Prayer changes things?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by npetreley, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Here is a quote from A. W. Pink's "Sovereignty of God". No, Pink did not write it - he quoted it. Agree or disagree? Scripture?

     
  2. Amy.G

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    To be honest, prayer is a mystery to me. How can I change the mind of God?
    I think prayer is really about changing our wills to conform to God's will. It's about learning to yield to God instead of insisting on God yielding to ours.

    Here's my scripture.

    Mat 26:39 And He went a little beyond {them,} and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."

    Christ yielded to the Father's will and He is our example.
     
  3. J.D.

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    Amy, you keep selling yourself too short! You've basically nailed it. I heard it put like this: we pray TOWARD God's will. As we align toward His will, our will is conformed to His will.

    I like to use the real-life example of my brother's conversion. We received the bad news that he had but a short time left due to aggresive cancer. I immediately fell on my knees and began beggin God to save his soul. Forget theology - I just wanted the guy to get saved! Fast forward and a two thousand miles later I'm at his bedside giving him the gospel upon which he confessed the Lord as his savior and was later baptized. God had purposed to save him all along, but He had chosen to work through prayer. And yes, there is an element of mystery in there.

    But the reason the calvinism, or "theistic determinism" as I like to say, is not FATALISM, is because "means" is as much a part of the plan as the "cause" and the "effect". Most characitures of calvinism assumes the absence of means. If I did not believe that God uses means, such as prayer and witnessing, I would not be motivated to serve God as I do. I would not even be writing this. I would be fishing.

    So when I pray, I am very encouraged that God will use the "means" to His glory; when I witness, same thing.

    Be careful not to forget the formula - cause, means, effect. There are exceptions when God simply acts directly to cause something - for example, moving the sun back two hours. But more often than not, he uses means - for example, the parting of the red sea was a supernatural act, but He used the means of the natural wind to hold the water back. Okay that's enough I'll shut up now. Good night.
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    Amy, you have a good insight. I don't think we can change God's mind either, no matter how hard we pray. Our prayers don't tell God anything he doesn't already know, and he already knows what he will do. And sometimes it's nothing.

    However, we do have the instance in James where the elders are called to pray for the stick, and James says God will hear and answer the prayer of faith.

    And since God ordains the means as well as the ends, I think sometimes God determines what he will do, then ordains that it will be done when someone prays for it. Then he moves someone or several someones to pray.

    And you make an important point. Prayer doesn't change God. It changes us. It brings us to the point of total dependence on his mercy. Then when God does act, we know it is due to his mercy, and not due to anything we have done. That produces profound gratitude--and awe of the Creator of the Universe.

    Our prayers are big stuff to us, but they're just little piddlin' things to God.
     
  5. J.D.

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    I know you didn't mean for this to be funny, but it is. Was the stick healed?
     
  6. Amy.G

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    Praise God for your brother's salvation! I agree with you about the means God uses.
    I remember something Henry Blackaby said when I was doing the Experiencing God study. He said "for reasons known only to God, He chooses to involve us in His work." (my paraphrase) That is just awesome to me!
     
  7. J.D.

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    I don't know who Henry Blackaby is but he sounds like a good teacher.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    It looked like sick when I typed it. But I have a good excuse. I have dain bramage.
     
  9. Amy.G

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    Oh, you are so right. What a great point. Prayer brings us to a dependancy on God. I like that. It keeps us humble, doesn't it? Knowing He is our Father and we are His children. :praying: Wow!
     
  10. J.D.

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    You're not going to believe this, but I got into a debate on someone's blog with an agnostic that called himself "dain bramaged". About a month ago. Wasn't you, was it? You moonlighting as an agnostic?
     
  11. Amy.G

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    He's an author, teacher, preacher. The Experiencing God study was designed for group study. We did it in SS. It was really good.
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    JD, you and I were saying the same thing, only you said it better. Except for one thing: Count me as one Calvinist who believes that God ordains both means and ends.

    And even if prayer is a mystery, God told us to do it. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, Jesus prayed, Paul prayed for Israel's salvation, the elders prayed over the stick man---uh, the sick man, so if we don't have it figured out, that's okay. Just do it.

    Paul said God determined to save people through the foolishness of preaching. If some Calvinists can't make that square with their Calvininism, that's just tough. Do it anyway, cause our Savior said to.
     
  13. J.D.

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    Not sure if there's a misunderstanding here - I too believe that God ordains both means and ends. I might not have been clear on that in the past.
     
  14. Hopeful

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    And I have sat here tonite, unable to sleep (as usual--even after milk and Bible-study) and slogged through these threads, reading and learning--or laughing--until I got to his post--and said, "AH HA"--because the "dain bramage" phrase was a little gift from God to me tonight through Tom Butler out in BB-land.
    Because it was exactly what my hubby used to say about himself--(and since he actually HAD a head-injury, that was his way of reminding me that he was "still himself"... as long as he could say it "wrong" like that, I knew he still had his sense of humor).

    So, thanks BB for keeping me company again tonight...and thanks Tom Butler for being the means through which God gave me a sweet reminder tonight of "my life that was".
    So, now maybe I can finally go :sleeping_2:
     
  15. webdog

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    Amy, read the story about Hezekiah. God sent Samuel to tell Hezekiah he was going to die. Hezekiah went to the Lord in prayer. After hearing Hezekiah's prayer (God's words, not mine) He granted another 15 years of life.

    1. Was God really going to kill Hezekiah initially or not?
    2. Why did He grant Hezekiah another 15 years of life?

    Prayer is more than simply aligning wills. This is the great mystery of an Almighty God...we don't know how He works with finite man in time, while remaining omniscient. No systematic theology will ever get this right.

    Also, if we can yield our wills to the Father's...wouln't that make us sovereign over God? ;) :laugh:
     
    #15 webdog, Nov 14, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2007
  16. Tom Butler

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    I re-read your post and you were quite clear. It was my brain that was fuzzy.
     
  17. Amy.G

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    1. Don't know
    2. He's merciful. He had a purpose.


    Yes, I suppose it is more than aligning wills. It's also part of a relationship. But, if you don't align your will to God's, you will not have a realationship.
    What does systematic theology have to do with it?



    :confused:
     
  18. webdog

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    How can you say you don't know? God said He was. He sent Samuel to say He was. What don't you know? Was God pretending or lying? I doubt it was either, but just what He said.
    Scripture doesn't say that. It says God heard Hezekiah's prayer. Me thinks you are sounding like a politician...or an attorney :laugh:
    Systematic theology tries to explain away how God can possibly remain sovereign while listening to His creation, and reacting accordingly. You just supplied a taste of it.
    Joke, Amy. That's something your new theological buddies say...
     
    #18 webdog, Nov 14, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2007
  19. Tom Butler

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    You are very kind, and I hope it helped. I did suffer a minor brain injury 35 years ago when I fell on my head. Most of the effects have diminished with age. But when I forget something, I have a handy excuse. It covers a multitude of mistakes.
     
  20. TCGreek

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    And we are not victims of fatalism or determinism.
     

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