• Welcome to Christian Forums
  1. Welcome to Christian Forums, a forum to discuss Christianity in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!

  2. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum.

The Power of Prayer

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by cvanwey, May 4, 2019.

  1. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    +359
    United States
    Skeptic
    Private
    Petitionary prayer is more or less asking for specific events, things, or circumstances to go your way, by directly asking for God's help.


    Below demonstrates the possible failure of prayer - IF petitionary prayer is claimed as a successful method of use. In accordance with the following scriptures; Matthew 7:7, Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24, John 14:13-14, John 16:23, I used to continually pray for Jesus to reveal himself to me, to remove all shred of possible doubt for existence. I never received a response. I used to think, and as many would assert, in order for my faith to be genuine, completely knowing God existed might tamper with my free will in some way, and my faith would not be as heart felt and real. I somewhat bought into these asserted claim for years.


    However, upon later discovery, I realized this was a pure 'nonsense' answer. Knowledge of existence does not hinder 'freewill'. Satan, along with a third of the angels, rebelled with apparent knowledge of existence. Roughly 50% of Americans divorce, knowing full well their spouse exists, and yet, because of 'freewill', still decide to separate because they no longer love them and choose not to remain with them 'forever.' One could again argue a false analogy. However, the point of the matter is that knowledge of existence still allows for one to decide and choose whether or not to engage, admire, love, be indifferent, or hate the known being, entity, or person. If attributes are not clearly demonstrated to the person, whom needs to make the choice, many cannot make an informed and educated personal decision.


    Knowing something exists does not ruin 'freewill'. On the contrary, most actually do require knowledge of existence to even entertain the possibility in loving something or someone; especially forever. Under what circumstance would Jesus choose not to reveal existence to me? I could still choose not to love this being, couldn't I? I could still choose not to accept this being, couldn't I? What possible reason would Jesus have not to answer my genuine prayer requests for decades? And on what bases does God decide to send me to hell to burn for eternity? Lack in credulity alone appears illogical or irrational.


    The possible answers are as follows; 1) Jesus is deliberately with holding his presence from me, which suggests the above scripture is false. 2) A postmortem/resurrected Jesus may not exist. 3) Jesus is choosing the right time to reveal His existence to me. But since I will no longer pray to receive this information, He would do it when I am no longer praying or have already concluded a postmortem Jesus' non-existence. Which either means Jesus waited until I finally gave up, or Jesus will present evidence when no more prayer exists and when the prayer requests are no longer faith filled. And since the prayer request must be made invoking faith, in which I now no longer possess, Jesus must have chosen not to answer my prayers effectively. 4) If Jesus answers all prayer requests, but waits for the correct time, but only does so when my heart is hardened, then I still will not accept proof of existence. Meaning, God is the deliberate guiding hand for my conclusion to reside in hell for non-belief. 5) God only answers prayers requests according to his will, which renders all prayer requests worthless. 6) God knew ahead of time my requests were not genuine, because I later became more skeptical and eventually decided to abandon belief years later, due to lack in evidence.


    So far, option 2) appears the most viable, logical, and reasonable.

    I have not mentioned all plausible or possible conclusions to such a topic, but wanted to throw this out there, for the believers and doubters alike.

    Open discussion really.... Just one man's journey from indoctrinated belief, transitioning to severe doubt really....
     
    We teamed up with Faith Counseling. Can they help you today?
  2. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

    +340
    Atheist
    This is all very interesting. I wonder what the Christians on this forum think about prayer? There seems to be quite a wide variety of views on it, from what I've read about prayer and miracles. But the Bible itself is quite clear: pray, and Jesus/God will answer your prayer.
     
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
    • List
  3. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +3,290
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    Yes, Jesus has already answered your prayer. And He will continue to answer it, and you will discover all which becomes of you because of how He answers.

    But, also, you are the way you are. This effects if and how well you can respond to Him.

    Jesus is quiet. So, if we have noisy ways, in ourselves, of being and seeing things, we miss how Jesus is relating with us. Our noisy stuff can have us misunderstanding.

    Included in benefiting from God is submitting to Him so we have His correction and how He personally rules us in His peace. But in case we are distant . . . with questions and issues, possibly being ways of keeping ourselves distant . . . we are not trusting Him.

    There needs to be trusting in how we ask and test.

    For me, personally, then, prayer includes me being quiet and trusting God to make me the way He wants me to be submissive in His peace, to Him. So, I need to not be producing my own way of what I feel is being submissive to God. I need Him to change me to how He wants me. Then discover what He has me doing in sharing with Him. So, this is what prayer is, for me. Plus, I do pray with hope for however God would do good to any and all people. Prayer is all-loving . . . not merely about my own self.
     
  4. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    +359
    United States
    Skeptic
    Private

    If this were remotely true, I would not be wasting my time asking why Jesus did not appear to answer my prayer requests.

    I fully admit, from the get-go, that personal apprehension/grasp, has no basis for 'actual reality'. What I mean, is that I could 'believe' I feel a presence, and not be able to qualify if it's actually true or not; especially in the case for the claimed supernatural (God, ghosts, spirits, demons, other). My point being, I never felt a presence during prayer.

    In essence, I was taught such a story line was true, through indoctrination. I believed in it, for decades, based upon all the surrounding authority. And yet, when I would pray myself, never felt a twinkle of contact from the intended agent in which I was apparently praying to. And remember, I was a believer, and had full faith for decades. Thus, we have a couple of conclusions to consider:

    1. I'm lying to you
    2. I do feel it, but just don't realize it, because I'm not very smart.
    3. I'm in denial, and know I've felt it deep down, (i.e.) I'm lying.
    4. Or your conclusion. "He whispers too quietly for me to hear."

    Thus, are you saying I'm a liar, or, just ignorant to basic apprehension?
     
  5. gadar perets

    gadar perets Messianic Hebrew

    +1,019
    United States
    Unitarian
    Single
    US-Others

    You were praying for something that was already answered before you prayed for it. You obviously had access to a Bible in which his existence is clearly laid out. You evidently chose to not accept God's way of revealing Yeshua to the world and you. You wanted your own divine revelation.


    Wrong questions. The right question would be, "Why haven't I believed God's revelation of Yeshua in Scripture?"

    From what you stated above, it seems to me that you were at one time a believer. You evidently heard the Gospel and received "Jesus" as your Savior. You put your faith in him for salvation. You eventually lost faith because your prayer for a divine revelation was not answered to your liking. The information you received about the Son prior to coming to faith was enough to convince you he existed and that you needed what he was offering; forgiveness of sin and salvation. Yet, you eventually wanted more proof. Your faith was under attack by the enemy and you gave up the fight. Do not blame God or Yeshua for not answering your prayers. Blame yourself for not seeing or accepting the answer to your prayer before you even prayed for it.
     
  6. InterestedAtheist

    InterestedAtheist Veteran

    +340
    Atheist
    A thought experiment: Let's imagine, just for a moment, just as a hypothetical, that - for some unknown reason, prayer suddenly stops working.

    What would Christians expect the consequences to be if this did happen?
    How would life be different?
     
  7. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +3,290
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    I mean Jesus has in ways shown Himself to you, but you have not yet been able see Him. And any of us is still limited in our ability to see Jesus, because even if we are children of God we can still be not mature enough to see Him the way we could. It is like how a little child does not appreciate who his or her parents are, like the child will be able to after he or she is oneself bringing up children :)

    If someone becomes adopted by God and helps then to bring up other children of God, then is when a person, in loving, will be able to better appreciate who and how God is.

    So, maybe whatever you are asking is not enough, and God wants more and better for you. After all, He is so better and more than we are loving.

    By the way, I still have things I get reminded of, from my past, and I get encouraged how those things were what God was doing in my life, though at that time I did not realize it was God. I needed to get with Jesus so I could become able to see certain things and then appreciate them.

    We Christians can at times . . . ones of us would say "often", not only "at times"!! . . . we can go through things and even feel or suspect God is somehow not pleased with us, but later things work out and we see how God on the whole was working for us, but we needed to change in our character and perception more so we could see it and obey Him in His peace > Colossians 3:15.

    God is so better and greater than we are. We can be like an ant that is trying to figure out if there are humans and what we humans are like. You can have an ant in our hand, and see how the ant just keeps going and going and going, and not knowing it is in our nice warm hand! Jesus wants us to rest in Him, instead; and enough children of God, I would say, still need to get this a lot more, so we aren't running ourselves crazy like a spider in a wastebasket with slippery sides and we need for God to just give us a lift.

    "'Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'" (Matthew 11:29)

    This is what Jesus says, by the way. There is learning needed. You can't just stay in one place and get the answers which we really need to be looking for.

    So, whether you are lying or not, you could be isolating yourself with your own means. You could be limiting yourself about what you are asking for. In the Bible we can read things which can answer questions we need to be asking, instead of our limited ones.
     
  8. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    +359
    United States
    Skeptic
    Private


    Negative.

    I was exposed to the Bible, just like the Qur'an, Iliad, and all others. I was told one particular one was true; the Holy Bible. Meaning, prophecy was fulfilled and the 'living Christ' has resurrected. I attempted to pray to such, for decades, and felt no contact. Just the same as I might attempt praying to any other claimed God, and not feel contact. But in the case of the Bible, as stated prior, the Bible mentions many specific verses eluding to an interactive God, whom responds. Well, He did not for me, so what else 'should' I conclude, after decades of no feeling of contact in any distinguishable manor?


    For the same reason(s) issued above.


    No.

    I never felt any presence, ever. After decades, what other conclusion could I logically draw? Again, if the Bible itself did not specifically issue assertions, that God answers prayer, I would not be asking here. Meaning, the Bible claims God is interactive to all whom engage faithfully. Why can I not conclude such statements may not be true, since I never felt a presence of any kind?
     
  9. FIRESTORM314

    FIRESTORM314 Well-Known Member Supporter

    640
    +375
    United Kingdom
    Christian
    Married
    Did you feel rejected because you didn't get an answer - is that why you lost your faith?
    You also say you had full faith - what do you mean by that exactly - just what does that encompass?
     
  10. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    +359
    United States
    Skeptic
    Private
    The child does not deny the mere existence of the said authority. Meaning, the child is NOT questioning if the authority even exists. ;) I'm stating that, yes, the assertions are posed from the Bible. My point is I no longer believe the assertion, since it has not come to fruition, after decades of waiting. The child would eventually realize all imposed authority was 'correct'. You are presenting a false analogy.

    Again, I prayed for contact. I never felt any. Either He is choosing to wait longer, I'm lying, I'm def/blind. Or maybe, just maybe, I was talking to myself all along?


    What I asked for, was pretty plain and straight forward. I really cannot make it more simple. I asked for some type of contact, and never felt any. Seems odd that God would deny as such... Especially in light of all the aforementioned verses in the OP.
     
  11. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    +359
    United States
    Skeptic
    Private
    Great questions...

    Prayer was not the be-all, end-all, to my current status. It was a combo of many things... But staying on topic, I would say not feeling like I ever received a reply, and felt I was instead only speaking to myself, left me to wonder... Is something really listening? Or, is it instead my inherent nature to impose some intentional agent, as I'm a selfish agent whom thinks my worth is greater than it really is.?.?

    In regards to 'faith', one of the biggest caveats was 'you can't get something from nothing'. Combine this with many people, I felt were very intelligent, telling me 'the Bible is true, and filled with eyewitness attestation', I basically took it all in, appealing to authority; rather than investigating for myself, to reach my own conclusions. It also did not hurt to be reminded that all non-believers will parish or burn.

    Well, when I finally started to explore with as much of an 'unbiased' lens as I could muster, I landed on the 'other side', so-to-speak...

    I hope this answers your questions?
     
  12. gadar perets

    gadar perets Messianic Hebrew

    +1,019
    United States
    Unitarian
    Single
    US-Others
    You keep mentioning how never "felt" anything, never "felt" a presence, never "felt" contact, etc. God's presence is known, not felt. Our faith is not based on emotions and feelings, but on knowledge derived from Scripture, nature, and other sources. Ephesians 3:17 says, "That Messiah may dwell in your hearts by faith; ...", not by feelings. You had that faith, but it was stolen from you. Either that, or you simply gave it up all by yourself.
     
  13. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

    +1,078
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    I agree with you in this rejection of the explanation for why God did not remove all shred of possible doubt for His existence. It wouldn't remove your free will because you could still reject Him. I think a better reason why God might not deliver your request to remove all shred of possible doubt for His existence is because you would still reject him and so bring greater condemnation on yourself. Your epistemic requirement for belief in God exceeds even what is required to believe the external world exists. It's quite evident to me, and should be to you in such an epistemic requirement, that you have a significant propositional bias set against giving yourself to God. Having such a revelation in which you would still reject a saving relationship would bring greater condemnation upon yourself. I would consider your prayer answered, and answered in mercy.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
  14. FIRESTORM314

    FIRESTORM314 Well-Known Member Supporter

    640
    +375
    United Kingdom
    Christian
    Married
    Prayer is not all about making requests and asking for what you want. It's about spending time getting to know someone, sharing thoughts, etc. This is about a relationship not providing a shopping list of my own requirements. What would be the consequences in any relationship if there was no communication at all?

    Yeah - we could go ahead and solve all our own problems the best we can and accept the things we cannot change. Many people live this way anyway - even Christians. Deep down you'd know something was missing - that personal touch - you know - the thing you don't value until it's gone. I think some Christians might not even notice the absence - it depends on what they are used to. Would they sense Christ in them - the presence of the Holy Spirit? That again depends on how close they have been to Christ.

    As far as consequences - that depends on the person. Some children kick and scream if they get ignored. Some might drift and walk away - wasn't Moses up the mountain for 40 days and the people made a Golden Calf. The spiritually mature are used to silence and no immediate answers - Patience and waiting on God are Fruits of the Spirit.
     
  15. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    +359
    United States
    Skeptic
    Private
    Please let me clarify a bit for you then :)

    God has never presented attributes of His known existence to me. And since God is obviously not right in front of us, for all of us to 'see', we must instead apprehend, with our humans senses, some way to 'know' of His presence.

    Thus far, all I've been presented with, is a book. This book lays forth claims. Such claims have been attempted and carried out. I have yet to acquire any 'knowledge' to it's reality, in regards to the topic of prayer. Meaning, I have not felt His contact in my life (physically). I instead gather that it appears I've been talking to myself.
     
  16. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +3,290
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    God is in constant contact with each of us, including all through our bodies keeping them functioning as well as they do . . . in spite of how we humans can abuse our bodies > still, God keeps our bodies going as much as He does.

    But can we experience Him? This is a question. My own nature has a lot to do with what I am able to feel, experience, see, or know.

    Your stomach can have food being churned in it, but you do not experience this. So, yes it is possible for you to have contact with that food and not know it. So, it is possible to have contact and not feel it, in different ways with different beings.

    We need how God makes us able to experience Him, and this comes with submitting to Him in His peace.

    Like I offer > God is not silent, but He is quiet but quite active. This is why 1 Peter 3:4 says, I would say >

    "rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." (1 Peter 3:4)

    So, in becoming quiet in our nature we become more and more capable of experiencing God's contact and benefiting from being in union with Him.

    His love is gentle and quiet > not with dominating and controlling drives and ways of reacting. So, if our ways with others are bitter and controlling and using people, this can keep us from experiencing God in His love which makes us also all-loving.

    So > it is possible to be blind to this, and one can lie to oneself about this, and one can need to trust God to do things in His timing. And God's timing is not only with you, but together with your relating with other people > since God's working involves all of us in His orchestration, not only isolated individuals.

    So, yes, you can need to share with Jesus people, about this, since God includes using us to help people. And we, too, are praying for you. And we keep having hope.

    Plus, what we are really thinking can be the prayer He is hearing . . . all the time > what we are thinking while deciding and doing different things. Things you are thinking and deciding all through the day are making your statement to God.

    He is not just a feeling > He changes our character. And He proves Himself in us, like this.
     
  17. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    +359
    United States
    Skeptic
    Private

    Hey @Sanoy :) Long time no talk... Didn't we have this same discussion a while back? As a precursor, I mean no hostility moving forward, but will tell you, ahead of time, I find our conclusions will most likely not align. Just putting that out there before I respond :) Now to answer your response with a follow up question. Sorry, but I need to pin point what you are exactly getting at...

    Are you saying that God already knows I will reject His presented grace. Hence, the reason He does not provide demonstration of His mere existence to me?




     
  18. Sanoy

    Sanoy Well-Known Member

    +1,078
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    I am saying a better explanation than the violation of free will here is that you would still reject Him. And a good reason to believe that you would still reject Him is your propositional bias which is exemplified in creating an epistemic standard that exceeds what is required to even believe in the existence of the external world.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
  19. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +3,290
    United States
    Christian
    Single
    Any of us can do this, and our self stuff keeps us from how we as God's children could be more fully living in His way of loving. All our lives, we keep trusting God to change us out of anything in us which is self stuff, so we become resting in Jesus better, and how He shares with us and personally guides us in His peace.

    He is personal with each of us. But our self stuff is impersonal > I mean, not tenderly caring and taking an interest in each other person. By being impersonal and not all-caring, this can keep us from having the love we could enjoy and share. Because God's love is not favoritistic > Matthew 5:45; so this is why many people suffer, because of how we can latch on to only certain people we want to use and possess and control. We make love idols.

    Well, included in God's word is scripture making it clear what God personally does in every one of us who is His child, and in our lives, too. So, yes it would be good to read these scriptures and trust God to do all they mean in you and others >

    Romans 5:5 with 1 John 4:17-18

    Colossians 3:15 with Philippians 4:6-7

    But also be warned about Galatians 6:7-8, how we will reap so much more than those little seeds we have sown.

    And so, we need all God means by Hebrews 12:4-14!!!!

    But when Jesus "suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;" (in 1 Peter 2:23) So, this to me means Jesus is not about using threats to get us to surrender and submit to Him. So, hell is a reality but not meant to be only a threat to use fear. Because God's love does not have fear and its torment > 1 John 4:18.

    But there are hard things which can help to wake me up, warning me. But, even so, I need my attention to first be to God Himself and how He corrects me and personally rules me in His peace. Fearing hell could keep my attention elsewhere.
     
  20. cvanwey

    cvanwey Well-Known Member

    +359
    United States
    Skeptic
    Private
    How would you possibly know what my standard is, for the claim to the knowledge of existence for anything?

    I find your response fascinating....

    1. I was a 'true blue' believer in Christ for decades, despite presented lack in contact.
    2. It was only after decades of the feeling I was talking to myself, that I started to truly ask myself, 'hey, is anything actually listening, or am I instead talking to myself?'
    3. I started to read the Bible, and found that many verses actually stated God answers all prayer, especially when directed in a genuine sense, which I felt I had.

    Thus, it was the precursor, that after decades of absolutely no contact forthcoming, did I start to question IF such assertions were actually real.

    In essence, I feel you have it backwards... It was due to the continued lack in contact, that I began to loose my faith. Not instead, that I once knew it was true and later decided to rebel.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
Loading...