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How Prayer works, and how it doesn't.

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posted on May, 5 2012 @ 04:05 AM
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First off - this isn't a thread about WHEN prayer works, and when it doesn't. I am not creating this thread to talk about how Prayer is insufficient, or sufficient. It is simply to eliminate some misconceptions people have regarding what Prayer is, how it works, and hopefully answer a few of the common questions people tend to have when regarding prayer - example, why do some prayers go unanswered, and why some do get answered. I will, of course, be referring to Prayer directed to the God of Jacob, and of Isaac. The God of the Bible - the infallible word of God (debate me on that) - and the God of this universe. The Creator, and we are His Creation.



Prayer - What is it?

Dictionary.com gives this definition -
1. a devout petition to God or an object of worship.
2. a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.

In layman's terms, Prayer is simply communicating with God. It does not need to be spoken aloud in Church, you don't need to use big words, or anything else. In fact, God says this isn't a good thing in Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus advises not to pray like the hypocrites, referring to the Pharisees, who pray in public with big words, instead pray in secret, because it is between you and God, and no one else.

And so, it is simply communicating with God. You don't need to be on your hands and knees, though if you do, let it not be because you are showing off, but because it is true conviction that threw you down to your knees.

It can be for a second, "Thank you God", or it can be for hours. It is still prayer.

Prayer - Why bother?

Prayer is powerful. Never underestimate that. But what is the point? Many people will say, "Prayers go unanswered everyday, and if they are answered, it is out of luck, or because something would have happened anyways." Well, you've all heard those arguments before, but here I am to give you the Truth.

Prayer is not something you do because you want something. If someone prays for a new car, will they get it? If someone prays for money, will they suddenly win the lottery?

What does God say about that? Let's take a look in James 4:3 - When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your own pleasures.

Again, in James 5:16b - The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

So, let's be reasonable here. If someone, who rarely spends time with God, decides to one day ask God to win the lottery - will they? Well, let's look at it this way. Say one of my friends is a drug addict, and they constantly need their fix, and they came for me needing money. If I loved them, I would give them anything they desired - but if I knew their hearts, like God does, I would know what they were going to do with that money, and would deny them. Simply because I love them. God knows all of our hearts, and He knows our motive. Asking Him for something like that, knowing what you are going to do with it, is foolishness.

Now what about those who pray for healing? those who pray to be delivered of their hardships? those who pray for safety and well-being? That's really why you're here, isn't it? Well, I'll explain it as best as I can..

Jesus has said, that if you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could say to a Mountain to lift itself up and it will obey - skeptics believe this is a catch, that obviously no one has that kind of faith, and so none of our prayers could be answered. [iWrong.

I like to think Faith is more, situational, rather than universal. You see, I have faith in God. That has more implications than you could possibly comprehend - I have faith because I have seen His works, that is a testimony I have provided before, but will share with you all soon. But let's put it this way..

Prayer - How does it work?

Prayer requires faith. Obviously, you wouldn't even bother praying if you didn't have faith that someone was listening. But Jesus did say you could do all things in his name, you could have anything if you asked it in his name, but what did he mean?

Let's put it this way - If I prayed to God to allow me to walk on water, and asked it in Jesus' name, and I actually did walk on water? It would SURPRISE the hell out of me! I would truly scared. THAT is the reason it wouldn't work - because if I was surprised? I WOULD HAVE DOUBTED. If I asked that prayer, in full confidence that it will be done - IT WILL BE DONE.

That is how Prayer works. It requires faith. Ask anything of God in Jesus' name, and it will be done - ask him with the right motives, ask him with ABSOLUTE confidence that it will be done, and IT WILL. However, if you pray to him, and have your doubts? Why would you even bother asking?

People all too often say, "Show me, and then I'll believe."
God says, "Believe, and I'll show you."

Now, that isn't to say God is unfair if you ask Him something and not believe, and that He won't give it to you. He's done it before, He does it all the time. God simply won't put you through anything you can't handle in your own abilities. Even if it isn't affecting you personally, you will always have the power to do something about it. But He does give, even when you don't ask or have enough faith - He worked a miracle through my Mother's life, and all of my family witnessed it. That is the testimony I will give to you all later. For now, I need to sleep.

I hope that I cleared up some confusion on just how Prayer works. Unfortunately I won't be able to respond to many questions or comments until tomorrow, as I am buzzed up on some NyQuil (yes, I retain my spelling and grammatical abilities even when dosing off), and will likely fall asleep in a few seconds.

Good night everyone, and God bless.




posted on May, 5 2012 @ 04:42 AM
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Ahm yeah thats pretty much crap.
If you read the bible it says we have to pray within the Holy Spirit, meaning pray spirit lead not selfish lead.
Simply meaning it is not answered because its not Gods will. You dont control God.

The Lord's Prayer Words
(traditional)

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.


Now see the Lords prayer and where it states YOUR WILL BE DONE. That means effectively Gods will, not ours.
It has nothing to do with belief, its got to do with Gods plan, the Sovereign Gods plan. Not yours.
God has a plan and He wont let mankind spoil His plan with prayers that are not in line with His will.
Will God change His divine plan for you? Hardly. God is sovereign, that mean He is the boss, not you via prayer.

Now as the bible states pray in the Spirit
When I say the sign, I immediately thought of Ephesians 6:18. It covers quite a bit of ground, but the phrase we tend to remember is “always pray in the Spirit.” The TEV reads, “Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads.” My favorite, the REB reads, “. . . pray always in the power of the spirit.” If I could combine my favorite parts of those translations, I would suggest, “In every season [good and bad], pray, and let your prayer be led by the Spirit.” Now that’s not a literal translation, but I think it’s an expansion that’s justified by the context.
www.deepbiblestudy.net...

God YAHWEH isnt a little fat golden buddha whos tummy you can rub and wishes come true. Back to the book for you mate.
If we pray according to the Spirit and lead by God all our prayers will be answered.

James does talk of the prayer of a righteous person, the righteous serves Gods will not his own. A little more scripture would have exposed your floor.

edit on 5-5-2012 by borntowatch because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 5 2012 @ 04:51 AM
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Prayers work on the laws of probability, nothing else.

You may as well pray to the 'god of probability', wouldnt make any difference, just sounds more logic
'



posted on May, 5 2012 @ 04:59 AM
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When you read over what you've just wrote, do you not realise how crazy it all sounds.

If prayer worked do you think this world would be as crazy as it is.

How about you go pray for all the starving children in the world, not that your 'god' gives a damn lol



posted on May, 5 2012 @ 05:03 AM
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Originally posted by CharterZZ
When you read over what you've just wrote, do you not realise how crazy it all sounds.

If prayer worked do you think this world would be as crazy as it is.

How about you go pray for all the starving children in the world, not that your 'god' gives a damn lol



Let me answer that, God left us in control. You and your kind dont give a damn. You and your greed cause those children to die.
Blame God but its greed that causes suffering.
There is more slavery today on earth than ever before so YOU can buy cheap trinkets.

Dont blame God, He left us in charge. Reap the whirlwind, reap it. Its coming



posted on May, 5 2012 @ 05:49 AM
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reply to post by borntowatch
 





Let me answer that, God left us in control. You and your kind dont give a damn. You and your greed cause those children to die. Blame God but its greed that causes suffering. There is more slavery today on earth than ever before so YOU can buy cheap trinkets.


Why pray if 'god left us in control'

And yea i guess everything bad in the world is my fault for not believing in crazy people.



posted on May, 5 2012 @ 05:56 AM
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I'll have a bit to add tonight when I get home, great thread, S + F.



posted on May, 5 2012 @ 07:41 AM
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reply to post by Lionhearte
 





People all too often say, "Show me, and then I'll believe."
God says, "Believe, and I'll show you."


This is it right here.




Jesus has said, that if you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could say to a Mountain to lift itself up and it will obey - skeptics believe this is a catch, that obviously no one has that kind of faith, and so none of our prayers could be answered.


Moving mountains and trees is prophet speak. This was where he was saying that prayer can move nations or individual people. For instance Rome. The romans were slaughtering christians by the hundreds and thousands, but for every one they killed 5 came to Christ and chrisitanity spread like wildfire.

I've seen miracle healing happen with my own eyes and it happened to my wife when her gallbladder was killing her, me a deacon and my church preacher laid hands on her in his office and when she had tests done even her kidney stones were gone and her kidneys were no longer bleeding the next day and it baffled the doctors. They still cannot explain it, but i can
.

When people pray they should not pray for selfishness or foolishness. Prayer is a serious matter. Some people spend their entire lives persecuting Yeshua and his children and then when they desperately need a pot of gold they want to pray to him or rub the lamp like a djinn is inside it to grant 3 wishes and they fail. For one thing if all they did was spend theyre entire life persecuting him and us he is not going to listen. It starts with humbling ones self and then thinking about other people instead of for selfishness.



posted on May, 5 2012 @ 08:20 AM
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Excellent post.

S&F

I'll be praying for you all



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 03:56 AM
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reply to post by Lionhearte
 



People all too often say, "Show me, and then I'll believe."
God says, "Believe, and I'll show you."


Nicely put. I look it as: Faith means to believe, but when believing becomes absolute and concrete, then prayers will be answered and great miracles will occur, as long as your soul/spirit is in alignment with the Holy Spirit. Your spirit and soul being aligned with the Holy Spirit, in my experiences, is the tough part, as pride and ego really gets in the way.

This realization came to me after going over the lyrics of a song a fellow ATS member shared with me,
www.youtube.com...


I was just hanging out with the Lord one day, and uh, I said, Lord i want to be part of your army, and uh, hmph, said Lord i want to be part of your army; I want to be part of the generation of the people that You raise up and, and the Lord, He just uh, He just sang this over me:

You've got your best man on the front side
You always show your best side
And evil's always on the other side
You say this is your strategy
But son I hope you take it from me
You look just like your enemy
You're full of pride

And I sang back to Him, i said:

We better trash our idols if we want to be
In the army of the Lord
And the greatest idol is you and me,
We better get on the threshing floor
When will we learn that God's strategy
Is giving glory to the Lord?
We better trash our idols if we want to be
In the army of the Lord


How true those words are... how painfully true. Even when reading the comments, a lot of people come this realization. What I got from the lyrics is this: Upton wants to do good, just like the rest of us in Christ want to, but is it for the right reasons? Are we doing what we do to glorify the Lord, or ourselves? Are we worshiping God, or other idols, like ourselves? There is no place for idolatry, ourselves and others, in the Lord's presence. We are workers in the Lord's field.

Sorry to derail your thread, I just wanted to add on to your explanation.
edit on 6-5-2012 by DelayedChristmas because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 10:10 AM
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There's always some kind of come back answer when prayer doesn't work. It is either, "You didn't believe it enough," or "You didn't put enough faith into it," or "It wasn't god's will," or "You must be living in sin," etc.

This god supposedly wants a relationship with us. He wants us to communicate with him. Yet, he makes it very, very difficult to reach him. Many times, people get their own thoughts confused with this god's voice in their head. They can't discern the creator of the universe's voice from their own, even after living for him for decades. What kind of personal relationship is that?

Next, they say you have to meet him on his terms. But that's not a personal relationship either, that's a dictatorship. In a personal relationship, both parties have terms. Not just one. If he wants us to communicate with him so badly, then why doesn't he show us that he really is there? If I merely "believe" that he is there, I can easily delude myself, just like those that think they are hearing this god in their head, but find out later they were wrong. Know what I mean? People of all belief systems "believe" they speak to their god and that he speaks back, and performs miracles, and does other things in their lives. Is that the case though?

So, it only makes sense that this god reveal himself to us the same way real people reveal themselves to us so that we don't delude ourselves into thinking we're talking to someone who isn't really there. Makes plenty of sense to me anyway.

edit on 6-5-2012 by Hydroman because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 12:52 PM
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Originally posted by Hydroman
There's always some kind of come back answer when prayer doesn't work. It is either, "You didn't believe it enough," or "You didn't put enough faith into it," or "It wasn't god's will," or "You must be living in sin," etc.

This god supposedly wants a relationship with us. He wants us to communicate with him. Yet, he makes it very, very difficult to reach him. Many times, people get their own thoughts confused with this god's voice in their head. They can't discern the creator of the universe's voice from their own, even after living for him for decades. What kind of personal relationship is that?

Next, they say you have to meet him on his terms. But that's not a personal relationship either, that's a dictatorship. In a personal relationship, both parties have terms. Not just one. If he wants us to communicate with him so badly, then why doesn't he show us that he really is there? If I merely "believe" that he is there, I can easily delude myself, just like those that think they are hearing this god in their head, but find out later they were wrong. Know what I mean? People of all belief systems "believe" they speak to their god and that he speaks back, and performs miracles, and does other things in their lives. Is that the case though?

So, it only makes sense that this god reveal himself to us the same way real people reveal themselves to us so that we don't delude ourselves into thinking we're talking to someone who isn't really there. Makes plenty of sense to me anyway.

edit on 6-5-2012 by Hydroman because: (no reason given)


In a personal relationship, both parties have terms. God loves us perfectly, and we don't. Simple. We're alive, we exist. The comparison between God and dictator is a little brash, but true to a degree; there is a reason why God is called LORD. He does want us to communicate with Him. The very purpose of life is to test your heart; if He reveals Himself to us, what good is faith for? According to prophecy, Faith will be demolished, as it will be an absolute and EVERYONE will know when Heaven is on earth.

I'll tell you this: I once heard the voice of God, so He is very real. Once you hear His voice, you'll know it is Him. I didn't have the chance to respond back or have a dialogue with Him, but He gave me a decree/command. Something that seems easy, but very hard at the same time.

What makes you say that you don't have a personal relationship with God? Everyone does, whether they want to admit it or not, is completely up to them. God knows us better than we know ourselves, we have to know God. But God's mind is unfathomable, that is why we have Christ.

I can easily delude myself, just like those that think they are hearing this god in their head, but find out later they were wrong.

Remember, God sent that spirit upon those persons, He knows our hearts.



posted on May, 6 2012 @ 01:26 PM
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Originally posted by DelayedChristmas
..if He reveals Himself to us, what good is faith for?
That's exactly right! What good is it for? Look at Moses, god revealed himself to him. Was Moses worse for the wear because of it? Look at the Disciples, they lived with him. Were they worse off because of it? Look at all the prophets and anyone else who had contact with this god. They made it just fine. That's all I ask.


Originally posted by DelayedChristmas
I'll tell you this: I once heard the voice of God, so He is very real. Once you hear His voice, you'll know it is Him. I didn't have the chance to respond back or have a dialogue with Him, but He gave me a decree/command. Something that seems easy, but very hard at the same time.
Lol, you didn't have a chance to talk back? Again, that's not a personal relationship. You guys should really quit calling it that.


Originally posted by DelayedChristmas
What makes you say that you don't have a personal relationship with God? Everyone does, whether they want to admit it or not, is completely up to them.
Say what?


Originally posted by DelayedChristmas
Remember, God sent that spirit upon those persons, He knows our hearts.
God sent what spirit upon those persons? What are you talking about?
edit on 6-5-2012 by Hydroman because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 09:43 AM
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reply to post by Hydroman
 

Hydroman,

You sound like an honest seeker. You're asking good questions. Just keep doing what you're doing. When you have a flash of insight, in which you experience sharp clarity on an issue, you're definitely moving in the right direction.

The first test is to be willing to accept truths you don't like. Don't worry about dogmas or religions. Just worry about truth, and observe carefully how your desires and your pride get in the way of seeing the obvious (this is not in reference to you or anything you've said here; this is about being human). Watch carefully and see how much we love to look away from the truth when we don't like it. Try your best to be devoted to the truth.

A good way to get here is to realize that being closer in touch with reality can only be good for us, no matter how painful it is at first. But one of the hardest things can be realizing that our current course of action is hugely detrimental to our own interest and that we need to do something we're incredibly scared to do (like ending a trainwreck of a relationship), in order to change from a destructive course.

I am deliberately speaking mostly in abstraction because I don't know your personal life. But obviously in order to put this to use you must bring it home.

As for the subject of this thread, prayer, I find it really helps with this. When I know there is heavy dissonance in me, a "please give me the courage to see the truth past my resistance, and to do what I have to do to make things right" can be incredibly effective.

It seems to me that whoever God is, he likes a truth seeker and is willing to help him. I encourage you to test that.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
The first test is to be willing to accept truths you don't like. Don't worry about dogmas or religions. Just worry about truth, and observe carefully how your desires and your pride get in the way of seeing the obvious (this is not in reference to you or anything you've said here; this is about being human). Watch carefully and see how much we love to look away from the truth when we don't like it. Try your best to be devoted to the truth.
A good way to get here is to realize that being closer in touch with reality can only be good for us, no matter how painful it is at first. But one of the hardest things can be realizing that our current course of action is hugely detrimental to our own interest and that we need to do something we're incredibly scared to do (like ending a trainwreck of a relationship), in order to change from a destructive course.
First, if I find "truth" how do I know that it is indeed the truth? What would be something that I am incredibly scared to do? What is your suggestion?


Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
As for the subject of this thread, prayer, I find it really helps with this. When I know there is heavy dissonance in me, a "please give me the courage to see the truth past my resistance, and to do what I have to do to make things right" can be incredibly effective.

It seems to me that whoever God is, he likes a truth seeker and is willing to help him. I encourage you to test that.

When I've spoken out to "god" or whatever it is out there, I always mention how I want truth. I don't care about being blessed by believing when I haven't seen, and I don't care about receiving rewards. I just want truth, you know? I explain that when I speak out, but I would assume this being, if it is omniscient, already knows that anyway.

I'm not looking for salvation, I'm not hungry to worship a god, I just want truth. And if those things are true, who knows, maybe those other things will come with it?



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:27 AM
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Originally posted by DelayedChristmas
In a personal relationship, both parties have terms.


Do you pray to a personal God?

What terms are you and God on?


I'll tell you this: I once heard the voice of God, so He is very real. Once you hear His voice, you'll know it is Him. I didn't have the chance to respond back or have a dialogue with Him, but He gave me a decree/command. Something that seems easy, but very hard at the same time.


How can you have a personal relationship with someone you can't communicate with?

I have a personal relationship with my wife. Why? Because I see her almost every day when I'm not at work. I can touch her, talk to her, smell her, etc. I know what she likes and doesn't like. She's there for me when I need her. If I have a question, she answers it, unlike prayer where most of it goes unanswered. If I need help with something, she's physically there for me.

Can you say that about God?

Oh wait, his ways are not our ways.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 10:33 AM
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Originally posted by novastrike81
How can you have a personal relationship with someone you can't communicate with?

I have a personal relationship with my wife. Why? Because I see her almost every day when I'm not at work. I can touch her, talk to her, smell her, etc. I know what she likes and doesn't like. She's there for me when I need her. If I have a question, she answers it, unlike prayer where most of it goes unanswered. If I need help with something, she's physically there for me.

Can you say that about God?
Damn, I was with you all the way up to your next statement:


Originally posted by novastrike81
Oh wait, his ways are not our ways.


He's just so darn mysterious.
edit on 8-5-2012 by Hydroman because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 12:55 PM
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Originally posted by Hydroman
First, if I find "truth" how do I know that it is indeed the truth?

This is a complicated question, and something you kind of have to work out for yourself. You might try starting by asking yourself "Is there anything I know to be true right now?", an exploration which will likely draw you out of the world of words and semantics back into the raw experience of life.

Another avenue of exploration is identifying resistances. What I am about to say is about me, but if it helps you then take it. For me, there can be an intense resistance to any attempt to consciously "dive in" to another person's point of view, and that resistance has been worth exploring. The problem seems to be that when I do this, I am forced to admit to myself that my position on whatever we are discussing (politics, etc.) is relative to my experience and that this other person in fact has a point. The hard part for me has been to "budge". But when I do, this leads away from violent debate and into clarification of what I think the person is misunderstanding as well as attempting to figure out what the person is trying to communicate that I'm misunderstanding, and ultimately finding both the common ground as well as our differences (the balance of the two ultimately determining how much I should carry on with that person).

What this has to do with "truth" is hard to articulate, semantics being what they are, but I just find that the more I do this, the less anxiety-provoking does online discussion become for me, and I take that as a "proof is in the pudding" kind of thing. It's a bit of an intuitive, guessing game.



Originally posted by Hydroman
What would be something that I am incredibly scared to do? What is your suggestion?

I can't really help you with this. I can only give generalities like I did in my last post, or speak from my own experience as a socially anxious, neurotic wreck like I did in this post. I am trying to give examples but if they aren't anything you can relate to then we are probably just too different to reach rapport.



Originally posted by Hydroman
When I've spoken out to "god" or whatever it is out there, I always mention how I want truth. I don't care about being blessed by believing when I haven't seen, and I don't care about receiving rewards. I just want truth, you know? I explain that when I speak out, but I would assume this being, if it is omniscient, already knows that anyway.

I'm not looking for salvation, I'm not hungry to worship a god, I just want truth. And if those things are true, who knows, maybe those other things will come with it?

That attitude is going to move you forward.



posted on May, 8 2012 @ 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
This is a complicated question, and something you kind of have to work out for yourself. You might try starting by asking yourself "Is there anything I know to be true right now?", an exploration which will likely draw you out of the world of words and semantics back into the raw experience of life.
Ok.


Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
For me, there can be an intense resistance to any attempt to consciously "dive in" to another person's point of view, and that resistance has been worth exploring.
Not a problem since I was a christian for over 20 years. Now I have seen both points of view, with regards to christianity and atheism.



Originally posted by NewlyAwakened
That attitude is going to move you forward.
Maybe, who knows?
edit on 8-5-2012 by Hydroman because: (no reason given)



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