic!  He didn't teach that God was there whenever you needed Him, but to repent and take His yoke upon you and to learn of Him and that from that you'd eventually have rest for your soul.

At the same time, more people probably become athiests over the subject of prayer than over anything else.  I try not to worry too much any more about whether I'm walking in all of the light that I have and other things that people say are hindrances 'cause after a while, if it's not of grace so that it would be of faith, then I might as well grab an animal and a butcher knife like they did in the Old Testament and horrify us all if it's about something that I'm supposed to do other than to simply abide in Him. 

The Bible does specify principles.  It does seem to specify very specific principles, in addition to telling you to do all that He's telling you to do.  But heck if I know anybody that it's consistently working for!  It would be nice to know if any of it is working for anyone beyond the level of peace, hope, love, and joy in their heart about the past and the future.  I'd honestly have renewed joy and hope if I honestly personally knew anyone that it was consistently working for -- even if it were just 10% of the time.  I'd ask them to pray their 9 prayers that were going to bomb and then to pray for me with that tenth :icon_jokercolor:

« Last Edit: July 11, 2008, 10:19:58 AM by martincisneros »


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Re: Thoughts on Prayer
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2008, 09:06:24 PM »
Hi guys!
I have to say that this is something that I feel I need to be working on myself. I don't pray out loud anymore, unless someone specifically asks me to in order to join in agreement.

I don't follow nor repeat the Lord's prayer, except for ending with "let Your Will be done."  It still feels like repitition to me and my heart immediately goes to sleep during the recitation.

I know that God hears my every thought.

I have "conversations" with Him all day long in my mind usually initiated by me. Sometimes it seems, however, that He just interupts my thinking and basically directs my thoughts to study a particular subject in scripture, or to prompt me to ask a particular person a question.  In this way, I believe, God is "initiating" a conversation with me.

What I believe is missing in the puzzle ....the thing that I have only recently begun to look for is this; where is the "power" in our lives that Paul and Peter and John displayed through prayer and acts? What's the real deal with gifts of the Spirit, raising the dead, telling someone to get up and walk, etc.? Are we supposed to return to that type of ministry at some point? I honestly am beginning to think that we might. I have taken for granted that "knowing Him no more after the flesh" meant leaving behind the "milk doctrines" and going "on" to perfection, which did NOT include signs and wonders or miraculous answers to prayer! After all, did not Christ say to Thomas; "blessed is he that believes and yet has not seen." John 20:29 ?

This could end up going in a totally different direction than you  originally intended, I'm going to just stop at this point.

Sorry, if I've strayed too far off the beaten track!
Joyce :)

Offline Nancy

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Re: Thoughts on Prayer
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2008, 11:54:23 AM »
Hi there Paul,
Have you read the Guide to Intelligent Prayer or something similar to that by Martin Zender? You can get it on his site!
It explains prayer brilliantly in a way you can really understand!


Paul Hazelwood

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Re: Thoughts on Prayer
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2008, 05:32:07 PM »

Hi Joyce,

thats mainly what I am after, "what do you actually believe or practice right now"

It's not about debating, I have just been curious.

I have felt a contradiction about how prayer has been taught traditionally my whole life.

When Christians talk about moving God, what are they really saying?  Have they thought about what determines whos prayer gets answered if my spirit filled belief driven prayer would cause a conflict to someone elses life,  or is it just too bad because I am more believing than they are?

I mean it can get totally ridiculous.  It is one other thing that caused me to finally leave church, the power is given to man to decide Gods will and for me, I do not want a God that I can change because what Hope is there in that?

Paul Hazelwood

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Re: Thoughts on Prayer
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2008, 05:40:00 PM »

Hi Nancy,

I have read the exerpts for his book but have not read it.  I don't doubt from the excerpts that I would find agreement with what he is saying.

I probably will not buy the book and I do not say this to elevate myself, but I want to get my belief in prayer from the pages of the bible only because I want to learn to really believe it.  I want that confidence in my heart that I can feel love for God when I pray,  I am just being honest when I say that I am not sure how I feel sometimes.

More so I want to get past the anger I have for feeling like I wasted my time in church listening and trying to fullfill my spiritual life through such ridiculous teachings that I have encountered.  In times like now I can agree about something, but then when my emotions revisit something I am trying to overcome I am not sure what to think.

 I do pray everyday for God to remove that bitterness in my heart,  but it is still there.   I think  "Well, that must remain for a reason"  Is it really Gods will,  does it remain for some lesson he will teach me?

I am not really sure.

Offline Sarah

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Re: Thoughts on Prayer
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2008, 06:17:08 PM »
My perception of prayer has been a pendulum swing for me.  When I was young I prayed a lot.  It was a burden because it was something I 'had to do',but I also grew close to God through many encounters.  Later, I began to believe that 'God was going to do what He was going to do and it really doesn't make a difference what we do.' So of course I quit praying so much.  A burden was lifted, but a new weight entered.  A weight of feeling like an actor in a script, no life.

Now, after contemplating amazing stories of survival, and rescue, and defeat, and wretchedness, I am beginning to think that we are the hands of God, and we are whom he moves through.  If one chooses not to move, many can and will suffer. If one chooses to move, many can be saved (I'm not speaking in the christian sense, but from circumstances).  Now you would think this would put a tremendous burden on us, but I don't think it is so much going out and trying to 'find' situations to remedy through action and/or prayer, but when He places something in your lap, you know. This has been sobering for me, but not burdonsome, the thing He places in my court to do He will empower me to do.

I like the scripture that says He gives us the DESIRES of our heart.  I believe this happens to those who seek Him, and this isn't always in the traditional way.  It is really just a simple turning your face to Him and humbling yourself to Him.

I also like the scripture that says if an evil Father knows how to give good gives, how much more does your Heavenly Father want to give you good things.  If you ask for a fish He will not give you a stone.  He gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask. 

He is for us and not against us.

All of that being said, yes I now believe prayer does carry great weight, but it is a prayer from the DESIRES of your heart that He has given.

Love, Sarah.


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Re: Thoughts on Prayer
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2008, 09:19:51 PM »
Was it C.S. Lewis that said....prayer doesn't change God, it changes you? Does the act of formally petitioning God for something that we desire....does that confirm to ourselves things about ourselves that would otherwise remain hidden? I think it might.

But when the rubber hits the road, I am very frustrated right now that we are not able to relieve more suffering in this world by praying or laying on of hands. It seems like we should or will be in the future, able to do these things. The real deal. Not the fake lying signs and wonders of Babylon. I can see God withholding this from us while we are being "matured" spiritually, however.
Just my thoughts.
Joyce :)

Offline willieH

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Re: Thoughts on Prayer
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2008, 10:17:00 PM »
willieH: Hi Joyful... :hithere:

I too, talk to God all day, everyday... but concerning HIS SPEECH to me, I'd like to comment on a few of your words below...

I don't follow nor repeat the Lord's prayer, except for ending with "let Your Will be done."  It still feels like repitition to me and my heart immediately goes to sleep during the recitation.

I can understand this sister J... but as I see it, is NEVER a bad idea to let the WORDS of GOD, flow either from the mouth, or into the ear...

What might help you (or anyone else) from falling asleep during the "Lord's Prayer"  :lazy: the Re-EXAMINATION of what is being said... :teaching:  ...and the Re-DIGESTING of the beauty of its contents, each time, one bite at a time, as if it were the FIRST time!   :first:

For me, it is "somethin', like-a-dis", ...WORSHIPPING :bowing: God in the (re)HEARING, of each of His WORDS...

 :bowing:  "Our Father which ART in HEAVEN"...  :gangel:  immediately brings a picture of GOD, kindly and lovingly looking down upon me...

"HALLOWED be Thy NAME"... brings the name of YHVH and His Son JESUS CHRIST to mind, which I LOVE  :HeartThrob:  to delight my ears...

"THY KINGDOM COME"...  immediately excites my heart that the MOMENT of COMPLETION for ALL is "just around the corner"   :myahoo: :boogie:

"THY WILL be DONE, EARTH, as it IS, in HEAVEN"...  says, start out your day with it, and LIVE that day IN IT... Just a bit of HEAVEN, brought down here on earth, to help those in DARKNESS...  :cloud9:

"Give US this day, our DAILY BREAD"... prompts me to recognize His sweet attention to our needs... and nourishes my soul with Himself...

"and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who TRESPASS AGAINST us"... reminds me of our brother & sisterhood to one another IN HIM... and prompts in me, HIS way of approaching others who might appear by their actions, unLOVEable... (such as I,  :blush: ...often appear to others)

"and lead us NOT into temptation, but DELIVER us FROM EVIL".... is agreeing with the DIVINE result of this whole thing, and desiring to be on His team...

"for THINE, is the KINGDOM and the POWER and the GLORY, forever"...  encompasses my heart with the anticipation of the ETERNAL state, we are very shortly to RE-ENTER... abandoning all this sorrow, pain, and disarray in which we are presently amidst...

"amen"... the last word, being an agreement to all He  has just said to my heart, ...the icing upon the GREATEST CAKE...

Nothing wrong with ME (or you) forming with my (or your) words, and my (or your)  requests to Him...  :mpardon: 

But I DAILY find, ...that there is much blessing which comes via the Hearing of His WORDS to me... which work to FORM Himself, IN me (or you)... and thereby bring my (or your) requests within His gates...  :LoveH1:

...willieH  :cloud9:


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Re: Thoughts on Prayer
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2008, 03:02:28 AM »
Thanks, Willie :)
Its kind of strange, but the Principals that are included in the Lord's prayer are often reflected in the mindset of my "conversations" with Him. I'm forever mindful that:
1) He is the maker of everything and the lover of my soul
2) that His Kingdom is what we all strive for
3) that He is my soul provider of "the bread of Life"
4) that I am in need of forgiveness, and in need of "forgiving others"
5) that I need deliverance from evil, every day
6) that all glory and honour and power belong to Him

I'm not making light of the prayer, I'm just saying that, like all the other principals that Jesus taught, His doctrine if you will, like His commandments, are being written on my heart....becoming who I hope to be, in the end. Words are important. I can see your point. But I can quote scriptue all day long....and not be any different than I was the day before....I did it for years in Babylon. The process, for me at least, is different now. He is actually changing me....against my own flesh, but in tune with the mind of Christ that He allows me to "listen" in on. The actual words of the Lord's prayer have a new meaning now that you are going on to perfection, and I am happy that this is what you have found.
Joyce :)