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Author Topic: If Prayer Works...  (Read 4157 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: February 14, 2009, 07:51:16 PM »

If prayer works, shouldn't there be different percentages of things happening for believers than there are for atheists and/or agnostics? Shouldn't Christians have lower divorce raters, lower rates of dying from cancer, etc.? And if the answer is that God's will will be done, then why pray to begin with? Why not just let God do as he wills?
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2009, 08:39:50 PM »

I think the answer is no. God hears all our prayers, but He answers in His own way, so that we may well perceive His answer as "no answer," while in fact there is an answer. In other words, what I, a believer, may perceive as His silence is, in fact, His answer that I will not know until some point, either later in this life or in the next.
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« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2009, 01:12:33 AM »

In the case of consequences of sinful actions, such as divorce, I believe that God provides us a way out of sin and power to be holy, but he doesn't infringe upon our choice.  Praying that God would help one's marriage does not have the necessary consequence of one having no choice but to have a better marriage.

Second, we pray "thy will be done" in addition to many other things because our relationship with God and with others is not analogous to interlocking cogs in a fate machine.  That God's will be done involves our wills and actions; God wants us to change of our own will, and to effect that change by our freely-given selflessness toward everyone.  That's the difference between a predestinarian machine and the communion of love of the Holy Church.  So, may God aid us in every way to change.

By the way, your signature quote is amazing, and it has direct bearing on this topic.  Personally, dissociated thinking has a chilling and paralyzing effect on my own heart.  It gets me working less in terms of loving relationships and more in terms of static concepts.  Since both the evolutionary course and ontological essence of our life is established and grown by the Holy Trinity's personal love, this time spent ruminating without incarnating that love is an open door for Satan and the demons to pose and play with me like a toy.  But I digress...

Hope that made some sense.
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« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2009, 01:14:35 AM »

If prayer works, shouldn't there be different percentages of things happening for believers than there are for atheists and/or agnostics? Shouldn't Christians have lower divorce raters, lower rates of dying from cancer, etc.? And if the answer is that God's will will be done, then why pray to begin with? Why not just let God do as he wills?

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« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2009, 12:36:48 PM »

Prayer opens the mind to be more receptive of the blessings our life has already received from our Lord and Saviour and to thank Him all the more so.

God is not an ATM machine in which you put your card (i.e. prayers) and then hope for some cash flow immediately.
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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2009, 01:32:09 PM »

Yes Prayer Work's....Pray and believe that you have recieved .... But not as a test ...test temp not the Lord our God....As Scripture tells Us  .. Oh ye of little Or no Faith....Faith Moves mountain's If one Has faith even as small as a mustard seed...Im sure the The Blessed Lord would not of mentioned this if it wasn't true..........To Pray is to have Faith.....
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2009, 01:41:03 PM »

Prayer opens the mind to be more receptive of the blessings our life has already received from our Lord and Saviour and to thank Him all the more so.

God is not an ATM machine in which you put your card (i.e. prayers) and then hope for some cash flow immediately.

I'm inclined to agree. I think the idea of prayer "working" makes prayer something akin to casting a magic spell.
When asked to teach us how to pray, Our Lord taught us to ask for no more than what we needed for that day (our daily bread). St. Cosmas the Aitolan said "I have need of one hundred grams of bread a day, and God blesses it. He blesses those hundred grams, but not one gram more. So if I take 110 grams, I have stolen 10 grams from the poor."
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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2009, 02:32:17 PM »

God always answers our prayers. Sometimes the answer is "yes," sometimes the answer is "no," and sometimes the answer is "wait."
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2009, 03:25:41 PM »

Anyone? Anyone? Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2009, 03:38:20 PM »

Anyone? Anyone? Smiley

What?
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« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2009, 03:45:58 PM »

I suppose I'm looking for an answer to a question that is unanswerable. There have been true and valid things said in this thread, that I don't deny. But no one has actually dealt with the main point of the question asked in the original post. I guess I was hoping to see something in this thread that I hadn't considered before. This is one of those issues that I sort of "set on the shelf" when I came back to the Church, which I left unresolved, figuring an answer would present itself eventually.
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« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2009, 03:56:08 PM »

The work of prayer isn't in the answering of prayers, it is the work in us that comes from prayer. The goal isn't to get what you want or avoid what you don't want. It is to voice our needs and desires. To actually pray aloud; "I really want to get an A on this term paper but I haven't had time to study like a should" is a real eye opener. God will do what he desires whether we pray or not.

That is one reason why we pray the Lord's prayer. To get to the point where "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is something we say with peace. I can't say I am there yet. I want what I want when I want it. And I confess to a lot of anger that my prayers that my husband not be deployed were seemingly unheard. But as time passes I realize that there is a plan greater than my desire to have my husband home, there is something that will be done that I may never see the result of. I can pray that he won't be sent all I want. But I need to pray instead that the will of God is done.
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« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2009, 04:16:25 PM »

I suppose I'm looking for an answer to a question that is unanswerable. There have been true and valid things said in this thread, that I don't deny. But no one has actually dealt with the main point of the question asked in the original post. I guess I was hoping to see something in this thread that I hadn't considered before. This is one of those issues that I sort of "set on the shelf" when I came back to the Church, which I left unresolved, figuring an answer would present itself eventually.
I think that C.S. Lewis dicusses this issue in one of his collections of essays called The Seeing Eye. I will look into it this evening.
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« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2009, 04:16:48 PM »

I suppose I'm looking for an answer to a question that is unanswerable. There have been true and valid things said in this thread, that I don't deny. But no one has actually dealt with the main point of the question asked in the original post. I guess I was hoping to see something in this thread that I hadn't considered before. This is one of those issues that I sort of "set on the shelf" when I came back to the Church, which I left unresolved, figuring an answer would present itself eventually.

I think your question makes some assumptions about what prayer is which I don't quite agree with.
Have you ever read The Prophet by Khalil Gibran?

Then a priestess said, "Speak to us of Prayer."
And he answered, saying:
You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.
For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?
And if it is for your comfort to pour your darkness into space, it is also for your delight to pour forth the dawning of your heart.
And if you cannot but weep when your soul summons you to prayer, she should spur you again and yet again, though weeping, until you shall come laughing.
When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and whom save in prayer you may not meet.
Therefore let your visit to that temple invisible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet communion.
For if you should enter the temple for no other purpose than asking you shall not receive.
And if you should enter into it to humble yourself you shall not be lifted:
Or even if you should enter into it to beg for the good of others you shall not be heard.
It is enough that you enter the temple invisible.
I cannot teach you how to pray in words.
God listens not to your words save when He Himself utters them through your lips.
And I cannot teach you the prayer of the seas and the forests and the mountains.
But you who are born of the mountains and the forests and the seas can find their prayer in your heart,
And if you but listen in the stillness of the night you shall hear them saying in silence,
"Our God, who art our winged self, it is thy will in us that willeth.
It is thy desire in us that desireth.
It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, which are thine, into days which are thine also.
We cannot ask thee for aught, for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us:
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all."

            -Gibran Khalil Gibran, The Prophet.
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« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2009, 07:36:41 PM »

If prayer works, shouldn't there be different percentages of things happening for believers than there are for atheists and/or agnostics? Shouldn't Christians have lower divorce raters, lower rates of dying from cancer, etc.? And if the answer is that God's will will be done, then why pray to begin with? Why not just let God do as he wills?

Asteriktos,

You ask questions here that I have asked all my life. My answer is always the same... I simply don't know. It's all to big and when I think about it, I'm not even sure how prayer is supposed to work. However, from my own experience, I know it's a practice that brings a degree of comfort and strength. Is that ever enough to overcome cancer, or prevent a spouse from walking out? On the face of it, it doesn't look like it. It seems to me that we are really here to survive the roller coaster ride as best we can and keeping communication open with God simply helps us do this.
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« Reply #15 on: February 16, 2009, 08:21:01 PM »

You ask questions here that I have asked all my life. My answer is always the same... I simply don't know. It's all to big and when I think about it, I'm not even sure how prayer is supposed to work. However, from my own experience, I know it's a practice that brings a degree of comfort and strength. Is that ever enough to overcome cancer, or prevent a spouse from walking out? On the face of it, it doesn't look like it. It seems to me that we are really here to survive the roller coaster ride as best we can and keeping communication open with God simply helps us do this.
I'd agree, and I think surviving the roller coaster is a miracle in itself.
There is an Orthodox woman in the Palliative Care ward of the hospital where I work who in the end stages of cancer. She has Icons on either side of her bed so that she can see them whichever side she's turned to by the nurses. When I visit her and ask her how she is, she replies "Doxa to Theo!" ("Glory to God!"). That to me seems like a miracle at least on par with a cure for cancer.
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« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2009, 09:17:15 PM »

You ask questions here that I have asked all my life. My answer is always the same... I simply don't know. It's all to big and when I think about it, I'm not even sure how prayer is supposed to work. However, from my own experience, I know it's a practice that brings a degree of comfort and strength. Is that ever enough to overcome cancer, or prevent a spouse from walking out? On the face of it, it doesn't look like it. It seems to me that we are really here to survive the roller coaster ride as best we can and keeping communication open with God simply helps us do this.
I'd agree, and I think surviving the roller coaster is a miracle in itself.
There is an Orthodox woman in the Palliative Care ward of the hospital where I work who in the end stages of cancer. She has Icons on either side of her bed so that she can see them whichever side she's turned to by the nurses. When I visit her and ask her how she is, she replies "Doxa to Theo!" ("Glory to God!"). That to me seems like a miracle at least on par with a cure for cancer.

Oh, I have to agree! May we all face the end of our lives uttering those same words.
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« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2009, 03:15:12 AM »

Tangent on whether truth can be found outside of Orthodox Christianity moved here:  http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,19765.0.html
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« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2009, 08:33:32 AM »

I'll never forget one time when Archbishop Demetrios came to our school and did a sermon on prayer.  There had been some intense discussion about chapel attendance at our school and etc. so the archbishop just went up and said something to the affect of:  "I hear that some people are arguing whether or not they should be in the chapel, and how often and etc.  After all of my years of study and life in the church, I have come across one undeniable fact.  We are a church of prayer!  If you are not here to pray, you have come to the wrong church!  Since when has the power of prayer been forgotten?  Do we no longer believe that our small faith of a mustard seed can move mountains?  Since when have we given up on communion with God?  He has not given up on communion with us, but sustains us every day of our lives.  We have to be a community of prayer, as we were since Christ Himself told us to pray thus:  Our father who art in heaven." 

I would say if you want some bolstering up you should take a look at some commentaries on the Lord's prayer.  They may be helpful.  I know that Maximos the Confessor has a great text on this as well as Origen.  Sorry..i'm in a rush right now otherwise i'd help you look it up myself...maybe later if I get some time...
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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2009, 10:54:45 AM »

All who ask and do not obtain their requests from God, are denied for one of the following reasons; because they ask at the wrong time, or because they ask unworthily and vaingloriously, or because if they received they would become conceited, or finally because they would become negligent after obtaining their request.
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« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2009, 06:29:50 PM »

All who ask and do not obtain their requests from God, are denied for one of the following reasons; because they ask at the wrong time, or because they ask unworthily and vaingloriously, or because if they received they would become conceited, or finally because they would become negligent after obtaining their request.
St. John Climacus, "The Ladder of Divine Ascent,"


Though I have a deep respect for St John, I think this quote raises more questions than it answers; and in a way I see it glossing over the very real problems of *unanaswered* prayers that Asteriktos is seeking to reconcile. He is asking why prayer doesn't seem to be making a difference for Christians; and to say that prayers are being denied or unanswered for God's children for the above reasons simply, as far as I can see, shifts the *blame* from God onto flawed humanity. Why would we have to be somehow perfect to expect help from God? Whole congregations pray for a member who has cancer and that member still dies; a marriage in trouble still dissolves. Are we to except that the entire congregation is asking for God's mercy on these situations at the wrong time (Is there such a thing as the right time to ask for mercy for a terminally ill person?), unworthily or vaingloriously, because of conceit or potentional ingratitude?


This reminds me of a documentary I once watched, about Pentecostal healers. Every time a *miracle* didn't take place, the blame for unanswered prayer was placed firmly on the shoulders of those hopeful of help from God. It was heartrendering to see a man, wheelchair bound with spinal bifida, weeping in despair as he was told that he was too great a sinner for God to answer his request for healing.
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« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2009, 11:27:38 PM »

I'm coming to see that prayer is not about tangible, measurable results as a result of the benevolent hand of a divine wish giver, sitting on a throne dishing out requests when he deems fit. My understanding, and experience, is that prayer opens the door to our understanding of our own lives and the situations we face. Prayer provides clarity and meaning to seemingly unclear and meaningless situations.  Although all the trials we are faced with in life do not seem meaningful at first glance, their purpose becomes clearer through prayer, or our active participation and kind of acceptance of the reality of the events as things meaningful in themselves, if only we can see it.
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« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2009, 11:33:49 PM »

I'm coming to see that prayer is not about tangible, measurable results as a result of the benevolent hand of a divine wish giver, sitting on a throne dishing out requests when he deems fit. My understanding, and experience, is that prayer opens the door to our understanding of our own lives and the situations we face. Prayer provides clarity and meaning to seemingly unclear and meaningless situations.  Although all the trials we are faced with in life do not seem meaningful at first glance, their purpose becomes clearer through prayer, or our active participation and kind of acceptance of the reality of the events as things meaningful in themselves, if only we can see it.
Try meditation.  It works better for Nirvana.

In prayer, someone is on the receiving end.  Whether the answer comes in "tangible, measurable results" is up to Him.

If want to go for "tangible, measurable results" on demand, try magic.

If prayer works, shouldn't there be different percentages of things happening for believers than there are for atheists and/or agnostics? Shouldn't Christians have lower divorce raters, lower rates of dying from cancer, etc.? And if the answer is that God's will will be done, then why pray to begin with? Why not just let God do as he wills?

Did you get a copy of my play book?  Wink

Good question.

As an answer to your questions, no.  Since we pray to an abandoned, Crucified God, why do you think that prayer would guarantee lower divorce rates or cancer rates?  I don't recall the deal being "Confess Me, and your problems are all over."  Just that they are solved.
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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2009, 11:36:17 PM »

Howdy brother A,

If prayer works, shouldn't there be different percentages of things happening for believers than there are for atheists and/or agnostics?
Maybe there are?  I would imagine that to know those percentages would be to have the Mind of God; it's not for us mortals.

Shouldn't Christians have lower divorce raters, lower rates of dying from cancer, etc.?
But why, brother?  Do our problems go away once we become Christians?  That's not been my experience.  After the Fall, all sorts of psychological and physical ailments have beset us.  We may be more aware of the problems such as pride, ego, and so on and so forth, but that doesn't necessarily mean we all address them any better than an atheist/agnostic.  And doesn't God love everyone equally whether Christian or not?  Just because I profess to be a Christian, doesn't mean all my troubles go away.  Again, that's simply not been my experience.
    
And if the answer is that God's will will be done, then why pray to begin with? Why not just let God do as he wills?
I've read in many places that when we pray "Thy will be done...", we're asking not only that His will will be done, but more importantly that we will have the courage, patience, discernment and love to understand and carry out His will in our lives.  I can conceptually understand His will (which has been boiled down to "Love God with ALL of your heart and mind AND love your neighbor as you love yourselves..") but I rarely carry out His will.  

  I don't know too much about prayer; I know even less about why some prayers are (seemingly) answered and some are (seemingly) not.  The only thing I can humbly suggest is to find an experienced monastic.  Do you have any monasteries nearby?  Most of us on this forum typically will not have the experience with prayer that an experienced monastic has.  Try hard to find a Starets or Gerondas if at all possible (though this will be difficult).  Lastly, everything in Orthodoxy is pointing us to Jesus.  We may not ever get the answers we want, but we will get what we need when, like Peter walking with the Lord on the water, we keep our focus on Him.  To love someone is to try and have a relationship with them and we all know that successful relationships depend on communication (a.k.a. prayer.)  FWIW, I'm praying for you bro! Smiley
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« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2009, 11:45:56 PM »

I'm coming to see that prayer is not about tangible, measurable results as a result of the benevolent hand of a divine wish giver, sitting on a throne dishing out requests when he deems fit. My understanding, and experience, is that prayer opens the door to our understanding of our own lives and the situations we face. Prayer provides clarity and meaning to seemingly unclear and meaningless situations.  Although all the trials we are faced with in life do not seem meaningful at first glance, their purpose becomes clearer through prayer, or our active participation and kind of acceptance of the reality of the events as things meaningful in themselves, if only we can see it.
Try meditation.  It works better for Nirvana.

In prayer, someone is on the receiving end.  Whether the answer comes in "tangible, measurable results" is up to Him.

If want to go for "tangible, measurable results" on demand, try magic.



Yes, we're on the receiving end of receiving clarity to see things as God intends us to see them.  Try not being a cocky jerk all the time. It works better for dealing with other human beings.
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« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2009, 11:50:29 PM »

I'm coming to see that prayer is not about tangible, measurable results as a result of the benevolent hand of a divine wish giver, sitting on a throne dishing out requests when he deems fit. My understanding, and experience, is that prayer opens the door to our understanding of our own lives and the situations we face. Prayer provides clarity and meaning to seemingly unclear and meaningless situations.  Although all the trials we are faced with in life do not seem meaningful at first glance, their purpose becomes clearer through prayer, or our active participation and kind of acceptance of the reality of the events as things meaningful in themselves, if only we can see it.
Try meditation.  It works better for Nirvana.

In prayer, someone is on the receiving end.  Whether the answer comes in "tangible, measurable results" is up to Him.

If want to go for "tangible, measurable results" on demand, try magic.



Yes, we're on the receiving end of receiving clarity to see things as God intends us to see them.  Try not being a cocky jerk all the time. It works better for dealing with other human beings.

Struck the humanist nerve, have we?
« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 11:51:40 PM by ialmisry » Logged

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and urgent strife sheds blood.
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« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2009, 11:54:23 PM »

Just wanted to thank everyone for their continued thoughts. I haven't responded because I'm still working through things, but I have been reading with interest. And thank you Gabriel for the prayers. Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2009, 12:03:35 AM »

I'm coming to see that prayer is not about tangible, measurable results as a result of the benevolent hand of a divine wish giver, sitting on a throne dishing out requests when he deems fit. My understanding, and experience, is that prayer opens the door to our understanding of our own lives and the situations we face. Prayer provides clarity and meaning to seemingly unclear and meaningless situations.  Although all the trials we are faced with in life do not seem meaningful at first glance, their purpose becomes clearer through prayer, or our active participation and kind of acceptance of the reality of the events as things meaningful in themselves, if only we can see it.
Try meditation.  It works better for Nirvana.

In prayer, someone is on the receiving end.  Whether the answer comes in "tangible, measurable results" is up to Him.

If want to go for "tangible, measurable results" on demand, try magic.



Yes, we're on the receiving end of receiving clarity to see things as God intends us to see them.  Try not being a cocky jerk all the time. It works better for dealing with other human beings.

Struck the humanist nerve, have we?

I'll just let you enjoy behind your keyboard whatever that statement means to you.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 12:04:52 AM by Bogoliubtsy » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2009, 12:07:36 AM »

This would be similar in a way to the question which lead me to Orthodoxy in the first place which was why do good people suffer and bad people have good lives or it seems this way that is another topic though. The following quote I think sums it up well. "Prayer does not change God, but changes the person who prays." Soren Kierkeguard. When I do not pray regularly there is a difference in me I am more argumentative and negative. So I believe this is the answer to why pray because it does wonders for our souls even if God's answer is no.  God's ways are higher than ours and we may not always understand why. I believe that is why we have to have faith. Sorry if that sounds cliche  but that is what I had to finally conclude.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 12:08:46 AM by Daniel08 » Logged

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« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2009, 12:43:20 AM »

This would be similar in a way to the question which lead me to Orthodoxy in the first place which was why do good people suffer and bad people have good lives or it seems this way that is another topic though. The following quote I think sums it up well. "Prayer does not change God, but changes the person who prays." Soren Kierkeguard. When I do not pray regularly there is a difference in me I am more argumentative and negative. So I believe this is the answer to why pray because it does wonders for our souls even if God's answer is no.  God's ways are higher than ours and we may not always understand why. I believe that is why we have to have faith. Sorry if that sounds cliche  but that is what I had to finally conclude.



I like your quote. It sums up part of the point I tried to make.
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"When you give food to the poor, they call you a saint. When you ask why the poor have no food, they call you a communist". - Archbishop Hélder Pessoa Câmara
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« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2009, 12:47:56 AM »

This would be similar in a way to the question which lead me to Orthodoxy in the first place which was why do good people suffer and bad people have good lives or it seems this way that is another topic though. The following quote I think sums it up well. "Prayer does not change God, but changes the person who prays." Soren Kierkeguard. When I do not pray regularly there is a difference in me I am more argumentative and negative. So I believe this is the answer to why pray because it does wonders for our souls even if God's answer is no.  God's ways are higher than ours and we may not always understand why. I believe that is why we have to have faith. Sorry if that sounds cliche  but that is what I had to finally conclude.

Welcome to the forum, Daniel. And that's a great quote!
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« Reply #31 on: February 18, 2009, 09:04:56 AM »

Thanks for the welcome.
 Another thing I could add is that God's timing is different than ours I prayed about something for nearly 5 years before the prayer was answered in a way that I could see it was being answered  all along believe as not yet. I may never know why I had to wait that long but God knows.
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« Reply #32 on: February 18, 2009, 10:14:58 AM »

Though I have a deep respect for St John, I think this quote raises more questions than it answers; and in a way I see it glossing over the very real problems of *unanaswered* prayers that Asteriktos is seeking to reconcile.

I think it is a wonderful quote, but I respect your opinion (and Asterikos' struggle). I know that someone will criticize me for giving a non-answer or a cop-out. But we really do not know the mind of God. We must have faith. Perhaps a seemingly unanswered prayer is a test of faith. Perhaps a seemingly unanswered prayer will trigger a scenario which God has willed.

Our ways are not God's ways.

I know that this explanation does not help much.

Forgive this sinner.
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« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2009, 05:54:40 PM »

This would be similar in a way to the question which lead me to Orthodoxy in the first place which was why do good people suffer and bad people have good lives or it seems this way that is another topic though. The following quote I think sums it up well. "Prayer does not change God, but changes the person who prays." Soren Kierkeguard. When I do not pray regularly there is a difference in me I am more argumentative and negative. So I believe this is the answer to why pray because it does wonders for our souls even if God's answer is no.  God's ways are higher than ours and we may not always understand why. I believe that is why we have to have faith. Sorry if that sounds cliche  but that is what I had to finally conclude.

Welcome Daniel!
And, no, it's not a cliche, it's been my own experience!
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« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2009, 09:49:56 PM »

In Orthodoxy to me it seems that prayer is more sacramental in focus than what we are used to as American Christians. In other words, the primary purpose of prayer is that God's will be done, and God's will is for us to be united to God. Orthodox style prayer is generally pre-written prayers such as the Psalms, and praying them is perhaps a bit like dancing. "Dancing with God" to borrow from Matthew Gallatin. In dancing, two people experience each other's presence in very concrete ways. The act of praying allows us to experience the presence of God. The highest form of Orthodox prayer involves no words at all.

So to me it seems that asking God to do things in our lives is rather secondary; the primary thing is to experience the presence of God and to be in union with God and each other.

We have to remember that God is not like us, and that God also is unchangeable. God for whatever reason made a changeable creation that would constantly progress and develop. That's us and everything we see. The Incarnation was a huge step in promoting God's ultimate will that his creation would be united to the creator.

I do think that if a husband and wife are experiencing a high degree of union with God they will not be inclined to disunion with each other.

Just some thoughts... I hope it's helpful.

Jeremiah

If prayer works, shouldn't there be different percentages of things happening for believers than there are for atheists and/or agnostics? Shouldn't Christians have lower divorce raters, lower rates of dying from cancer, etc.? And if the answer is that God's will will be done, then why pray to begin with? Why not just let God do as he wills?
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« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2009, 12:15:00 PM »

Thanks Ozgeorge for the welcome.
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We are all sinners live life the best you can, and try not to sin too much. Father Anatoly in the Island.
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« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2009, 12:50:49 PM »

If prayer works, shouldn't there be different percentages of things happening for believers than there are for atheists and/or agnostics? Shouldn't Christians have lower divorce raters, lower rates of dying from cancer, etc.? And if the answer is that God's will will be done, then why pray to begin with? Why not just let God do as he wills?

We believe that we have a much higher rate of salvation.

If you try to use the measure of worldly success, you are walking on a slippery slope. Many religions who do that fall into a sort of Health Wealth and Happiness dogma by such thinking.

Go check out the Christian Scientists. They chronicle improved luck, miracles and cures by the truck load. Then go check out the Nichiren Buddhists and you will find the same "Results".

Orthodox Christianity does not buy into the 19th century philosophy of utilitarianism all that much. If it "works" it therefore must be good ( or better or worthwhile). 
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Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
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