Praying through e-mail

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by allenm, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. allenm

    allenm
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    I get an A.W. Tozer daily devotional and at the end of each one is a brief prayer on the topic that was just highlighted.
    I've adopted that practice of sharing prayer in an e-mail. I use it when I get e-mail alerts of prayer concerns from our church, when family have strong prayer concerns, etc.

    My thoughts:
    • When we get an e-mail that asks for prayer, how often do we actually stop and pray for that need? It's too easy to move on to the next e-mail or get distracted with the next 'thing'. If we reply immediately with a prayer message that person KNOWS that you've prayed for them.
    • When you REPLY ALL and share a communal prayer through e-mail, the reader of the reply, through the act of reading it, is lifting up that prayer also. So, if you have 100 people on a distribution list (or a forum like the BaptistBoard.com) and 100 people read the e-mail prayer, you have a lot more prayer lifted. Is this different than repeating a prayer that's printed in a bulletin or recited from the pulpit?

    Am I kidding myself? Is this affective prayer?
    I know that the best thing to do is call that person or visit with them and pray with them directly. But I think that e-mail prayer fits with my peers and their lifestyle. I will frequently get a 'thank you' from people when I send e-mail prayers so I think it works for some people.

    I'm curious what others think about sending private and/or communal prayers through e-mail.

    Thanks for your feedback,

    -Allen
     
  2. superwoman8977

    superwoman8977
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    E-mail is a great way to share prayer requests. I know if I have a problem and cannot get hold of my prayer warriors by phone I know I can email them. I look at email as another way to connect to God...JMHO
     
  3. Bible Believing Bill

    Bible Believing Bill
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    I don't believe that simply reading someones prayer in an email, bulletin or whatever is praying.

    That is not to say that email is not a good way to make a prayer request known. When I see a prayer in a email, or some other written form and I will then lift up that person or situation on my own. My prayer can be verbal, it can be my thoughts, or it can be written. If it is written it is my prayer it is not the readers prayer.

    Bill
     
  4. Marcia

    Marcia
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    It is easy to move on, so I usually stop right then and say a prayer. I usually email the person back and say "I prayed for you just now about this."


    I do not agree with doing this by REPLY ALL. I do not like getting such emails from others -- how or when they pray is not affecting me or how I pray. It just adds more email to everyone's Inbox.

    Each person can reply individually to the sender if they wish. I am not happy about my email address on such lists, either. The sender should hide email addresses by using the BCC function, if they have it.
     
  5. tinytim

    tinytim
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    Just by reading a prayer does not constitute praying...

    Prayer is not an incantation.

    Prayer comes from the heart...
    Now a person can agree with a written prayer... and it be a real prayer.
    But just reading an email that happens to be a prayer is not praying.
     
  6. Deacon

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    ...and please don't e-mail the prayer to me in the hopes that if you send it to your favorite 25 friends (and say 10 hail Mary's) it will come true.

    Rob
     
  7. allenm

    allenm
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    Thank you for your comments.

    I don't want to agitate the subject but I have a curious question.
    I was raised in a Presbyterian church (married and converted to Baptist 12 years ago). Every Sunday morning the congregation would read a prayer from the bulletin in unison out loud. There would also be "repeat after me" prayers from the pulpit.

    Is that ineffective prayer? Would that be more like "incantation" prayer?

    Thanks for your gentle replies = : )
     
  8. StefanM

    StefanM
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    I know many Baptists get fussy over scripted prayers, but I have no problem with them. To me, the issue is intent. If you are truly praying to God, the script is of no issues.

    In fact, I prefer them to the individual public prayers of the stereotypical 85 year old Deacon "Jones," who makes a well-intentioned but grammatically questionable effort to pray using King James English. I feel like I am participating more when I am saying the words out loud.
     
  9. tinytim

    tinytim
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    It can be an effective prayer..
    Depends...
    James 5:16 says The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

    So that has to be factored in.

    If a person is right with God, and the scripted or repeated prayer is agreed with in that person's heart, then it is effective...
    This is the same as one person praying a prayer, and everyone else saying "amen"... if effect, everyone has agreed by saying "amen" to what the one person prayed.

    In the case of email... here is the way I see it.

    I receive a prayer in an email.
    I read it first... (not praying yet)
    1. I can then disregard it.. (for many reasons... most of the disregarded ones have to do with theological reasons)
    2. I can reread it, concentrating on it as a prayer to God
    3. Or I can simply say or type and reply "amen"...
    Think of it this way, if someone from the Church of Satan sent you a prayer to Satan , and you accidently read it, did you just pray to Satan?
    I would say no... But if you agreed to it, you did.

    I hope this helps.



     
  10. Aaron

    Aaron
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    It's like praying through any other kind of medium—it's superstitious.
     
  11. tinytim

    tinytim
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    There are exceptions...

    For instance, on our Prayer request forum here on BB.. I have seen times when someone requests prayer for something specific, and someone replies with an actual prayer. Those are specific prayers. In those cases, I don't see it as superstitious, but actual prayers.

    Now simply reading that prayer reply does not constitute an actual prayer...

    IOWS..

    Billy Bob types in a request
    Wilma Jean replies with a typed out prayer specific to Billy Bob's request

    I come along 3 hrs later, click on Wilma Jean's reply and read it...
    I didn't pray.. I simply read a prayer.

    But that doesn't mean that Wilma Jean's written prayer was superstitious...

    But responding to an email by "reply all" and typing a prayer with the intent that everyone that reads your reply is actually praying is superstitous... it is based in bad doctrine that says that the more people pray for someone the more likely God will act...

    The faith then is not in God, but in the amount of people praying.
     
  12. lbaker

    lbaker
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    Yeah, kinda like if enough folks pray that can override God's veto.
     
  13. tinytim

    tinytim
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    What Scripture in the Bible points out that the more people that pray, the more likely the prayer will be answered.?..

    This premise governs the way the Western World requests prayer.

    We have Prayer lists... and as soon as something goes wrong with someone we try to get that person's name on every list possible.. under the premise that the more lists a person is on, the more people will be praying for the person, the more likely the prayer will be answered...

    Now, I am not saying this is necessarily wrong... I do it myself... but what scripture do we have that says that the more that people pray, the better the chance of getting it answered?
     
  14. superwoman8977

    superwoman8977
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    For me the whole prayer thing is one of those "gray" areas that we have to figure out. I mean dont get me wrong in Matthew 6 He talks about how we should pray and everything but when I have a need I too try and get it on every prayer list and get the prayer warriors praying and everything because I firmly believe the more people that are praying the more things will get done. I have seen it happen in several situations even lately in my life as well as the lives of my friends. This is where the questions about Free Will vs God's will come about.
     
  15. Beth

    Beth
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    Agree

    This is my opinion also.

    Jas 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

    I tend to prefer to pray or intercede in private. I love to receive prayer requests and hope to be as consistent in this as Epaphras.

    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

    Your sis in Christ,
    Beth
     
  16. Beth

    Beth
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    Not sure it is quantitative

    I am not sure it is as much a quantitative thing as it is one of fervency, as per James 5:16.

    I do know it is a cool thing that the prayers of the saints are as incense saved in Heaven!

    Re 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
    Re 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
    Re 8:4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.

    Isn't that just amazing...that our prayers are as sweet incense? God is just amazing, isn't He?

    Your sis in Christ,
    Beth
     
  17. allenm

    allenm
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    That is a new perspective. I'm glad you put it that way. It does turn the idea a little.

    If you are familiar with the book "Prayer - Finding the Hearts True Home", by Richard J. Foster, there is a chapter on Intercessory Prayer.
    Here are some of his words:
    "Intercession is done individually; it is also done corporately. Jesus promises to be present in great power whenever the community of faith is truly gathered in his name (Matt. 18:20). When enough faith, hope, and love are found in any given community, the blessings are multiplied, for then organized, corporate, intercessory prayer is possible."

    I have adjusted my thinking on e-mail prayers. I see there is value in sending e-mail prayer but only under certain conditions.

    Another thought on this topic: Prayer circles
    If we have twenty people in a room and we all join hands and listen to the leader pray for a person's failing marriage (for example), we are are corporately listening (and I believe amplifiying) and participating in that prayer. What value is the holding of hands? Is it an emotional connection to the group? Does that amplifiy the prayer?

    Prayer circles compared to e-mail:
    If I send a prayer to 20 people's e-mail, and they read it over their morning cup of coffee does that - in a detached way - have a similair affect of 20 people standing in a room holding hands listening to me pray?

    Please understand that my comments on this topic are meant to enhance the flavor of this conversation, not make it bitter.

    Group, please gently share your thoughts = : )

    -Allen

    P.S. - Thank you to the founders of BaptistBoard.com. I am soo pleased to have found an online resource to have these discussions.
     
  18. Marcia

    Marcia
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    Tiny Tim, I agree with you that more people praying doesn't mean that it will somehow get God to answer prayer more.

    However, I do believe that the more people pray, the more God is glorified when there is answer - and I have seen this many, many times (God answering prayer - sometimes not the way we anticipate).

    I am a missionary so I send out prayer requests to several supporting churches and to a group of people who pray for me. It's awesome! :godisgood:
     
  19. Marcia

    Marcia
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    I totally see your point, but just as a point of information - the Church of Satan officially does not believe in Satan as a real being (nor do they believe in God) but as a symbol or metaphor for man's total freedom from God and any moral code. This is pretty common among many Satanists today (though there are Satanists who believe in satan but not the Church of Satan).

    There are actually several forms of satanism. If you want to know more, email me from my website at www.christiananswersforthenewage.org

    I have some info on my site but not as much as I can tell. This is an area I speak on.
     

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