How do you know prayer works?

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How do you know prayer works?

#1

Post by IceMobster » Fri Mar 18, 2016 3:51 pm

I've got this friend who thinks that the 1 year of prayer resulted in her boyfriend reaching catharsis(well, my opinion is that since she didn't want to have intercourse anymore, he accepted whatever but I might be wrong. Actually, doesn't matter anyways).
This is just one example... How do you know that the prayer worked? Why would God help you?

Same thing with Rick's nephew. Why do you think you having him in your prayer or thoughts will help him? God will help him? Why? There are countless others who are in the same position and are not receiving prayers. So, God won't help them? Is God helping them? Why should He? Only because certain people have other certain people in their thoughts, Providence assists them? What...?

What of the humans that don't have themselves in anyone's thoughts or prayers?
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.

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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#2

Post by IceMobster » Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:33 pm

:sbump:
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGOXMf6yDCU

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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#3

Post by Audacity » Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:24 pm

I've been told there are several kinds of prayer, the most common being prayers of thanks, prayers of praise and worship, and prayers of petition.
I have no trouble understand the first two, but prayers of petition seem a bit odd. They presume that god is unaware of the need being petitioned, or that god won't act to address the need unless asked to. In light of god's omniscience the first doesn't make any sense. And if god won't move a finger unless asked makes him a first class jerk.

"Hmmm. Oscar down there is really suffering from chronic Fibromyalgia and can't move a finger to help himself. Too bad someone doesn't ask me to help him out so his suffering will come to an end. Oh well. Let's see what else have we've got going down there on Barberry Road. Oh yes, little Suzy and her family are still in real dire straights, no decent clothes and hardly enough food for the week, and although they have prayed to me for help, I think I'll see if they won't pray a bit harder before I decide on helping or not."

I know this doesn't really answer the question "How do you know prayer works?" but have posted the above to put prayer in perspective.

.
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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#4

Post by Nicki » Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:48 pm

What do you mean by catharsis? y:-/ Just being nosy.

I find it hard to understand prayer as well, but the Bible definitely says God wants us to pray. One aspect of it is spiritual warfare - in prayer we're actually doing battle with the forces of darkness. That's about all I can think of, sorry, but I'm sure some others will have lots to say ;)

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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#5

Post by Mallz » Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:45 am

IceMobster: How do you know that the prayer worked? Why would God help you?
Because He answers my prayers. He helps because He desires to, and it's within His will. And if it is within His will, it will happen.
Weird circumstances on the situation you were talking about..
James 4:2
IceMobster: Same thing with Rick's nephew. Why do you think you having him in your prayer or thoughts will help him? God will help him? Why? There are countless others who are in the same position and are not receiving prayers. So, God won't help them? Is God helping them? Why should He? Only because certain people have other certain people in their thoughts, Providence assists them? What...?
Audacity: ...but prayers of petition seem a bit odd. They presume that god is unaware of the need being petitioned, or that god won't act to address the need unless asked to. In light of god's omniscience the first doesn't make any sense. And if god won't move a finger unless asked makes him a first class jerk.
I agree with you, Audacity.
Prayer to God is never to effect His providence. He does what He will do, regardless. I don't even like the term 'prayer' as it has been so muddied and convoluted. He wants a relationship with His creatures. A real relationship.. Ya know, the type where you say 'what's up YHWH' (or one of His persons, specifically), like you would an endearing friend. How can you have a relationship with someone if you don't talk to a person, and that person back (do you need a voice to talk?)?
Prayer is for many things, but overall it's to develop your relationship with YHWH. How do you get on good terms with someone you like? You know their will. How do you know what their will is? Ask, explore them, like you would anyone...

What of the humans that don't have themselves in anyone's thoughts or prayers?
Kind of a moot question now.. People need to start with themselves..
Matthew 7:7

Start treating Him like He is real, like He is. He will start responding to you. Doubt I answered to your desires, ask for any clarification.
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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#6

Post by Nicki » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:19 am

I disagree that prayer is never to affect God's providence, but it sure is about relationship with him first and foremost. I thought some more about why God wants us to pray - here are some basic principles about God -

- he loves us and wants the best for us;
- he's all-knowing and knows what's best for us;
- he's all-powerful and can bring about anything he wants for us.

Given these principles, we can trust God completely, but he wants us to show that trust by praying and asking him for things. I think there's a limit to how much he'll interfere in the life of someone who hasn't given their life to him, and therefore isn't praying to him - if we haven't entrusted ourselves to him, we're not really his to help.

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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#7

Post by Byblos » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:27 am

Prayers work 100% of the time when they align with God's will and none of the time when they don't. It's that simple. When I pray my intention is for God to affect the change in me (or others, but never in HIM), to bring about an outcome that is closer to His will.
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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#8

Post by Mallz » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:55 am

Nicki, I think we're saying the same thing ;)
Let me re-word. We do not effect what our Father will or will not do. To do so, would be to change Him; Him reacting to us, which would make Him not God. We have many, many choices in each decision (action or movement). And they are existent by Him. He gives us the choices. If I choose a choice that is in His will, I am moving into His will. And picking a choice that is better for me, and everyone, than if it were a choice not in his will. He is ready to give if it's done through the relationship. Outside of the relationship, there is no communication besides dwelling in existence. We are to interact with Existence and Its expressions. And are made to by expressing Himself to existence. We are the wife.

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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#9

Post by IceMobster » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:00 pm

I did not want to multipost, so here it is:
Nicki wrote:What do you mean by catharsis? y:-/ Just being nosy.

I find it hard to understand prayer as well, but the Bible definitely says God wants us to pray. One aspect of it is spiritual warfare - in prayer we're actually doing battle with the forces of darkness. That's about all I can think of, sorry, but I'm sure some others will have lots to say ;)
Catharsis as in sudden realization of the existence of God and interest in Him through prayer, Eucharist, work in the local church and whatnot.
Eh... Pray because Bible says so. And we are battling the forces of darkness through prayer. Lol. Not only missed the topic questions, but the reasons given are, meh... A satanist could say that Satan wants them to do rituals. That way, they are battling the forces of darkness!
Nicki wrote:I disagree that prayer is never to affect God's providence, but it sure is about relationship with him first and foremost. I thought some more about why God wants us to pray - here are some basic principles about God -

- he loves us and wants the best for us;
- he's all-knowing and knows what's best for us;
- he's all-powerful and can bring about anything he wants for us.

Given these principles, we can trust God completely, but he wants us to show that trust by praying and asking him for things. I think there's a limit to how much he'll interfere in the life of someone who hasn't given their life to him, and therefore isn't praying to him - if we haven't entrusted ourselves to him, we're not really his to help.
What do the 3 principles of yours about God have to do with the topic? He can be (and is) all of that regardless of prayer.
Where in the Bible does it say He WANTS us to ask him for things?
The last paragraph implies we do not entrust ourselves to Him if we don't pray. I disagree. But, then again, do you consider prayer what Mallz explained or do you consider prayer as in reciting prayers? If the former, I do not disagree.
Audacity wrote:.
Exactly. I would argue further that the first two make no sense either. You can thank him and praise him in your thoughts, talk to him like you would talk to a friend of yours (as Mallz later wrote)...
Off topic question: what purpose does the white dot serve at the end of your posts, Audacity? So you can organize better when replying to someone who already quoted your post?

Mallz wrote:
IceMobster: How do you know that the prayer worked? Why would God help you?
Because He answers my prayers. He helps because He desires to, and it's within His will. And if it is within His will, it will happen.
Weird circumstances on the situation you were talking about..
James 4:2
But that makes prayer redundant. If His will is for that person to die of cancer, the person will die of it no matter what you wish for through prayer.
Mallz wrote:
IceMobster: Same thing with Rick's nephew. Why do you think you having him in your prayer or thoughts will help him? God will help him? Why? There are countless others who are in the same position and are not receiving prayers. So, God won't help them? Is God helping them? Why should He? Only because certain people have other certain people in their thoughts, Providence assists them? What...?
Audacity: ...but prayers of petition seem a bit odd. They presume that god is unaware of the need being petitioned, or that god won't act to address the need unless asked to. In light of god's omniscience the first doesn't make any sense. And if god won't move a finger unless asked makes him a first class jerk.
I agree with you, Audacity.
Prayer to God is never to effect His providence. He does what He will do, regardless. I don't even like the term 'prayer' as it has been so muddied and convoluted. He wants a relationship with His creatures. A real relationship.. Ya know, the type where you say 'what's up YHWH' (or one of His persons, specifically), like you would an endearing friend. How can you have a relationship with someone if you don't talk to a person, and that person back (do you need a voice to talk?)?
Prayer is for many things, but overall it's to develop your relationship with YHWH. How do you get on good terms with someone you like? You know their will. How do you know what their will is? Ask, explore them, like you would anyone...

What of the humans that don't have themselves in anyone's thoughts or prayers?
Kind of a moot question now.. People need to start with themselves..
Matthew 7:7

Start treating Him like He is real, like He is. He will start responding to you. Doubt I answered to your desires, ask for any clarification.
Oh, He is real. There is no doubt in that. My desires? I desire to know how EXACTLY did He answer your prayers? Also, what prayers? Praying like what you mentioned here (as in talking with an endearing friend) or praying as in reciting Our Father, who art in Heaven?
Lastly, what do you consider for a God's response?
Byblos wrote:Prayers work 100% of the time when they align with God's will and none of the time when they don't. It's that simple. When I pray my intention is for God to affect the change in me (or others, but never in HIM), to bring about an outcome that is closer to His will.
No offense. All I heard was a bunch of bulls#it. (I'm being serious and honest, bro. Sorry if that offended you or anyone else.)
I don't find it simple at all.
Anyway, here come the questions... When you pray with the intention for God to affect you or your environment, you are changing His will, are you not? If you are not, how do you know that your prayer and changing of yourself and/or your environment is the part of His will? Lastly, what makes you think such an outcome(basically, any outcome) would be closer to His will than some other outcome?
Mallz wrote:We do not effect what our Father will or will not do. To do so, would be to change Him; Him reacting to us, which would make Him not God. We have many, many choices in each decision (action or movement). And they are existent by Him. He gives us the choices. If I choose a choice that is in His will, I am moving into His will. And picking a choice that is better for me, and everyone, than if it were a choice not in his will. He is ready to give if it's done through the relationship. Outside of the relationship, there is no communication besides dwelling in existence. We are to interact with Existence and Its expressions. And are made to by expressing Himself to existence. We are the wife.
Affect*, not effect. Effect is an end result. Affect is beforehand. Think of cause --> effect.
Totally agreed.
Lost you on the non-coloured parts. Which choice is in His will? All of them? If so, how can you say you ever moved out of His will? If not so, it would mean He isn't perfect and that isn't possible, right?
Furthermore, "And picking a choice that is better for me, and everyone, than if it were a choice not in his will." I don't understand this at all. Picking a choice that is better for me and people around me than if it were a choice not in his will whaaaaaaaaaaat????

"He is ready to give if it's done through the relationship." Implies He usually doesn't give? Give what exactly? Love, compassion, what? Atheists got it too, and they don't pray. What, then?

Haha, "We are the wife." -- nice one. :mrgreen:
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Mallz (Tue Mar 29, 2016 1:37 am)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGOXMf6yDCU

Fecisti nos ad te, Domine, et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te!

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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#10

Post by RickD » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:15 pm

RiceLobster,

Mallz used "effect" properly. As a verb, effect means "cause (something) to happen; bring about."

In other words, by prayer, we don't cause God to do anything.

You are hereby suspended without pay, from the Fraternal order of the Grammar Police.
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Nicki (Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:16 pm) • patrick (Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:21 am)
1 Corinthians 1:9
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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#11

Post by Audacity » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:20 pm

IceMobster wrote:
Audacity wrote:.
Exactly. I would argue further that the first two make no sense either. You can thank him and praise him in your thoughts, talk to him like you would talk to a friend of yours (as Mallz later wrote)...
Off topic question: what purpose does the white dot serve at the end of your posts, Audacity? So you can organize better when replying to someone who already quoted your post?
It's strictly a formatting device to keep my last line of text from crowding too close to the bottom of box, like here. I enter three space and then insert a period and color it approximately the same hue as the background so it's practically invisible. I will also enter a string of periods .................. in front of anything I want to indent and then color them ................so as to not detract from whatever I've indented. Too bad we don't have an indent feature.

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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#12

Post by IceMobster » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:33 pm

RickD wrote:RiceLobster,

Mallz used "effect" properly. As a verb, effect means "cause (something) to happen; bring about."

In other words, by prayer, we don't cause God to do anything.

You are hereby suspended without pay, from the Fraternal order of the Grammar Police.
Well, damn. But affect could be correct, as well, no? As in, we can't affect God on what He will do.

Plis nein suspenderino mi frum teh ordo, por favor, seniore!!! :crying: :crying:
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Nicki (Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:15 pm)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGOXMf6yDCU

Fecisti nos ad te, Domine, et inquietum est cor nostrum donec requiescat in te!

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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#13

Post by RickD » Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:46 pm

IceMobster wrote:
RickD wrote:RiceLobster,

Mallz used "effect" properly. As a verb, effect means "cause (something) to happen; bring about."

In other words, by prayer, we don't cause God to do anything.

You are hereby suspended without pay, from the Fraternal order of the Grammar Police.
Well, damn. But affect could be correct, as well, no? As in, we can't affect God on what He will do.

Plis nein suspenderino mi frum teh ordo, por favor, seniore!!! :crying: :crying:
Absolutely. And it's a great point. We can't effect any change with God. Nor affect God, by our prayers. God is immutable.

But, we certainly can be affected by our prayers. :D
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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#14

Post by Nicki » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:23 pm

Mallz wrote:Nicki, I think we're saying the same thing ;)
Let me re-word. We do not effect what our Father will or will not do. To do so, would be to change Him; Him reacting to us, which would make Him not God. We have many, many choices in each decision (action or movement). And they are existent by Him. He gives us the choices. If I choose a choice that is in His will, I am moving into His will. And picking a choice that is better for me, and everyone, than if it were a choice not in his will. He is ready to give if it's done through the relationship. Outside of the relationship, there is no communication besides dwelling in existence. We are to interact with Existence and Its expressions. And are made to by expressing Himself to existence. We are the wife.
I don't think affecting what God does is changing him - he tells us to ask for what we need. I'll post some scriptures below - I haven't worked out yet how to quote more than one post.

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Re: How do you know prayer works?

#15

Post by Nicki » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:09 pm

IceMobster wrote:I did not want to multipost, so here it is:
Nicki wrote:What do you mean by catharsis? y:-/ Just being nosy.

I find it hard to understand prayer as well, but the Bible definitely says God wants us to pray. One aspect of it is spiritual warfare - in prayer we're actually doing battle with the forces of darkness. That's about all I can think of, sorry, but I'm sure some others will have lots to say ;)
Catharsis as in sudden realization of the existence of God and interest in Him through prayer, Eucharist, work in the local church and whatnot.
Ah, it usually means some kind of emotional release.
IceMobster wrote:Eh... Pray because Bible says so. And we are battling the forces of darkness through prayer. Lol. Not only missed the topic questions, but the reasons given are, meh... A satanist could say that Satan wants them to do rituals. That way, they are battling the forces of darkness!
y:-/ You mean, they'd think they were on the good side? Ephesians 6:12 - 'For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against... the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.'
IceMobster wrote:
Nicki wrote:I disagree that prayer is never to affect God's providence, but it sure is about relationship with him first and foremost. I thought some more about why God wants us to pray - here are some basic principles about God -

- he loves us and wants the best for us;
- he's all-knowing and knows what's best for us;
- he's all-powerful and can bring about anything he wants for us.

Given these principles, we can trust God completely, but he wants us to show that trust by praying and asking him for things. I think there's a limit to how much he'll interfere in the life of someone who hasn't given their life to him, and therefore isn't praying to him - if we haven't entrusted ourselves to him, we're not really his to help.
What do the 3 principles of yours about God have to do with the topic? He can be (and is) all of that regardless of prayer.
Where in the Bible does it say He WANTS us to ask him for things?
The last paragraph implies we do not entrust ourselves to Him if we don't pray. I disagree. But, then again, do you consider prayer what Mallz explained or do you consider prayer as in reciting prayers? If the former, I do not disagree.
Matt 7:8a - 'Ask and it will be given to you'

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

Phil 4:6 - 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.'

James 4:2b-3 - You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.'

Yes, I see prayer in general as Mallz explained it. Prayers to recite can be used sometimes if they're heartfelt, but it's like talking to anyone - you don't need to recite something to communicate with a friend; you just say what you want to say. Regarding entrusting - I think it's more the other way around - if we don't entrust ourselves to him (that is, we're not Christians) then we don't pray - not to the true God anyway.
IceMobster wrote:
Audacity wrote:.
Exactly. I would argue further that the first two make no sense either. You can thank him and praise him in your thoughts, talk to him like you would talk to a friend of yours (as Mallz later wrote)...
Well, that's what prayer is, whether it's in your thoughts or out loud.
IceMobster wrote:Anyway, here come the questions... When you pray with the intention for God to affect you or your environment, you are changing His will, are you not? If you are not, how do you know that your prayer and changing of yourself and/or your environment is the part of His will? Lastly, what makes you think such an outcome(basically, any outcome) would be closer to His will than some other outcome?
Mallz wrote:We do not effect what our Father will or will not do. To do so, would be to change Him; Him reacting to us, which would make Him not God. We have many, many choices in each decision (action or movement). And they are existent by Him. He gives us the choices. If I choose a choice that is in His will, I am moving into His will. And picking a choice that is better for me, and everyone, than if it were a choice not in his will. He is ready to give if it's done through the relationship. Outside of the relationship, there is no communication besides dwelling in existence. We are to interact with Existence and Its expressions. And are made to by expressing Himself to existence. We are the wife.
Affect*, not effect. Effect is an end result. Affect is beforehand. Think of cause --> effect.
Totally agreed.
Lost you on the non-coloured parts. Which choice is in His will? All of them? If so, how can you say you ever moved out of His will? If not so, it would mean He isn't perfect and that isn't possible, right?
Furthermore, "And picking a choice that is better for me, and everyone, than if it were a choice not in his will." I don't understand this at all. Picking a choice that is better for me and people around me than if it were a choice not in his will whaaaaaaaaaaat????

"He is ready to give if it's done through the relationship." Implies He usually doesn't give? Give what exactly? Love, compassion, what? Atheists got it too, and they don't pray. What, then?
Give what we ask for - not everything we want necessarily, but what's good for us to have.

Not all choices we make can be in God's will - like sinful ones.

I don't have all the answers about prayer, but I know the Bible says God wants us to pray for things, so things can actually be changed through prayer, and that he knows what's best for us, as we know better than our children what's best for them (and he knows perfectly, unlike us parents). I do think God's answered many prayers for me - like my husband finding a job quickly early last year, then when he had problems at that job, everything working out well. Sure, it could have just happened anyway, but the Bible says to not worry about anything but pray about everything, so that's what I try to do. Obeying God. I often feel privileged to really be in touch with the greatest power in the universe when I pray, even if things don't always happen the way I want. What we want is not necessarily what's best.

Anyone else got any great stories of answered prayer?

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