My meaning was that we clearly can't tell God anything that He does not know, and yet much prayer is just that. I suspect it is for the benefit of the other human hearers rather than God. But does that mean that the human hearer has become the target of my prayer rather than God?
No there is nothing wrong with asking others to pray, but if we think that we shall be heard for our 'much praying' we are ignorant of what the Lord taught on this topic. I don't intend to be frivolous but you will have read that 'the prayer of faith shall save the sick' rather than 'the 24x7 mass prayer gathering shall save the sick'. Do you get my point?
Let me be really provocative... I don't believe in the efficacy of prayer. I believe in the power of God. I don't put my trust in any 'means of grace' I put my trust in the God of grace. "My goal is God", as the old hymn expressed it... my goal is not answered prayer. Every thing that I put my faith in will ultimately become an idol.
| 2004/5/13 8:26||Profile|
| Re: Horizontal Prayer?|
Interesting that this would be brought out, as it is one of the primary causes of the split between the ancient Jewish Synagogue and the Church. There was a prayer of 18 Benedictions called the Amidah (Shemonah Esreh) that the Pharisees at Yavneh (Jamnia) added a 19th to which was essentially a curse upon the minim (heretics). The Believers in Christ would hear themselves being cursed in prayer by other Jews. This prayer was designed to be heard by men and women and it served its purpose well. It had nothing to do with God in my opinion- for how would God curse what was already blessed?
It was common in the first century for people to hear the prayers of one another. Moreover, I feel quite convicted reading through this thread and wish to ask: are we teaching people how to pray, as we ought? The disciples said, Teach us to pray. Jesus gave an outline. God have mercy on me for getting so quiet when others come around when I pray. Personally I learned to pray from scripture- but also through watching my pastor as a youth travail before God. I would think, So thats what it looks like to pray.
The key is not to pray as the hypocrites who were forever doing things to be seen. But we must balance this and pray earnestly from a pure heart.
In I Corinthians 14:16 we see that it is necessary for a person(s) to know the prayer of blessing in order to offer an AMEN.
Some of the Apostles and Pauls prayers the contents of which are made public.
And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chose
II Thessalonians 1:11
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
No telling how long the prayers really were for these churches. And as with this forum I believe it serves the purpose of putting down what is being made known to God already. I am almost always blessed when a person will write a little blurb to alert me to know what they are praying- or they write a little portion of te essentials of their prayer for me. I believe it had a similar effect on the Churches in Paul's day. Jesus told Peter "I have prayed for thee that your faith fail thee not." Oh, how that would have encouraged him when he reflected on his denial of Christ.
Robert Wurtz II
| 2004/5/13 8:26||Profile|
Forgive my ignorance, but the feeling I am getting from this is that there is no reason (baised on the effectiveness of the prayer) for any public prayer of any kind.
Are congregational prayers ever approperiate biblically.
In Acts 2:42 "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." does this meant they as individuals or as a congregation?
| 2004/5/13 8:51||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
Noticed three more replys were made while I was putting all this together, which I haven't read yet. So if it matters, I had left off at Delboys comments on "would you elaborate more".
any thoughts on what the early church where praying together,when they where devoting themselves to each other and the apostles teaching
Had been pondering that one.
"[i]Act 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.[/i]"
"Prayer may simply imply any address to God, in the way of petition or request; supplication, the earnest, affectionate, and continued application to God for the blessing requested from him by prayer. Prayer asks, supplication expostulates, entreats, urges and re-urges the petition."
The all night prayer meeting sounds virtuous. Mass meetings for prayer sound virtuous too, but are they?
"[i]Act 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.[/i]"
Do we have any statistics about how often God logs into sermonindex?
Not only do I not now God's IP address, I don't know what time zone He is in (other than none).
Fortunately it is not a concern. I believe that for one, this is His site being overseen by His servant Greg and secondly the Holy Spirit dwells in our midst. The stamp of His character I find often in some of these postings and from some of the feedback I have recieved beyond that of lives touched, hearts encouraged... leaves no doubt in my mind. :-)
On the Psalms:
I think there is something very wonderful about the way it which David sometimes moves his focus from 'the saints' to God and back again alomst seemlessly.
Yes! Maybe that's why there is such an affinity with David. He just lets it all out. Seems there are two different traps. One being to think to much and over anaylize and the other to not that think at all (have almost completed my masters degree in that one).
I know also how that can happen in group settings where you are trying to listen and join into the pettions, while formulating your own requests...I found it rather frustrating in bible study doing this. Found that usually I was more concerned about "not sounding like an idiot" then to honestly express my heart.
But here, I don't see anything wrong with just letting out our spiritual groanings, request's and the like. I will continue to work on my masters along with my minor in foolishness.
I guess it depends on what purpose we intend to accomplish when we publicly pray. Are we like the Pharisees who liked to be heard for their long prayers or is our heart sincerely seeking and speaking to God. If the latter is the case then those who hear or later read can't help but to be blessed by the interaction between God and one of His own. If the case is the former, well then, I guess we have our reward--if we're eloquent enough
I do hope it is the latter and for the most part I think that those who do post around here that is the case. As to the former, never really stopped to think about it until now, rats, almost wish that had never been mentioned. Lord, let us not be affected by this thought nor let the devil use this as an accusation against us.
Personally I have "said" a prayer online with the intention of both making supplication before God and also to encourage another.
And I will guess that it was more natural than thought out. I think this whole topic is great, so many more things could be responded to, I have been cutting and pasting like mad here. I think it also brings up the idea of "praying without ceasing" it's not something you "do", hopefully it's something that you are. That constant communion with the Lord, certainly it is and can be more focused and expressed in a myriad of ways at different times. Sometimes I wish there was a better way of giving expression here, but usually it's on this order:
1Co 2:13,14 "[i] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. "[/i]
| 2004/5/13 9:38||Profile|
| Re: horiz.prayer|
I keep wanting to comment on this but run out of time.
I am not one who is big on public prayer. I have seen it used and abused. I have seen that for the most part, it has been for the ears of men and not God necessarily- but in that way 'pride' has been behind it.
But when it comes to personal needs, especially great- or deep needs, I feel it is a comfort to the person in need to hear or see the prayer. Someone may say, "I'll pray for you" but that does not usually make the person in need feel much better.
When I am in great need of prayer, it has been such a blessing for a friend to email me and pray as she is writing it. It feels as if she were with me right then praying with me. It is much more comforting than, "I will be sure to pray for you". When? Tonight, tomorow,?
God knows our heart motive behind our prayers. I think that's what matters. :)
In Him, Chanin
| 2004/5/13 13:43||Profile|
Quote:Perhaps that would be really provocative with many congregations, but it shouldn't be. It should be obvious that it is God who can effect these things, not any power under our direct control. This isn't magic.
Let me be really provocative... I don't believe in the efficacy of prayer. I believe in the power of God.
However, I believe in a covenant-keeping God. If He makes a covenant with you, and you keep your end, He'll keep His. In those cases where He's promised to answer certain kinds of prayer (notably "in accordance with His will" as per 1 John 5:14), [b][u]if[/u][/b] we keep our end, He'll answer those prayers.
Another thought on group prayer: during my days as a really, really young Christian (as distinguished from my present state as a really young Christian) I found the prayer meetings of my small group to be tremendously edifying. Those meetings (we did Bible study too) were probably where I grew the most during that time. Whatever it's worth.
| 2004/5/13 16:29||Profile|
| Re: Horizontal Prayer?|
Okay, honestly I don't have a lot of Scriptural knowledge on the topic of corporate prayer. But my good buddy Miles does. I took his School of Ministry class on Prayer about 2 years ago, but, heh, heh, I forgot what he taught concerning this. So I IM'ed him on the topic, and I guess this is where you can find the Biblical examples:
well... Jesus did it (i.e. matthew 17 with peter james and john on mount of transfiguration... and in the garden of gethsemane)... the early church did it in acts 1, 2, 4, 13 and other places... Paul talks about corporate prayers in his epistles... its all over the place.
From personal experience though... group prayer is interesting. I honestly find myself distracted a lot of times. And I think someone else mentioned something along these lines, you should really be careful not to put your opinion into a prayer. I think that would come under the title "Horizontal Prayer". I've been tempted to do that a few times because I'm really passionate about a certain view at the moment, but I've held my tongue because I think that's between you and God.
You know, what's cool about personal prayer with just God is that you learn through prayer. I think you can pray wrong sometimes. You know, you ask God certain questions, looking for certain answers, but you're asking the wrong questions and looking for the wrong answers. You think, "Why isn't my prayer getting answered?" But God wants you to learn what you really should be focusing on. So I would have to say sometimes, I'm glad that God doesn't answer some of my prayers the way I hope and expect. I can't find the exact verse, but paraphrased, "His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts."
And, yes, God knows everything we're thinking. You know, we can think about God, and just think about a lot of stuff in general... but we can end up doing those things alone, leaving God on the outside. But when I decide to turn those thoughts into a prayer, I see it as an official invitation to let God into EVERY area of my life. In a sense, to get Him off the side lines of my life, and let Him into my game.
With group prayer, it may be the same thing... letting others into my life. Letting both God and people into your life can sometimes be humbling. It means you have to die to your pride sometimes, and ask others and God for help, through prayer. And then others get edified and encouraged when there's praise reports, and God gets glorified!
Those are my thoughts for now.
| 2004/5/13 18:09||Profile|
you write Okay, honestly I don't have a lot of Scriptural knowledge on the topic of corporate prayer.
I was not referring to 'corporate prayer' as opposed to 'private prayer'. I am a strong advocate of both. I was just remarking on the curious nature of our public prayer at times; namely that the way we give God information is really a way of informing others of our request rather than making our requests known to God. I still haven't found any biblical examples of prayer where the main feature is the desemination of information to the saints. I have a vivid recollection of a prayer I heard over 40 years ago which began "Lord, I'm sure you saw the headlines this morning which reported..." I forget the rest of the details, and I must admit that the thought of the paper delivery boy throwing a paper onto heaven's front porch distracted me for quite a time. But then, I always did have a peculiar sense of humour.:-P
RobertW listed references to prayer in his posting, but as we find the references in the New Testament they are really more prayer topics than actual prayers. The formal way in which Paul introduces the Ephesian prayers especially shows that these are not the words of his prayers but rather the subjects.
you write With group prayer, it may be the same thing... letting others into my life. Letting both God and people into your life can sometimes be humbling. It means you have to die to your pride sometimes, and ask others and God for help, through prayer. And then others get edified and encouraged when there's praise reports, and God gets glorified!
This is certainly a very valid and beneficial aspect of personal prayer in a corporate context, but in this instance the 'horizontal information' is incidental rather than being the main focus.
| 2004/5/13 19:22||Profile|
| Re: Ah, my brain is melting!|
Ah... technical, technical, technical! Is this "informing others of our prayer requests" during prayer something that just bugs us or God? If it bugged God, don't you think He would have wrote something in His word that said, "Therefore, when praying in public, thou shalt not displease Me by informing others of your requests"? The only things I know that bug Him according to His Word are wrong motives (Matthew 6:5-6) and vein repititions (Matthew 6:7-8).
So maybe we should just focus on the heart of the matter, not the technicalities of what someone says when they pray. [laughs] I'm not too frustrated here or angry... I'm just a very simple person. Sometimes I think, and again, this is my opinion, we zoom too much into trivial stuff. I mean, didn't Jesus say, "My yolk is easy and My burden is light"? And I mean, honestly, from what we know about God's character, especially Him being our Father and us being His children, if our heart is right, don't you think He wants to hear from us, whether we give Him a news bulletin on the earth's events, a need, a praise, whatever? I think He just enjoys the fact that we take the time out to talk to Him.
| 2004/5/14 15:09||Profile|
I know how you feel, (about the brain meltage).
I think, that the issue here is not as much what is said, but TO WHOM it is said (though at times what is said is a big clue as to whom it is intended). To say something intended to inform others when you are "praying"--something that sould be done to God and God only--is nothing more than playing religion. At best that is Hypocracy.
| 2004/5/14 16:06||Profile|