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nolongerlive
Member



Joined: 2008/8/1
Posts: 14
Maple Ridge, BC

 Troubling Questions about Prayer....help

Hello my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

I post this as a prayer request. I am currently sitting in a mud hole along the path of Life due to some confusing thoughts about prayer and my hope is that the wisdom and compassion that I have seen from all of you may be able to help me sort it all out. I have come to realize that my faith has been shaken; not shattered, but shaken. I realize that my joy has dimmed and I have been praying and asking the Lord to shed light. The bottom line, is that I have lost some trust in Him.

I understand surrendering my life to Him, that all I am and do are as He wills and I have walked that way mostly in recent years. But, I have noticed myself slipping back into taking certain areas back under my control and it is because of this lack of trust. I will try to explain:

A year ago, a friend of mine had a close family member die. My friend, being a Christian for many years, prayed and prayed for this person's salvation. Yet, they died suddenly with no way of knowing if in the last minutes they came to be saved. So, we live with the premise that they died unsaved. I myself have many close family members that are not saved that I pray for and I have now found that I have lost faith in praying for them since I watched this person pray for many, many years and to no avail.

So, now I find myself stuck in fear for my family members, praying more out of fear and doubt than faith, begging Him to be merciful and give them time to come to Him. Yet, theological debates cloud my mind. Predestination VS free will. Are some just never able to come because they are not chosen? Also, that none can come to Jesus except if the Father draws them.. does He draw all men and some just choose not to respond? Does He have a limited time that He draws hearts, and then He gives them over to their sin and there is no more hope? How about praying God's will? I know His will is that all men come to the saving knowledge of His Son, yet I find myself stuck on that one again and again, even over trivial matters, asking myself, "Is this God's will?"
For example, I have a few sick friends - do I pray for healing? How do I know it is not God's will that they stay sick for a season or for the rest of their lives, so that He can do a different work through them? So, I can't specifically ask for healing since I know not the mind of God on the subject. Thus I enter into doubt if I pray for healing. And we don't receive if we don't believe.

"But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1: 6-7.

Jesus tells us many times to pray, ask while believing...

And of course there is the struggle of not praying enough. Maybe that's the problem, I think, I haven't been persistent enough, haven't said the right amount of prayers to move God's hand.

Yet, with all that said, I know I have to come to a place of death in it all. Would I be okay with God if my family member died without being saved? I certainly hope so, yet I confess it causes me to fear since I honestly don't know what He wills on the subject. So my mind gets focused on the future and I feel like I am bracing myself for tragedy, for that awful phone call.. and I can't live like that. It is affecting my relationship with the Lord because I can not be close to someone I am struggling to trust... Yet, that child like faith existed before and I yearn for it again. But, I confess my friend's experience has shaken me..

Well enough said for now.. thank you in advance for any wisdom or prayers on the subject.

your sister - Amy




_________________
Amy

 2010/3/16 23:07Profile
mguldner
Member



Joined: 2009/12/4
Posts: 1860
Kansas

 Re: Troubling Questions about Prayer....help

Dear Sister Amy,

You will be in my prayers, I have gone through seasons of doubt but Christ Jesus lovingly pulls us through. Once when my faith was shaken I went to a conference and asked God show me you are real, When I prayed that prayer the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and said If you want to know I am real then Serve people here at the conference in prayer and God revealed Himself to me through my service. I understand that your question and faith is shaken in the areas of prayer but please don't lose hope, I will be serving you in prayer my sister.

God Bless,
Matthew


_________________
Matthew Guldner

 2010/3/17 0:51Profile
Lysa
Member



Joined: 2008/10/25
Posts: 3420
This world is not my home anymore.

 Re: Troubling Questions about Prayer....help


Amy,

This is where you must pray AND in all truthfulness, my friend, you need to repent for losing trust in God and for not standing on His word. (For future reference, if there is ever any doubt, the doubt should fall on us, not God. Did we pray it through? Did we pray unselfishlessly? Did we pray to get accolades of men? etc...)

Amy, do you know that God tests us? He allows things to happen that are contrary to our 'natural' way of thinking to see if we will keep our eyes on Him. He allows these things to rock our world because truthfully our man-mind thinking (our world) needs to be rocked and brought down. I am a visual learner so if helps if I explain this visually! (Thank you for your patience) He allows a rock slide to bring down all we trust in, all our thoughts on a particular matter because He wants us LEARN TO walk by faith! Christ in us, that is the hope of glory (Col 1.27) Christ is being formed in us, we are decreasing and He is increasing when we give up "our way" of thinking or understanding.

This rockslide that has blocked passage to your normal way of understanding and thinking is your desert / your time of testing. Are you going to allow the man's mind way of thinking keep you stuck there until every last pebble is moved and you can continue on with your same ole same ole thinking on this subject (very stubborn people do this!) or are you going to let God show you a new way; a new walk by faith that you've never walked with Him before?

You truly do not know this person did NOT receive Christ, do you? If you don't know, why are you allowing the enemy a door into you through doubt? Wouldn't you rather say, "If I must err God, I choose to err on the side of belief, mercy and love." Because in Rev 21, it says nothing about those being outside the city having too much mercy, love and belief, now does it?!! (friendly grin)

God bless you in your walk with HIM!! I will be praying for you,


_________________
Lisa

 2010/3/17 7:16Profile
TracyInMD
Member



Joined: 2008/10/21
Posts: 56
Maryland, USA

 Re: Troubling Questions about Prayer....help

HI Amy. You sound like I have sounded in the past! You have a lot of questions that are not easy to answer, BUT, I do believe you are not in a bad place necessarily! I still ask those questions..because some of them are very big and theology clouds things for me too. And really, God has the best answers, tho He'll use His people to help you along. This is what I DO know and how I operate in such circumstances as yours.

The vision (as written in the gospels) that JESUS put forth regarding prayer is one of ANSWERED prayer. Example is John 15:7-8. Answered prayer glorifies God. Avoid prayer cliches on prayer. I've not come across a cliché regarding prayer that holds up to scripture. ANSWERED prayer should be the norm for God's people, not talking at God, talking at God, talking at God on exactly the same points over and over and over and over. God is willing to tell you WHAT He's doing if you only SEEK His doings and be willing to forsake your own. Unanswered prayer is a sign to inquire of God, I've come to believe. (Perhaps you are asking amiss to spend your answer on pleasure, for example.) What are you doing Father? He will lead you from one point to the next, I find. Bit by bit. We persist in not knowing what all is going on, but relating to God in the process of what He is doing regardless.

Seek God regarding what He IS doing that you know of. Kind of a “lowest common denominator”, the one thing you KNOW God is doing, if you have sought Him. There've been a few times in which I sought God regarding a person and got a single scripture. In my flesh I felt like I should be praying more but that was the one thing i felt that God WAS doing. I persisted in prayer for this person, watched the lady, listened, and kept praying the one thing I thought God was doing. Then about 2 years later she said something about "the last two years I felt like God was showing me 'this'." It was the very scripture that God had given me regarding her. Again, I didn't have anything BUT that, but I came to believe THAT was a thing that was bigtime in her way, causing trouble in her life. I didn't just pray to fill empty air, I prayed in faith. The SUBSTANCE of the thing hoped for was the thing I prayed.

Healing questions are big for me as well, since I have had chronic pain for many years. When I sought God regarding what He WAS doing, He certainly spoke to me. Here's what He said in my case: “Seek first My kingdom and righteousness.” I saw God do amazing things WITH the pain, and I still see these things. I now have changed, thanks to the Spirit, so that I have asked God to KEEP me in pain if it means that there's more heart change needed. Wow, see the power of God in that?! But I had to seek and inquire as to what God WAS doing to know how to pray. God will address you if you are truly born again. He may not tell you all you want to know, but I believe He will speak with you by His word.

I've come to think we barely know God in our day and we've been misled into thinking and acting like He's OUR servant. We hardly know of God's sovereignty, or so I found in myself. We are here for Him. This carries over into prayer, for sure. Jesus said “I didn't come to do my will but the will of the one who sent me”. Paraphrase, I guess, and i'm not sure in my lack of time where exactly it is. Jesus ALWAYS did that. He always did what He saw His father doing! We should seek to do what our heavenly Father is doing in this situation. If we discover that (and I fully believe He's willing to help us understand), then we can pray that in faith. I find it's like hitting the TURBO button, once you find what God is doing.

Also be very willing for God to remove your sin. This seems to be true, i've seen it in myself. Sometimes you see things in others. But you don't see CLEARLY until you remove the plank out of your own eye. And then you see clearly and then understand better how to pray according to God's will and WAYS.

Hopefully, i left nothing partially said or incomplete. Feel free to message me if you want. I love prayer and helping women get answered prayers. Bless you!
Tracy


_________________
Tracy Hofmann

 2010/3/17 7:53Profile









 Re: Troubling Questions about Prayer....help

Hello Amy

I went through this - in fact I nearly lost my faith through Calvinistic doctrine. But I came to see that Jesus calls all men to Him. Most will not come though - that's the sad fact and it is still is hard to come to terms with when we want them to be in heaven with us. We have to be on His side - He does not will any man should perish. So we keep on praying for them knowing that they could come one day. But the responsibility is with them and God so long as we have witnessed the truth. If you want to stick to limited atonement then you will have problems. I think that our relationship with Christ is more important than gettting the doctrine right - we can be wrong and many have left Calvinism at some point on these issues. So if anything gets in the way then I think that need to suspend judgement and keep on trusting and praising.

I believe that here is one day when He will call each man but He is so gracious and merciful He will give each the same chance. Maybe some come on their deathbeds - I actually think some do or even many.

Going long periods without answers to prayers and having a feeling of deadness is difficult but happens a lot. Some will try to blame the person and their sin, but it usually happens to the most devout and is a sign that God is going to take them to a higher level whereby we must be content with all that He allows and the dry periods where He departs. Read Song of Solomon - it is the process of getting closer to Him and having our faith developed and enetering into the mature relationship with Him whereas most are content to stay in the outer court.

He will make the way clear - just hold on. The path is well trodden.

blessings
Brenda

 2010/3/17 9:02
JoanM
Member



Joined: 2008/4/7
Posts: 797


 Re: Prayer and the Love of God

Dear Amy

Here is a short version of a long pm. I too am praying. It is helpful good when a thread touches a personal point in the life of all His children.

1. I think touching the Love of God in you will be of help in this situation (your love for Him and His Love in you).

I am in John these days. This week, Chapter 17. Along with everything else, He shows us, He lets us enter into His intimacy with the Father in prayer. Like He did in John 14: 31 (But that the world may know I love the Father, ...). Honestly, I can hardly get past His first word “Father,” in John 17: 1. This morning that first word (Father) is like the ground of our argument when when we cry out.

2. In a particular situation, God used Psm. 46:10 - “Be still and know that I am God.” to show me how He saves and many other things.

3. Salvation is all about relationship. Maybe you are experiencing a taste of what the ones you pray for experiences as a aid to your prayer. He also is touched by our infirmities.

In His Love
Joan

 2010/3/17 11:41Profile
nolongerlive
Member



Joined: 2008/8/1
Posts: 14
Maple Ridge, BC

 Re:

Thank you all for the prayer and time you took to encourage this member of the Body, through these messages and private e-mails. You've all given me much to ponder and meditate on and I am much encouraged. You've all touched on different points and I am grateful. I know I need to focus on Him and His perspective and His Divine Love, and not my own selfish emotions and viewpoint. I know I need to confess unbelief and trust Him in the testing so that I can have a deeper walk with Him.

I was also reminded about praying in "stages" so to speak, in specifics that the Lord shows for each person/situation. Sometimes taking on the big issue can be overwhelming in our understanding and can move our faith to doubt, instead of resting in what we can believe in. And, also, to stand on His Word, focused on what He says instead of my own thoughts... : )

Also, thank you for helping me let go of Calvinistic doctrine. It never set right with me and as Zac Poonen says in a sermon, "while there is breath, there is hope." Ultimately everyone is responsible before God with their choices and I have to accept the possibility that my stubborn family members may never choose to know Him. But, since I know His Divine Love towards them is greater, I feel I can pray in faith again and rest in that. Thank you.

Again, I need to return my eyes to Him, and "lean not on my own understanding", and walk in faith and not my sight. So much of His work is hidden and like a seed in the ground, much growth happens out of sight.

But most of all, thank you for showing me the love of the Body in your responses and prayers. That has encouraged me the most and reminded me that this journey with Him is not walked alone, and the love of the Body exists when we reach out..

Amy


_________________
Amy

 2010/3/17 12:04Profile
ginnyrose
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7494
Mississippi

 Re:

Amy, I read most of the posts on this thread and agree with them. I cannot add anything of substance. Just know that others also have loved ones who are rejecting the call of God on their lives.

I seldom recommend a book other then the scriptures but there is one I love to read and am reading it again. The title is "I Dared to Call Him Father" by Bilquis Sheikh. She was a high-born Muslim woman whom Christ called and she left all to follow him. She details her walk with the LORD in such a way that we can relate. From what you said I think you could relate as well. I got a hardcover off of eBay but the soft covers are readily available on eBay and they are not all that expensive. I suggest you invest in this book and allow its message minister to your spirit.

Blessings,
ginnyrose


_________________
Sandra Miller

 2010/3/19 9:14Profile









 Re: Troubling Questions about Prayer....help

To nolongerlive,

Quote:
Would I be okay with God if my family member died without being saved? I certainly hope so, yet I confess it causes me to fear since I honestly don't know what He wills on the subject.

Acts 17:30 (b) 'but now commandeth all men every where to repent'.

And, 2 Pet 3:9.

krautfrau said
Quote:
I nearly lost my faith through Calvinistic doctrine. But I came to see that Jesus calls all men to Him.

I just want to supply this scripture: 1 Tim 4:10

I hope these help.

 2010/3/20 10:48





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