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Old 01-31-2011, 12:31 PM
 
624 posts, read 865,349 times
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How does God answer prayer today? Curiously, I find that there are Christian theologians who teach that prayer changes nothing. That it's more of a means to get us to conform to the will of God and nothing else.

But if that's true, why pray for a need (i.e for a job, for healing, etc..)?

And if God does answer prayers, what proofs can you guys provide?

I'm a Christian, but I'm reconsidering some of my convictions....
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:56 PM
 
138 posts, read 139,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
How does God answer prayer today? Curiously, I find that there are Christian theologians who teach that prayer changes nothing. That it's more of a means to get us to conform to the will of God and nothing else.

But if that's true, why pray for a need (i.e for a job, for healing, etc..)?

And if God does answer prayers, what proofs can you guys provide?

I'm a Christian, but I'm reconsidering some of my convictions....
Here's an answered prayer story about a miracle.


Besides getting me sober and stopping me from smoking three packs of cigarettes a day, the very first miracle that God asked me to pray for was in 1989. My family and I had planned on moving back to North Dakota from San Jose, CA in a couple weeks so I got them interested in going on a drive to Carmel and Monterrey, which was a Sunday. I had a 1982 Toyota Tercel that had been a great car with very few problems in the past. Once we drove around Carmel for a while and came to the junction where an old Spanish church was, I decided to go on a drive south from there. We took a quick peek at the map and it showed a long winding road through valleys between two mountain ranges. Greenfield was south and east from Carmel towards central California.

The first few miles we saw ranches on both sides of the road with huge houses on them. After that, it was a barren drive with no traffic and just a few ranches tucked up in the trees at the base of the mountains. It reminded me of driving in central North Dakota where you can drive for an hour and not meet any cars. Everything was going great when all of a sudden the car started vibrating badly. I suspected the left half shaft right away because a year earlier, I had to replace the other shaft after it broke and put a hole in my oil pan. I did the work on replacing it because I had a lot of farming experience. I knew how to repair universal joints and learned that once they start spitting out bearings, they need to be replaced immediately or you can have serious problems with other parts of the machine.

I pulled over to check it out. I grabbed the shaft and pulled on it and bearings came out. It was wobbling so I knew we were stuck there. I wasn't about to drive and end up with a shaft going through the block of the car engine which I learned can happen. I got back into the car and told my wife and kids we had to walk to get help. Our boys were 4 and 5 years old and it wasn't too long ago that we had to carry them all the way across San Franscisco because they were too tired to walk. They didn't like their strollers anymore so we expected them to walk with us. That was the worst day I ever had with them because they were quite heavy at this age. My wife and I had to carry them back to the Bart station from the popular tourist area where the piers were.

With this in mind, we declined on that walking together idea so I told her I would walk and they could stay in the car. The look of fear came to her face and said she wasn't going to be left alone in the middle of nowhere. She thought a stranger might mess with her and the kids while I was gone. We had no way out except to wait for a ride that we hadn't seen since we left Carmel.

All of a sudden, I got this strong desire to ask God to fix the half shaft. This was given to me because I never would have thought God would fix cars. I remember Jesus healing people but not fixing anything. I turned to my boys and wife and told them we were going to pray to God for him to fix the half shaft so we could go home. After I prayed to him, I started up the car and drove off. It was vibrating badly just like it was when I stopped. But I got this overwhelming confidence that it was fixed so I kept driving and within a mile or so, I noticed the vibrating was easing up. The more I drove the better it got and by the time we got to Greenfield, I had forgotten about it. We had a long trip back to San Jose but since it wasn't vibrating anymore, we went home without dealing with it. I had this confidence that everything was okay.

It was working so good by the time we got back to San Jose, that I didin't bother to look underneath the car to see how God fixed it. I never did check it out and we drove that car back to North Dakota and I used it in the ranching business that her father and I partnershipped in. I welded a hitch on this car and used it to haul machinery and loads of fertilizer and other things behind it. The business didn't work out very well so we moved back to San Jose where I had my old job waiting for me. I drove that car back and forth to work for another year and a half before giving it to my oldest son who had just turned 16.

We had put over 60, 000 miles on that half shaft God repaired before I gave it to my son. He knew about this miracle but most people don't believe, even if your wife and children witness it. My son drove this car for another year and a half when he finally called me up to tell me he was having the brakes overhauled for $600. Then he told me the mechanic wanted him to replace the left half shaft that God fixed. There was no rubber boot left and it was totally dry of grease and wobbling. I told my son to drive away from that mechanic, then buy a set of front brake pads for $25 and put them in himself. Then I told him God already fixed the half shaft so he doesn't have to worry about it.

A few days later, he called me up and said he borrowed $1,000 from his grandfather to pay for the brake job and replace the half shaft. The car wasn't even worth $1,000 but it was too late to say anything else to him. Kids just don't have faith these days, do they?
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Maryland
3,540 posts, read 5,958,358 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
How does God answer prayer today? Curiously, I find that there are Christian theologians who teach that prayer changes nothing. That it's more of a means to get us to conform to the will of God and nothing else.

But if that's true, why pray for a need (i.e for a job, for healing, etc..)?

And if God does answer prayers, what proofs can you guys provide?

I'm a Christian, but I'm reconsidering some of my convictions....
For me, need for prayer is usually the result of some need, fear, or displeasure.

When I contemplate ( or pray) on those needs, fears etc.. in the light of God's love, I'm very often able find comfort and peace.

If that's answered prayer, then so be it.
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Old 01-31-2011, 02:47 PM
 
5,500 posts, read 4,413,364 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigV View Post
How does God answer prayer today? Curiously, I find that there are Christian theologians who teach that prayer changes nothing. That it's more of a means to get us to conform to the will of God and nothing else.

But if that's true, why pray for a need (i.e for a job, for healing, etc..)?

And if God does answer prayers, what proofs can you guys provide?

I'm a Christian, but I'm reconsidering some of my convictions....
I've so many answered before I could even form the prayers aloud...but one stays so vivid for it involved my husband's faith as well...

We were in San Francisco at the time staying with some good friends who were kind enough to offer their home for the 2 weeks that my husband and I were there for some business.

One day...I wanted to cook a special dish for them plus buy groceries to lessen my friends burden of having us, so I asked my husband to drive me to a grocery store which happened to be quite far from where they lived...let alone the traffic at that hour, 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon.

Our car happened to be snuggly parked right out front of the condo complex and my husband was sure we'd lose the spot if we leave and we would have to find another parking up the hill...way away from the place. I told him I would make a special request for God to pamper me just for once and keep the spot for me when I got back...then told my husband not to worry and "let's go" it will still be there waiting for us.

To make the story short...we came back 2+ hours later and my husband, instead of going back to the same spot, started cruising up the hill to look for another parking...he saw cars going back and forth looking for the same thing.

I started arguing with him and insisted that he goes back to the spot because it's still there, I said...he grudgingly relented...and lo and behold, with cars cruising by...there was that beautiful parking spot we vacated more than 2 hours ago reserved just for me...I smiled and gave thanks. My husband just looked at me in awe and murmured something about my faith being stronger than his.

You may chose to believe this or not...but it really happened...I call it "instant gratification for a heartfelt prayer."

Blessings...
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:41 PM
 
624 posts, read 865,349 times
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thanks for the stories. all amazingly simple and could be anything, including just luck. The first one with the drive shaft... I don't think God fixed it since the shaft needed replacement. It's like saying that God healed my kidney, but I still need a kidney transplant. I thought miracles always had to be verifiable.

2nd example of an answered prayer pretty much sums up the attitude of many in the Reformed tradition, though I don't know how it helps us with cancers and other incurable illnesses.

Parking spot prayer is good. Simple. Though I wonder why God does not seem to answer prayers that would clearly prove He was the One answering, like resurrection, miraculous healing, etc...
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Old 01-31-2011, 03:45 PM
 
138 posts, read 139,275 times
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Originally Posted by BigV View Post
thanks for the stories. all amazingly simple and could be anything, including just luck. The first one with the drive shaft... I don't think God fixed it since the shaft needed replacement. It's like saying that God healed my kidney, but I still need a kidney transplant. I thought miracles always had to be verifiable.

2nd example of an answered prayer pretty much sums up the attitude of many in the Reformed tradition, though I don't know how it helps us with cancers and other incurable illnesses.

Parking spot prayer is good. Simple. Though I wonder why God does not seem to answer prayers that would clearly prove He was the One answering, like resurrection, miraculous healing, etc...

You wouldn't know a miracle if it happened under your nose. That's why God didn't perform miracles for sinners, no one would believe them anyway.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,259 posts, read 20,859,174 times
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Originally Posted by BigV View Post
I thought miracles always had to be verifiable.
Is that how it's defined somewhere, or just your opinion?
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,259 posts, read 20,859,174 times
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I'll just post the story of my first answered prayer, which people may choose to believe, reject, chalk up to luck or whatever. I learned at a very young age that my Father in Heaven loves me, knows me personally, listens when I talk to Him, and answers me.

I remember so clearly the first time I really came to know this, even though I was probably only about five years old at the time. I was at home alone with my mother on one of those days when there was "nothing to do." Picking up what we called simply "the bell," I began to try to entertain myself. The bell was one of those little portable timers that you could set for anywhere up to an hour by turning the dial on the front to a number between 1 and 60. As the minutes passed, you could hear the tick, tick, tick as the little arrow on the dial moved slowly counterclockwise back towards the top of the timer. When it reached the number zero, a crystal clear "ding!" would sound. Mother used it every day when when she was cooking. The bell was a lot of fun to play with particularly for a child who hadn't ever even seen a TV, much less played a video game!. Holding the bell in one hand, I would turn the dial just past the 5-minute marker with the other hand, and then immediately back to the 0-minutes marker at the top. "Ding!" I loved the sound it made. Over and over again I repeated the action: Wind to the right, wind to the left. Ding! Wind to the right, wind to the left. Ding!

"Kathryn, the bell is not a toy and it's not made to be played with like that. You need to stop before you break it," my mother warned. "I'm not going to break it," I answered knowingly. "Watch!" Wind to the right, wind to the left. Ding! Wind to the right, wind to the left. Ding! Every time I heard the ding, it confirmed in my mind that I knew that bell far better than my mother did. After a half a dozen or so "dings," I suddenly heard instead a dull click. The bell had stopped working.

I was surprised and a little taken back. My mother really had known what she was talking about! My mother took the bell from me and tried it a few times herself. She didn't get a "ding!" either, though, just a dull click. The bell was broken and it was my fault. "See?" she said. "What did I tell you? You didn't listen to me and now it's broken. We're going to have to buy a new one."

I felt terrible that I'd broken the bell, but only for an instant. Suddenly, my little eyes lit up. "I know!" I said. "We can pray about it. We can ask Heavenly Father to fix it!" I could see the doubt in my mother's eyes. She didn't know what to do. She'd taught me to pray whenever I needed my Heavenly Father's help, but surely He wasn't going to step in and fix a mechanical device that had clearly stopped working. And when He didn't, I'd be crushed. She didn't want that. "Don't worry about it," she said, finally. "I don't think praying will help this time."

Well, in spite of the fact that she'd been right in warning me that the bell would break if I kept playing with it, I knew she was wrong about telling me not to pray about it. I was insistent. Stubbornly I marched off into my bedroom, where I knelt down at the side of my bed. I began my prayer. I told my Heavenly Father that I was sorry I'd disobeyed my mother and had broken the bell, but now I needed His help. I needed Him to fix it. I closed my prayer and hurried back to the other room.

"Okay," I announced with all the confidence in the world. "Try it now." Hesitantly, my mother turned the dial to the right and then back to the left. Suddenly, to her surprise, we both heard a loud, clear, beautiful "ding!" I learned something that day that I have never forgotten. God hears and answers our prayers. I have often thought, in greater depth than I did that day so long ago, about what that experience really taught me. God fixed the bell. I am 100% convinced of that.

At the same time, when my stapler broke a couple of weeks ago, it didn't even occur to me to ask God to fix it. I guess that's because I don't think He would have done so. Does that mean my faith is weaker now than it was when I was five years old? Does it mean that God loves me less now that I am an adult than when I was a child? It doesn't mean either of those things. I have come to realize that while God will oftentimes give me what I want, He will ALWAYS give me what I need. As a five-year-old, I needed to know that He was listening to me when I prayed and would not ignore my request for help. I know that now. I am convinced that God knew how critical it was that He fix that bell, and that this one experience would teach me a lesson that I'd never forget. When I pray now, and ask God for something, I always try to remember to acknowledge that He knows what is best for me, and I ask that He will give me the courage to accept whatever His answer may be. I know that if I am asking for something He knows I need, He'll give it to me. In other words, I try to remember what Jesus Christ said in His prayer to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane -- "not my will but thine be done."

LDS songwriter, Michael McLean, wrote a beautiful song about this. Here are the words to that song... "A mansion on a hill, a love like in the movies, Perfect little dreams where no one has a problem. Instead of all those things I thought I really wanted, I’ve been given what I need. Even when I didn’t understand, When I thought you had no heart, Thank you for rejecting my demands And always giving me the better part. All I ever wanted, all I ever I dreamed of, Everything I hoped and all the things I prayed for Couldn’t hold a candle to what I’ve been given. I’ve been given what I need."

I try to see prayer as a means by which I can grow closer to my Heavenly Father. Even though He knows my every need and does not need any reminders from me as to what they are, I believe He is pleased when I acknowledge that He is the source of every good thing I have in this life. When I tell Him that I have faith in Him, what I am really doing is telling Him that I trust Him to do what's best for me. I believe that in this way, I am showing Him the honor and respect He so deserves.
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:02 PM
 
624 posts, read 865,349 times
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Originally Posted by bjhulk View Post
You wouldn't know a miracle if it happened under your nose. That's why God didn't perform miracles for sinners, no one would believe them anyway.
First of all, I'm a believer myself, but, as stated in the OP, I'm having doubts.

Second, I take it that you are NOT a sinner, so, what kind of miracles are being performed under your nose? The same kind Benny Hin is performing every day?
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Old 01-31-2011, 05:05 PM
 
624 posts, read 865,349 times
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Originally Posted by Katzpur View Post
Is that how it's defined somewhere, or just your opinion?
In my opinion, a miracle is something that only God can do. In the NT we read that Jesus would give sight to the blind, make lame walk, dead were raised. These are not things that were not verifiable by even the unbelievers. I.e. in the case of Lazarus, people witnessed him buried, etc... so him walking out of the tomb was a miracle that only God could do.

Otherwise, how can we judge whether a miracle has taken place today? Unless we start calling everything a miracle, right? Like ..."Oh.. I woke up today... what a miracle"

But was it really?
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