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  1. #1
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    Why Pray?

    I split this thread off from the Are you ready for 2011 thread per a request by CHW.
    ================================================== ============


    Quote Originally Posted by CWH View Post
    I have been following disasters of 2011 closely and a pattern seems to emerge:

    Jan - Record floods in Australia snd other parts of the world
    Feb - Biggest cyclone in Australia and deadliest earthquake in New Zealand
    March - Biggest earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the Fukushima nuclear station incident
    April - Among the biggest tornado disaster in the US and growing to be the biggest tornado disaster in the US on record. Record drought and wildfire in Texas.

    The question is what next, come May?.....We already have snow disaster (Dec 2010), floods, earthquakes, tsunami, nuclear meltdown, cyclones, tornadoes. Perhaps Fire, drought, food crisis is on the list...Beware. I know nothing much we can do about it but just pray that things will not be so bad
    Why pray? Did God care about the thousands of Christians he killed with the earthquake in Haiti? Would he have spared them if they prayed more? The answer is obviously "no" - God kills people quite randomly, whether they pray or not. Indeed, sometimes he likes to make a special point by specifically targeting Christians while they are praying! I'm talking about the 10,000+ Christians he killed with an earthquake in Lisbon in 1755.He sent the earthquake at 9:40 AM when most everyone was in church to ensure massive casualties amongst Christians. Here's what the wiki articel says:
    The earthquake had wide-ranging effects on the lives of the populace and intelligentsia. The earthquake had struck on an important church holiday and had destroyed almost every important church in the city, causing anxiety and confusion amongst the citizens of a staunch and devout Roman Catholic city and country, which had been a major patron of the Church. Theologians and philosophers would focus and speculate on the religious cause and message, seeing the earthquake as a manifestation of the anger of God.
    God collapsed the churches upon their heads while they were praying on All Saints' Day! Many atheists and others who didn't go to church were presumably spared. It's no wonder that Christian "theologians and philosophers" were more than a little confused by this "message" supposedly sent by God.

    And God did it again to 300 devout worshipers in Peru in 2007 when he collapsed a Catholic church on their heads, killing 50 during mass.

    In general, the idea that God is "communicating" through weather and natural disasters is a ludicrous proposition for at least two reasons. First, it is an extremely ineffective way to communicate since there is no way for us to discern between a "message from God" and a "random accident" or even what the "message" is supposed to be. Only an idiot would try to communicate that way. If God is intelligent and wants to communicate, then he would use an intelligent method - "natural disasters" do not suffice. Second, natural disasters are non-specific. They affect pretty much everyone equally. So who then is being "judged" if God is killing innocent children and devout Christians along with those he supposedly "targeted" for "communication?" And worse, sometimes he targets Christians while they are praying in churches and spares the atheists! I really think you need to rethink your ideas about how God acts in the world.

    All the best.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  2. #2
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    I thought you agreed that prayer is the hallmark of a Christian. I am not sure if you now believe in what Jesus said about prayers. If prayer is something not important, then why did Jesus encouraged us to pray? Jesus even went up the mountain to pray. Remember Jesus said, "Heaven and Earth will pass away but my words will never pass away". Do you not believe what Jesus said? Just some examples in which Jesus taught about prayers.

    Matthew 5:44
    But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

    Matthew 6:5
    [ Prayer ] 'And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

    Matthew 6:6
    But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    Matthew 6:7
    And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

    Matthew 6:9
    'This, then, is how you should pray: '‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,

    Matthew 14:23
    After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone,

    Matthew 19:13
    [ The Little Children and Jesus ] Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.

    Matthew 21:13
    'It is written,' he said to them, '‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ '

    Matthew 21:22
    If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.'

    Matthew 24:20
    Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.

    Matthew 26:36
    [ Gethsemane ] Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.'

    Matthew 26:39
    Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'

    Matthew 26:41
    'Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'

    Matthew 26:42
    He went away a second time and prayed, 'My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.'

    Matthew 26:44
    So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.


    Many Blessings.
    Ask and You shall receive,
    Seek and You shall find,
    Knock and the door will be open unto You.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWH View Post
    I thought you agreed that prayer is the hallmark of a Christian. I am not sure if you now believe in what Jesus said about prayers. If prayer is something not important, then why did Jesus encouraged us to pray? Jesus even went up the mountain to pray. Remember Jesus said, "Heaven and Earth will pass away but my words will never pass away". Do you not believe what Jesus said? Just some examples in which Jesus taught about prayers.
    Hey there CHW,

    Yes the Bible says we should pray. And Jesus explicitly said our prayers would be answered. Unfortunately, his statement was false or we have misunderstood it and he didn't really say that our prayers would be answered. What do you believe this verse says?
    Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
    This is a very difficult passage. If you say that it is true, then you must conclude that the reason almost all prayers remain unanswered is because of "lack of faith." But the Bible also says that we are saved by faith. So if God refused to answer almost all prayers because almost all "believers" don't really "believe" then we must also conclude that they don't really believe in Jesus and are not saved. Therefore, either Jesus was wrong, or almost every person who claims to be Christian is not really a believer. Which is it?

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAM View Post
    Hey there CHW,

    Yes the Bible says we should pray. And Jesus explicitly said our prayers would be answered. Unfortunately, his statement was false or we have misunderstood it and he didn't really say that our prayers would be answered. What do you believe this verse says?
    Matthew 21:22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
    This is a very difficult passage. If you say that it is true, then you must conclude that the reason almost all prayers remain unanswered is because of "lack of faith." But the Bible also says that we are saved by faith. So if God refused to answer almost all prayers because almost all "believers" don't really "believe" then we must also conclude that they don't really believe in Jesus and are not saved. Therefore, either Jesus was wrong, or almost every person who claims to be Christian is not really a believer. Which is it?

    All the best,

    Richard
    Wasn't the statement of Jesus in Matthew 21:21-22 made to his disciples specifically? Would it not be wrong for us who live 2000 years later to read ourselves into this statement of Jesus just as it would be an error for us to expect the promises made to them in Luke 22:28-30 to be applicable to us?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by throwback View Post
    Wasn't the statement of Jesus in Matthew 21:21-22 made to his disciples specifically? Would it not be wrong for us who live 2000 years later to read ourselves into this statement of Jesus just as it would be an error for us to expect the promises made to them in Luke 22:28-30 to be applicable to us?
    First, let me say "welcome to our forum!"



    It's great to have you here. You have already made many valuable contributions to our conversations.

    Now as for your comment: I agree that the statement was made to the disciples, and I agree it is very important to discern between statements that applied only to the folks directly addressed and statements that are intended for all Christians throughout all time. It's easy to see why Luke 22:28-30 does not apply to all Christians - Christ specifically limited his statements to those who had "continued with [him] through [his] temptations." There is no such clear limitation in his promise that God would answer the prayers of those who "ask in prayer, believing" (Matt 21:22), and Christians have traditionally understood this as a promise to all believers (though they then had to explain away why it wasn't true). I really don't think we can solve this problem by limiting the promise to the first century disciples because we have similar statements that explicitly apply to "he that believeth" throughout all generations:
    Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
    This promise is no more true than the one in Matthew 21:22 or any of the other verses that promise supernatural powers and healings to believers such as 1 Cor 12.

    I simply cannot deny the truth on this matter. All the evidence indicates that Christians are no different than unbelievers when it comes to answered prayers. They simply do not have their prayers answers as a general rule. Sure, every believer believes God has answered their prayers at times, but that's because of selective memory and wishful thinking and the occasional coincidence. Any rigorous study will show that the prayers of Christians for objective things like health, wealth, love - all the fundamental interests of this life - are simply left unanswered. A particularly striking fact is that God never answers prayers for the restoration of amputated limbs.

    All the best,

    Richard
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

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