Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Question of the Week...

Since I've themed this blog after the freedom of questioning, I've decided to tackle a different question every week. I'd love to hear your take on each; some will be serious, some downright silly.

I'm getting a late start, but, hey, it's a holiday week :). So here it is:

What do you think the purpose of prayer is?

I know, starting off so light and easy! But this question arose recently during a conversation with good friends who had a very close call lately with a family member in a serious accident. They prayed, their family prayed, everyone they could remotely call on to pray, prayed, and the person has truly made a miraculous recovery.

Thank you, God. And we are thankful to be on this side of the question. But the question remains nonetheless.

Because you see, in the next bed at the very hospital that nursed this individual back to health laid another person. Also very sick. Also a serious situation. And people were praying just as hard.

But this person wasn't getting better.

How do we explain that? I understand that God has a master plan that we cannot understand. So what is the purpose of our prayers, then, if the plan is set? Or is it? Are the prayers to change us instead?

No right or wrong answers, just interested in what you think. Next week, I promise the question will be somewhere along the lines of if you like creamy or crunchy peanutbutter!

All my love,


1 comment:

Rebekah said...

Dr. Laura,
My husband and I have had similar conversations--especially during the trials of late. Here's my nuts and bolts answer. The only formal prayer we have record of in the Word of God, is the "Father's Prayer," which summed up is Jesus asking his Father [our father] to bring his Kingdom to earth...AKA let GOD's will be done in every situation, every circumstance. Also note, there is only ONE recorded instance (I believe it was Peter) of someone laying hands on another and praying for healing. All other healings were brought on by spoken word (or even shadow--in Paul's case). It wasn't until the last couple of years (during my ISOM studies) that I realized I had never heard the truth preached about prayer. I don't agree with praying for healing. It's not what Jesus did, so why don't we follow suit? I'll take the "we" out of the matter and speak of myself. I don't pray for healing because of lack of faith. I don't have enough faith to believe if I say "In Jesus name you are healed..." or "In Jesus name get up and walk," that it will actually happen! I'm working on the faith part. In the mean time I pray things like "Lord, bring comfort to the family. Rest. Assurance of your love."

So, all that being said, I don't believe we should be praying for healing. But, I do believe that prayer is a significant portion of our intimacy with the Lord. Meeghan and I get together weekly to bathe our families, friends, and loved ones in prayer. We pray protection and health over the people we love. We ask for divine wisdom for situations. We ask God to reveal to our hearts supernatural Wisdom and Words of Knowledge. We ask for Holy Spirit Visions and Dreams. And we use scripture when praying over needs. Our prayers have produced much fruit as we have seen answers and movement in situations.

One thing I am VERY careful of when praying is manipulation. If I truly want God's will in a situation then I have no business praying God into a corner. For example, Ben and I are completely at the Lord's mercy when it comes to our baby. I don't beg the Lord for a boy...because what if his will is a girl? I also avoid fruitless prayers. Prayers like "Lord, change Ben's heart," are a waste of time. God CAN'T change anyone's heart unless they're willing--he's given us a free will. Instead, I pray, Lord show me how to minister to Ben. Show me how to love him the way you love him," etc.

When it comes down to it, we should be spending more time praising God for who he is, expressing our thankfulness for what's he done, and letting the Holy Spirit speak the words for us. I use those three elements in my prayer life and find myself praying very few actual words... I love Romans 8:26-27: "...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." So the real question is, if the Spirit of God plays such a vital part in our lives--especially our prayer lives, why do people refuse to acknowledge him or pass him off as "holy roller weirdness?" My advice? If you're not filled with the Spirit and don't have evidence of tongues--get it. See what God will do.