Saturday, April 29, 2006

Behold the power of prayer!

Do you pray? What do you pray? When do you pray? How do you pray? Most importantly, who do you pray to? I have heard a phrase recently that made my hair stand on end. It makes the back of my neck tingle every time I hear it. It seems common in Christian circles and that, more than anything, bothers me. Do you beleive in "the power of prayer"?
Can prayer move mountains? Does the laying of hands heal the sick? Though I invoke the ire of many pious televangelists, no, it does not. How many times have your prayers gone unanswered? How many times have you asked for healing only to watch a loved one die? I challenge any Christian to move a mountain with his or her faith or calm the seas with a command. How about parting the Red Sea? Can you raise the dead?
Did it work? I sincerely doubt it. No mortal has the power to make the mountain bow down or the sea to subside. It is not a gift God has given us. Nobody, regardless of the strength of their faith, commands the power of God.
Why can we not do these things? Jesus himself taught that we could "with the faith of a mustard seed". Are we truly so weak in our faith that God will not move through us? Yes, we are.
Once again I feel I will offend many Christians by saying so, but it is true. When people talk about the power of prayer, they forget about the God who gives their prayer power. My hands hold no power to heal the sick. I cannot raise the dead. Only God has that power. Only if I pray believing that God will use HIS power to heal will it happen. I must then realize that, though I am the one who asked for God's blessing, I had nothing to do with the miracle.
Why, then, can I not recognize this and change? Shouldn't this understanding enable me to put my faith where it needs to be and slay a fig tree or feed the masses? I suspect that this understanding may only make it harder to do that. It comes with a sense that I need only to change my thinking to bestow power unto myself. It's kind of a trap our minds set for us. Understanding leads to arrogance and actually denies faith.
If the people of the Bible could perform miracles, why can our faith not grow as theirs did? The answer is kind of painful. We do not and cannot know God. Jesus was God made flesh. He had a kind of relationship with God we cannot have in this life or the next. The deciples walked with Jesus and knew him personally. They had the kind of relationship with God we long to have but will only have in His kingdom. When the deciples asked Jesus why he taught in parables, he explained that the people could not understand his teachings because the people had not walked with Him as they had. They did not know him.
We are not the deciples. We are the crowd to whom he spoke in parables. I do not know if we can ever walk with Christ as the deciples did, but I do know that we are not doing it yet. We must take time every once in a while to remind ourselves that it is not Christianity we seek, but God. We must realize that we are mortal men and women are no more or less than anyone else on the street. Unfortunately it is easier said than done.
In all of this, I do not condemn prayer. Prayer is important because it brings us closer to God. I hope you pray daily. Just remember to whom your prayer is addressed.


God does not come because we pray. We pray because he is already there.

4 Comments:

Blogger Beth said...

ok so I got you on all of that... execpt it's rare that I pray. Rare because I know I have no business asking for his favor.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Of course you do. Even when you royally mess stuff up, nay, ESPECIALLY when you mess stuff up, Dad will be willing to help when you come to him humbly and earnestly. God is no different. Be humble enough to know you're not that bad.

4:14 PM  
Blogger T said...

I admit, I kinda got a bit defensive when you said that prayers and laying on of hands (something that my religion practices) don't work, but I'm glad I read on! You're right, we ourselves can't make things happen. It's only when God gives us the power to do so that prayers are answered and people are healed. I like what you've got so far! Keep up the good work!

7:15 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

i think that i find it funny... you and i have had rather different paths... both the same starting point... then dramatic divergence... only to find that we never really left the same page.

There's something interesting when two people head in different directions to only end in the same place.

1:08 PM  

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