Pray

Jacques Ellul is quite right, it seems to Gary and I, though very bold, when he says, “It is prayer, and prayer alone, which can make history.… To pray is to carry oneself toward the future. It is both to expect it as possible, and to will it as history.”

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Pray

  1. This quote says to me that real prayer makes a tangible change, a cause and effect, and if and then. So if there is no change or difference made, then it must not really be prayer but only a verbal or mental exercise.

  2. I believe God is a heart reader. He hears the heart desire, maybe more than our public personaified crafted words. Therefore, maybe He answered what He saw in heart not what we said.

  3. Could it be that since the Holy Spirit is a Discerner of the thoughts, intents and motives of the heart that the stipulations which Jesus included in His model prayer, The Lord’s Prayer must be met in order for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven?
    Shouldn’t we pray expecting God to hear and answer our prayers? A few years ago Sara presented us some lessons on praying with ‘expectancy’. Years later I have heard other preachers teach on expecting an answer when we pray…that is….. nothing is impossible with God…and that if we believe when we pray we can chalk it up to “done”. History!
    Isn’t that having faith?

  4. Dr James Boice writes, “”1. Unconfessed sin. There are more verses in the Bible saying that God will not answer prayers than there are verses that say he will, and one of the chief categories of verses that deal with unanswered prayer concerns sin. Isaiah wrote, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1–2). If God is not answering your prayers—particularly if he is not answering any of them—one thing you should do is ask whether you are cherishing some sin. If so, you need to confess it for full forgiveness and cleansing.
    2. Wrong motives. James spoke of this when he said, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Can a person pray for even spiritual things wrongly? Yes, of course. A woman may pray for the conversion of her husband, but with wrong motives—not for his good, that he may be saved from hell and enjoy fellowship with God in this life—but because it would be much more pleasant for her to have a Christian husband or because other Christians would think better of her.

    “3. Laziness. It is said of Elijah that he prayed “earnestly” that it would not rain and that it did not rain for three and a half years (James 5:17). Prayer was a serious business with him. One reason our prayers are not answered is that we are not really serious about them.
    4. We are too busy. Sometimes we are too busy to pray “earnestly.” But, as someone has said, “If we are too busy to pray, we are too busy.” Each of us has exactly the same amount of time in a day as every other person. If we say we are too busy to pray, what we are really saying is that we consider the things we are doing to be more important than praying. This is a theological misunderstanding.
    5. Idols in the heart. Some of the elders of Israel once came to Ezekiel to pray with him. But the Lord said to Ezekiel, “These men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all?” (Ezek. 14:3). Is an idol keeping you from having your prayers answered? Is that idol a person? A boyfriend? A girlfriend? A wife? A husband? Your children? Is it your job? Is it your lifestyle? Your social position? Your worldly reputation? Is it your image of yourself? Are you determined above all else to be “successful”? To place anything ahead of God is idolatry. It is a categorical prayer hindrance.
    6. Stinginess in our giving. Proverbs 21:13 says, “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” In other words, if you do not give to the needy, God will not give to you when you ask him for something. Or again, Jesus says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38). This is quite clear. Torrey writes, “Here God distinctly tells us that he measures out his benefactions to us in exactly the same measure that we measure out our benefactions to others. And some of us use such [tiny] pint cup measures in our giving that God can only give us a pint cup blessing.””
    Continue on next comment…

  5. Cont…”7. Unbelief. The greatest cause of failure in our prayer, and the area in which we most need to be changed, is unbelief. James told those of his day to “believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord …” (James 1:6–7). If we do not believe God’s Word unquestioningly, why should we get what we pray for? Is it a surprise”

    1. I’m thinking long and hard on this writing of Dr. James Boice…His quote from Torrey on measuring has me scurrying through my thoughts and journals. 7 step program here to think on…we spoke of history in the blog….and I have been thinking on and read a little about legacy. Which brings me to 1 Peter 5:8…”Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”

    2. “If we do not believe God’s Word unquestioningly, why should we get what we pray for? Is it a surprise”
      I would say it is no surprise. Why would God trust me with an answer to prayer when I don’t trust Him and what He says. He probably just turns a deaf ear.

  6. Then, it is imperative that each of us, starting with me, read carefully the 7 bullets of unanswered prayer and take them to heart, LITERALLY and repent. It sounds like a phrase from another era of Christianity but use the term….”examine your conscience” and allow the HS to convict and convince one of sin.
    I think of the word Convict…as guilty as charged and liable to incarceration. I think of the word Convince in that sometimes the Holy Spirit has to CONVINCE us that, YES, this or that transgression is sin, especially if we are in the habit of regarding such with an excuse and/or explanation.

  7. When I start to pray theses days I am met at the door of my heart with words from Matthew 22:34-40….this seems so important to Jesus but a little far out to me. Like to hear from some groovy ones that have this all buckled in the safety of their belts.

  8. Thank you for sharing Dr. James Boice for reasons for unanswered prayer. I have copied it and read and reread it. I can see throughout my life why some prayers were not answered at times. As I search why prayers are not answered I can go through this list and ask the Holy Spirit where I have gone wrong in my stinky thinking at times. On the last sentence “If we do not believe God’s Word unquestioningly (I ask then who is our God?) Some of us even say well if God doesn’t answer I have the money and fortitude to do it myself. Get a car, have a baby, get nice clothes, get a new look. We answered our own prayer and thanked God of Self not God I AM WHO I AM.

    I’m certainly one who is quilty of many things on the list. I remembered the words of a very insightful woman who said to me, “Who Made YOU GOD, God is Alive and can do ALL things. It shocked me to the bone. Sometimes we need these shockers or we might find ourselves where we don’t want to be because we did not trust and believe on HIM, Jesus Christ.

  9. In further thinking, I think we need to be honest with ourselves and others. If we desire something and we get it then we should say I/we decided I/we wanted this or that and I/we decided it was something I/we wanted for me/us. Therefor I/we have. There is an old song which was brought up in a study which says “Best of all I did it my way.” but in truth “THE BEST of all, I did it HIS way.”

  10. Yeh, Rena. I know that old song. I kept trying to do it “my way” and it kept failing and failing. Often I resort again to trying to do it “my way” and it fails. Sometimes I think that’s the only constant in my life! “Brothers and sisters, this thing out not to be!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s