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pierrepaul

Efficacy of Prayer

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pierrepaul

In another thread, a poster brought to our attention a moment of ecumenical prayer for persecuted Christians in the world. While I support the initiative, I often wonder about prayer.

1. Presumably God already knows about the plight of persecuted Christians

2. Presumably God doesn't need us to goad Him into action.

3. Presumably God, being God, won't change His mind based on what we down here ask Him to do.

4. If God actually were to change His mind and accede to our petition, presumably this wouldn't be a good thing. Presumably God will have set His perfect course of action; in cases where the Bible reports God changing His mind (e.g. Israel's desire to have a King like the other nations), men would have been better off had they never asked for what was granted.

5. So what exactly are we asking God to do in favour of persecuted Christians?

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rudywoofs (Pam)

Reminder:  this is the Original Thoughts forum.  No quoting is allowed in your posts.

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JoeMo

God does change His mind.  God considered Abraham's questions about the number of righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah to prevent their destruction. Moses changed God's mind about destroying the Israelites on more than one occasion.

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pierrepaul

The Old Testament, and Genesis in particular, does not present the classic Triple-O God (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent). In Genesis 18, God has to go on a fact finding mission before pronouncing judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 11, God has to come down to see the tower that men are building. Genesis presents a God who changes His mind, whose plans encounter difficulties, who has to adjust, adapt, "think on his feet". The God of Genesis is presented as a God who is figuring out how to deal with humanity, and not sure about what He has done in creating humanity (Mary Shelley's classic novel "Frankenstein" takes up this theme in a secular science fiction context).

Genesis presents a God who grows with His people; prayer is presented as the joint communion between God and man. In the New Testament, God is more distant; the only words spoken from heaven are at Jesus' baptism. Even with Jesus' prayer at the garden of Gethsemane, only one side of the conversation is recorded in the Gospels; the Father's words are not reported to us.

I personally don't believe that the Triple-O God (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent) can be harmonized with a God who can be influenced by prayer. But I'm not sure that the Bible really reveals an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God.

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JoeMo
4 hours ago, pierrepaul said:

I personally don't believe that the Triple-O God (omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent) can be harmonized with a God who can be influenced by prayer. But I'm not sure that the Bible really reveals an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God.

I think that - due to God giving us an unconditional free will - He may temporarily suspend His sovereign will to allow humans to exercise their free will and learn from their mistakes or victories.  I also don't think we can't possibly understand everything God allows or prohibits.  His ways are not our ways; and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

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Aliensanctuary

Prayer is actually the telepathic communication between the Spirit of YHVH and humans. It is supposed to be a private communication, so public prayers tend to bounce off of the church ceilings and never reach their destination.

In this life the telepathic communication between us and the Spirit tend to be more one-sided: our thoughts are all being recorded and entered into our life records, and occasionally, dreams (videos) or ideas are sent to certain humans to direct their actions.

In the next life there will be a two-way communication between us and the Spirit. The Spirit will be like a voice behind us telling us where to go and what to do. There will be no more need for radio or television to communicate instructions or ideas because the Spirit of YHVH can reach everywhere. Before we realize that we need something, the Sprit will already know what it is.

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