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The Power that Prayer does not Have


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#16    Yamato

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 12:20 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 22 September 2012 - 07:45 PM, said:

THE POWER THAT PRAYER DOES NOT HAVE

This might prove to be a time bomb, considering that approximately 95% of theists won't agree with me. Prayers cannot make God change His mind, that's the point. I mean, requesting prayers. That's not simply my opinion but my understanding of Numbers 23:19 in the Torah, where we have that God is not like a man to change His mind.

Prayer, by definition, if we seriously think it through, is an attempt to make God change His mind. I mean, as far
as requesting prayers are concerned. When we pray about something that is missing in our lives, whether in the health sector or something similar, we are simply trying to make God change His mind from the state of ignoring our condition or of being unaware of it into becoming reminded of something that has gone wrong with creation.

Now, allow me to bring into your attention that this thread is not meant to vandalize with the building blocks of faith throughout generations of mankind's existence on earth. But if we are to pray for another who is ill, for instance, it might be effective, but we must let him or her know that we are doing so; otherwise, nothing will happen. Even if we forget it or change our mind, it will be good for both the praying agent and the one we are praying for.

In conclusion, there are three different kinds of prayers: Requesting prayers, thanksgiving prayers, and song prayers. Most Jewish prayers are made by way of songs. But both thanksgiving and song prayers are very salutary. The only problem is with requesting prayers, which implies the pretense to change God's mind. This only causes anxiety. Thanksgiving prayers are good to preserve a happy spiritual mood; and song prayers contribute to elate one's heart into a condition of happiness. The Psalms are of the song kind. Hence, at the rivers of Babylon, when asked to sing, the Jews would decline on the basis that they could not sing songs of Zion in a foreign land. (Psam 137)

Ben
I would never presume that God can't change his mind, or He'd probably change His mind just to spite my insolence.



Mark 11:24:  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Matthew 7:7:  Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

If the way everything happened was already God's will, then religion itself that has changed so much over the millennia wouldn't exist in the first place.  The existence of religion requires us to believe that God changes his mind, unless we are resigned to believe, after picking the religion of our choice, that God didn't exist before that religion.

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#17    Shiloh17

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 05:44 PM

Jon 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

Jon 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Defenition of repent:

1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life

2a : to feel regret or contrition
  b : to change one's mind

Sounds like they repented by turning from their evil ways (definition 1)
And God repented by changing his mind (definition 2)

If he could change his mind for repenting, he can't through prayer?

Edited by Realm, 23 September 2012 - 05:46 PM.


#18    joc

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:30 PM

View PostRealm, on 23 September 2012 - 05:44 PM, said:

Jon 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

Jon 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Defenition of repent:

1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life

2a : to feel regret or contrition
  b : to change one's mind

Sounds like they repented by turning from their evil ways (definition 1)
And God repented by changing his mind (definition 2)

If he could change his mind for repenting, he can't through prayer?
God creates man.
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God punishes man.
Man prays to God.
God decides not to punish man.

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#19    Beckys_Mom

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 12:40 PM

Wouldn't God  ( being so all knowing )  already know exactly what man will or will not do? And God would already know the outcome  BEFORE it ever happens?  So punishing is pointless God saw it before  man did ...........If God said -  Timmy - Do not travel to Scotland... the time is not right.......Well if Timmy went regardless God would have known what Timmy's next move was  before Timmy...!!!!!!   Poor Timmy  lol

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#20    Doug1o29

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Posted 24 September 2012 - 01:47 PM

View PostBen Masada, on 22 September 2012 - 07:45 PM, said:

THE POWER THAT PRAYER DOES NOT HAVE

This might prove to be a time bomb, considering that approximately 95% of theists won't agree with me. Prayers cannot make God change His mind, that's the point. I mean, requesting prayers. That's not simply my opinion but my understanding of Numbers 23:19 in the Torah, where we have that God is not like a man to change His mind.
If God really knows everything, then He already knows the outcome of a prayer request - He knew it before it was asked.  If He already knows what will happen, then there isn't any point to prayer, because God CAN'T change His mind, because that would change the outcome.  So prayer is a waste of breath.
Doug

P.S.:  But that means there is something that God can't do, so God is not all-powerful.  So why are you praying to a God that can't do anything about it, anyway?

Religion gives me a headache.
Doug

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#21    Ben Masada

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:03 PM

View Postjoc, on 22 September 2012 - 09:01 PM, said:

I view prayer in the same light as I view hope.   People hope for things that they have absolutely no ability to control....if they did, they would.  People pray for the same reason, to affect an outcome that cannot be affected by them.   Both Prayer and Hope are desperate acts of desperate people.

In turn, I view prayer in the same light as I view faith. While faith says all about the faithful, hope says all about the thing hoped for. If the prayer of the faithful does not come to fruition, the faithful is to blame for a faulty faith. If the thing hoped-for does not materialize, it is not the fault of the one who hopes but of circumstantial reality.

Ben


#22    Ben Masada

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:11 PM

View PostStill Waters, on 22 September 2012 - 09:01 PM, said:

Not always. A person can pray without looking to God for an answer, and doesn't expect something to happen in response. Just praying can give comfort to some, there doesn't always have to be more to it.

IMHO, the prayer for comfort is of the class of thanksgiving prayers and prayer songs. We acknowledge God's providence without testing His power to prove His generosity beyond the nature we have been created with.

Now, to pray without looking to God for an answer, why would one do that? That would be to pray without faith. The answer,   already improbable due to the hope that God would change His mind, on one hand, became impossible for the lack of faith, on the other hand.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada, 25 September 2012 - 05:23 PM.


#23    Ben Masada

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:37 PM

View PostWearer of Hats, on 22 September 2012 - 09:52 PM, said:

We use "requesting" prayers as a sort of "first step" in emptahy and compassion training with the kids we teach here in Aussie Catholic schools, "asking God to help someone" means we've identified that someone needs help, then we can refine it into seeing what exactly that person needs and eventuslly into what we can do to help that person.

When man was commanded to grow and multiply, according to Genesis 1:28, it didn't mean only to populate the earth but to develop our intellect and to make good use of our free will to help each other. That's the share of God in the wellbeing of man: By using men to help men. Then, our prayers should be of the sort of thanksgiving prayers for having God made that possible by way of His natural laws.

Ben


#24    Ben Masada

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:53 PM

View PostNinhursag, on 23 September 2012 - 11:23 AM, said:

I Think Prayers Are Healthy .. Take Away Prayer From Men And There Is Nothing To Live For .. There Would Be No Hope For Better Days Or Curing Illnesses .. The Power Of Prayer IMO Is Very Strong Solely For The Fact That People Believe They Are Praying To Someone Who Is In Greater Control Of Their Lives ..

However, I Do Agree People Should Realize That Request Prayers Should Be Exchanged With Song Prayers And Thanksgiving Prayers .. People Should Learn To Accept Their Situation And Pray God (Or Whoever They Pray To) To Give Them Strenght To Find A Solution To The Problem Instead Of Praying God To Make The Problem Disappear .. Which We All Know Won't Happen ..

And A Propos This, It Links Well To That Post Someone Made About Those Horrible Parents Praying God For Their Sick Son Instead Of Taking Them To The Doc ..

Most definitely, I agree with you. It is healthy to pray; but requesting prayer is dangerous, as it causes anxiety and disappointment. I mean, if we are in a pressing situation, we ought rather to thank God that our state could be worse and live it at that with praises to the Lord.  If God is Omniscient, won't He know what's going on?

Ben


#25    Ben Masada

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:31 PM

View PostYamato, on 23 September 2012 - 12:20 PM, said:

I would never presume that God can't change his mind, or He'd probably change His mind just to spite my insolence.



Mark 11:24:  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Matthew 7:7:  Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

If the way everything happened was already God's will, then religion itself that has changed so much over the millennia wouldn't exist in the first place.  The existence of religion requires us to believe that God changes his mind, unless we are resigned to believe, after picking the religion of our choice, that God didn't exist before that religion.

You started this post of yours with the right note. Indeed, it would be an insolence to presume that God would change His mind. (Num. 23:19) But that presumption is found in your first quotation of Mark 11:24. The quote of Mat. 7:7, I see as the pursuance of knowledge and research to get enlightened with the Truth.

Religion is no evidence that God changes His mind. Otherwise, it would be a contradiction to God's own Word. IMHO, a church, synagogue, mosque, or any other religious gathering is the least probable place God is to be found. So many crimes and murders have been committed by and in the name of religions that, if God could act like a man, He would loath religions.

Ben


#26    Ben Masada

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:45 PM

View PostRealm, on 23 September 2012 - 05:44 PM, said:

Jon 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

Jon 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Defenition of repent:

1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life

2a : to feel regret or contrition
  b : to change one's mind

Sounds like they repented by turning from their evil ways (definition 1)
And God repented by changing his mind (definition 2)

If he could change his mind for repenting, he can't through prayer?

Hey Realm, you need to get out of the realm of the letter and into the realm of metaphorical language. The singular danger of literal interpretation of the Scriptures only leads one into the realm of contradictions. Anger is an emotion, a passion, and God is not like a man to be activated by emotions. The change of mind here is in our own conscience, when repentance and obedience are effected. That's what Isaiah 1:18,19 is all about. The only way to set things right with God, so that our sins, from scarlet red, become as white as snow, is through repentance and a return to obedience.  

Ben


#27    Ben Masada

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:56 PM

View PostBeckys_Mom, on 24 September 2012 - 12:40 PM, said:

Wouldn't God  ( being so all knowing )  already know exactly what man will or will not do? And God would already know the outcome  BEFORE it ever happens?  So punishing is pointless God saw it before  man did ...........If God said -  Timmy - Do not travel to Scotland... the time is not right.......Well if Timmy went regardless God would have known what Timmy's next move was  before Timmy...!!!!!!   Poor Timmy  lol

The name if  free will. That's one of the attributes man, as a human being, was granted with. Metaphorically, God does not intervene with what man chooses to do or not to. According to Gen. 4:7, "If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door; his urge is toward you; yet, you can be his master." This is what goes on in the conscience of man when he is contemplating an evil action.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada, 25 September 2012 - 06:56 PM.


#28    Ben Masada

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 07:14 PM

View PostDoug1o29, on 24 September 2012 - 01:47 PM, said:

If God really knows everything, then He already knows the outcome of a prayer request - He knew it before it was asked.  If He already knows what will happen, then there isn't any point to prayer, because God CAN'T change His mind, because that would change the outcome.  So prayer is a waste of breath.
Doug

P.S.:  But that means there is something that God can't do, so God is not all-powerful.  So why are you praying to a God that can't do anything about it, anyway?

Religion gives me a headache.
Doug

God can do every thing  but one; what you we wish He did or should do.  Now, for your surprise, prayer is not a waste of breath. Psychologically, prayer is rather salutary and good. I mean, prayers of thanksgiving and song prayers. The problem with requesting prayers is that, for lack of knowledge of the Scriptures, many tend to assume that God can be moved into action by prayers. The result is anxiety and disappointment. BTW, even requesting prayers can be effective if we, for instance let a sick person know that we are praying for his or her recovery, although we forget or had no mind to pray at all. The self suggestion in the heart of the sick, would do the trick. A lady was in bed for three days, we formed a minyan of ten men to pray for her recovery, we made sure she knew what was going on and the right time, and she did recover. As far as she was concerned, the thing was for real. Among us, it was only an experiment, which proved the fallacy of requesting prayers.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada, 25 September 2012 - 07:19 PM.


#29    Dr. D

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:55 PM

"I knew I was God when I was praying and suddenly realized that I was talking to myself."


#30    Ben Masada

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 05:30 PM

View PostDr. D, on 25 September 2012 - 09:55 PM, said:

"I knew I was God when I was praying and suddenly realized that I was talking to myself."

A god praying to another god!!! That's why you realized you were talking to yourself. Hey, I am kidding. I do understand what you mean. I wish all who have a mind to bribe God, realized the same reality.

Ben

Edited by Ben Masada, 29 September 2012 - 05:32 PM.





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