Christianity Johnson on 05 Sep 2008 05:57 am
Prayer is a huge part of the Christian lifestyle. But there is a problem: Prayer does not work. Prayer is nothing but a superstition, and provably so. Still, Christians cling to the idea that “God answers prayers” as described in the Bible.
Therefore, you will often see Christian literature that is wildly optimistic about prayer on the one hand. This article is a good example:
This is the wildly optimistic part:
I had a good friend who prayed often. She would tell me every week about something she was trusting God to take care of. And every week I would see God do something unusual to answer her prayer.
For those who do know him and rely on him, Jesus seems to be wildly generous in his offer: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:7 ) To “remain” in him and have his words remain in them means they conduct their lives aware of him, relying on him, listening to what he says. Then they’re able to ask him whatever they want.
So we have a God in the first example who is answering prayers on a regular basis, and in the second case we have a God who will grant believers “whatever they wish”. This sounds great, doesn’t it?
There is only one problem: God never heals amputees and God allows tens of thousands of children to die of starvation and dehydration every day. We see people who are consumed by cancers and diseases, and children are born with all sorts of birth defects every day. Yet there is no response from God when we pray to solve these problems. Prayer doesn’t work in any of these cases.
So the articles have to explain this breakdown. One way to do it is to invent the concept of “God’s will”:
Here is another qualifier: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14,15) God answers our prayers according to his will (and according to his wisdom, his love for us, his holiness, etc.).
Where we trip up is assuming we know God’s will, because a certain thing makes sense to us! We assume that there is only one right “answer” to a specific prayer, assuming certainly THAT would be God’s will. And this is where it gets tough. We live within the limits of time and limits of knowledge. We have only limited information about a situation and the implications of future action on that situation. God’s understanding is unlimited. How an event plays out in the course of life or history is only something he knows. And he may have purposes far beyond what we could even imagine. So, God is not going to do something simply because we determine that it must be his will.
The other is to invent the concept of the “peace of God”:
Certainly people get sick, even die; financial problems are real, and all sorts of very difficult situations can come up. What then?
God tells us to give our concerns to him. Even as the situation remains dismal, “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) The circumstances may look out of control, but they aren’t. When the whole world seems to be falling apart, God can keep us together. This is when a person can be very grateful that they know God. “The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5-7) God may provide solutions, resolutions to the problem WAY beyond what you imagined possible. Probably any Christian could list examples like this in their own lives. But if the circumstances do not improve, God can still give us his peace in the midst of it
So if 10,000 children die of starvation today, that must be the “Will of God”. And if God completely ignores the prayers of amputees for healing, that is OK because God fills them with “the Peace of God”.
To summarize, God says, “ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:7 ) That seems straightforward, until you ask for something concrete and measurable, like healing an amputated limb. In that case prayer fails every time, and Christians fall back to the “Will of God” and the “Peace of God” excuses. It is NEVER God’s will to heal an amputee, or eliminate cancer, or feed the starving, etc.
Here is another article that covers the same ground:
The title itself is amazing – somehow you are going to design a prayer than moves God’s heart, presumably to get your prayers answered. The article explains it this way:
God doesn’t give me everything I repeatedly ask for when he knows it’s not best for me. But a shallow reading of Luke 11:9-10 could lead me to think otherwise. There Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Is the way to get what I want from God through wearing him down, or getting as many people as possible to ask God for it? What kinds of prayer really move the heart and hand of God?
What kind of prayers move God? Again we see a non-answer:
There’s so much to wantâ€”healed bodies, restored relationships, changed circumstances….
Yes, that it true. Unfortunately…
But asking, seeking, and knocking aren’t secret formulas for getting what we want from God…
Which is strange, because the Bible says they ARE the way to get what we want from God, and that He will give them to us. But since they don’t work, we have to settle for the “Peace of God”:
they’re ways to get more of God. As I listen to God speak to me through his Word, he gives me more of himself in fuller, newer ways. Then, if healing doesn’t come, if the relationship remains broken, or if the pressures increase, I have the opportunity to discover for myself he is enough. His presence is enough. His purpose is enough.
The author describes an extremely sad situation: an infant daughter named Hope with a metabolic disorder that will kill her in just a few months. It is truly tragic. Since prayer is superstition, it is not going to change the course of events. So how does the author rationalize the ineffectiveness of prayer?
Time seemed to be slipping away so quickly when one day, as I rocked Hope in the nursery we’d prepared for herâ€”tears spilling down my faceâ€”I thought, I’ll ask God to give Hope more time. It seemed such a modest prayer; I’d already surrendered any insistence God heal her completely. But even as that prayer formed in my mind, I sensed God calling me to submit to his perfect timing. So my prayer instead became, Give me strength to make the most of every day you give me with Hope. Show me how to rest in your plan for her life and mine.
In this case it is not only God’s Will that the child dies, but God’s plan. God planned out this whole tragedy. And the author believes that God is reaching into her brain and editing her thoughts.
At this point any rational person screams out, “what kind of sick demon would PLAN to have an infant suffer and die? And why would anyone worship such a demon?”
Why worship a demon?
If you are a Christian and you are staring to realize the irrationality of worshiping a demon, this web site can show you a better way: