Thursday, May 29, 2008

Prayer 2

Prayer is the method we use to communicate with God. It is one of the, if not the most important discipline for growing our relationship with God the Christ. I have made it my goal to know God the true and living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, not the God created by man, but the God who is Creator. So much of what we believe is based on what we have been taught versus what we have dug into the scriptures and ask God to reveal to us. I started this prayer discussion to help me to dig digger and hopefully to find answers to some of my own questions. Some of my blog friends have graciously joined me and have led me to explore further some aspects of prayer. We all came into this study believing God hears every prayer of the believer and only hears the prayers of the sinner when it is a prayer of repentance. I am not sure I believe this to be true any longer. For real, God hates sin, and we believe He will not answer our prayers if we have un-confessed sins. I’m not sure He even hears our prayers when we are in sin, note Job’s friends He didn’t even want them to come to Him in prayer. God destroyed nations because of their sin, so why do we not want to believe He does not hear our prayers when we are not right. Remembering I’m not focusing on answering but on hearing. I know you as I have always believe God hears and knows everything because He is God. I am saying He may chose not to hear/listen to our prayers when we believers are not in right standing with Him. I took a risk in asking others to explore prayer with me. I am going to take a second risk and ask you to think about what I have said and go a step further and explore the following scriptures and give your insight, and understanding. I hope you find this challenging and worth your time and participation. I truly enjoy discussing this subject with you and I hope you challenge me to go even further as we pursue God. Please pray God will grant you understanding of the scriptures. I pray you will be challenged to explore and grow.

1) Job 42:8
So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." NIV

So here's what you must do. Take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my friend Job. Sacrifice a burnt offering on your own behalf. My friend Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer. He will ask me not to treat you as you deserve for talking nonsense about me, and for not being honest with me, as he has." Message

God is talking to Job’s friends here, believers for they had not spoken the right thing about God. God says He will not accept their prayers when they pray for forgiveness but He will accept the prayer of the righteous Job.

2) Isaiah 1:15
When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

God is talking to the Israelites, believers who have sinned against Him.

Zechariah 7:13
"'When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,' says the Lord Almighty.

3) Lamentations 3:44 (King James Version)
Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not
pass through.

4) Lamentations 3:8
Even when I cry and shout, He shuts out my prayer.

8): "When I cry and shout, as one in earnest, as one that would make him hear, yet he shuts out my prayer and will not suffer it to have access to him.’’ God’s ear is wont to be open to the prayers of his people, and his door of mercy to those that knock at it; but now both are shut, even to one that cries and shouts. Thus sometimes God seems to be angry even against the prayers of his people (Ps. 80:4), and their case is deplorable indeed when they are denied not only the benefit of an answer, but the comfort of acceptance. (Commentary)

5) Habakkuk 1:2
How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!" but you do not save?
6)Matthew 27
About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Did God hear Jesus- at this time Jesus was on the cross and cover in sin. God had turned His back on sin. Would He have open His heart to hear His cry?


Karen said...

Hi all,

I am late in this conversation, and I did not read all of your postings on this, but I have to say I don't agree that God doesn't listen or hear prayers prayed in anger or sin. Some of the references listed where God did not "hear" the prayers of the sinful people are old testament references, when the Law was the way to salvation. Since Jesus' death on the cross as payment for our sins, we as believers have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. In fact we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). He dwells in us. We are His and free of the law (Romans 8:2) where sin sacrifices, atonement and priestly intercessions were codified prescriptively and where no one who was unclean could approach the presence of God (Exodus 30). We receive this gift when we first confess our faith and repent of our sins. But we all fall short and sin continually. Jesus Christ acts as our High Priest and intercedes for us with the father. His Spirit in us will actually pray in our stead when we don't even know what to pray(Romans 8:26).

God turned His Face from Jesus when darkness descended because God could not be in the presence of sin and Jesus took all our sin from us that day. This is when the temple curtain tore ( Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45)and has given Us as believers unlimited access to God (the holy of holies) through his Son our savior.

So I believe that by grace (receiving what we don’t deserve), through faith and by the power of the Holy Spirit, all prayers made by a believer are heard by God. They may not be answered, at least on our time table or according to our plan, but they are heard. Prayers on unbelievers are also heard and God will answer these as well and will send a disciple to the unbeliever to minister to him or her because God doesn’t want anyone to perish, he wants everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)


godlover said...

I think I feel and believe much the way Karen does. I think I do believe that God hears a believer's every prayer. And fearing that I might analyze it to death, I'm going to leave it at that for the time being. I will think about it and pray about it and get back to you.

In Christ's love,
Calaveras County CA

God Chaser said...

Karen are you saying God hears prayers of unbelievers even when it is not a prayer of repentence?

I feel the need to clairfy I understand 'Christ work on the cross and why God turn His back on sin God cannot tolerate sin. The scripture was given for thought and all scripture were references to the Israelites-God's chosen people- yes people who often turned from Him and engaged in activities not of Him- the same as many believers today. I ahve more thoughts but will stop here for now

godlover said...

I also left you a comment on my blogsite but thought I'd add a quick answer to your question over here since I'm not sure which one you will check. The study I just finished was in the 500+ page textbook "Know the Bible in 30 Days" by J. Stephen Lang from Guideposts publishers. It was well worth my time and I think anyone would enjoy it. Although it is a little intensive with all that reading: 1.5 to 2.0 hours a day depending on how fast you read. I tend to slow my reading down when I am reading for study and not for pleasure.

I wanted to come back and say more about prayer but my mind's pretty much been a blank. I do believe God hears the prayers of unbelievers and not necessarily just prayers of repentance. He heard my prayers while I was a JW and I wasn't praying what we'd consider prayers of repentance. He heard my prayers of love for Him. I was steeped in error but my love for Him was genuine. I wasn't praying for my salvation but instead they were prayers of my heart. He heard the love I had for Him and He pulled me out of that cult. (It's funny that I can call it a cult now and I used to get so upset when I'd hear someone else call us a cult! But the truth is the truth!) I was so in love with the Father that my prayers were from a broken and contrite heart. I had come to the end of myself in "works" and was thus left bruised, battered, and bleeding by my own efforts. But my prayers to Him were prayers of deep love. I didn't pray a prayer of repentance for several months after I left the JWs and began attending a Covenant Church here in the other side of our county. When we moved here I joined the local Covenant Church about 2 blocks from my home. So I know from my own experience that these were just common prayers of a deep love. He heard those prayers of love and pulled me out of the JWs, that's the only way I can explain it. I just know it was His actions that gave me escape because I would never, never have had the nerve to leave the Witnesses on my own. There was so much fear in the teachings of the JWs that if you make a mistake there's no going back. The day I stepped into that church 20 years ago (give or take a few years) I knew was my fatal blow if I was making a mistake. Jehovah would never forgive me for what I was doing. Knowingly walking into a temple of Babylon, getting involved with the Great Harlot would be my end. There was no going back.

I don't know why God pulled me out of the JWs for sure, but I believe it had to do with my prayers. In my prayers I was always searching for the object of my true love. I can remember being too afraid to close my eyes and bow my head for prayer when the church congregation prayed. I would not be a part of their pagan prayers! No, my prayers were not prayers of repentance. I fully believed I had the "Truth" as a JW. If you'd have asked me what I was doing in church that day I would have answered, "I have absolutely no idea!" I was searching for God, I mean I must have been, but I can't remember even thinking about what I was doing other than to think that I had gone too far. Jehovah would never forgive me. I had willingly stepped into Babylon the Great the world empire of false religion. My fear was palpable. But I praise God that He heard my prayers and recognized that I was searching even when I was totally unaware. I don't know if this all makes sense or if I'm saying it the right way. It's just that the only reason God had for pulling me out of that cult were my prayers. The only other possible reason would have been the fact that I was baptized in a Baptist Church when I was 8 years old but I didn't get baptized because I believed. I got baptized so I could partake of communion. I wanted to eat the bread and drink the wine and the only way I could do that was if I were baptized. So we have either that God heard my righteous prayers or He honored a commitment that was made at a very early age for reasons totally other than accepting Christ. Personally, I believe it was because of my prayers and not the meant-nothing baptism. Well, this has been a long comment and I apologize. I just wanted to explain a little further that my prayers were not prayers of repentance.

Calaveras County CA

God Chaser said...

Marj you leave me with another question. When you were baptized at the age of 8 even though it was only for the bread and wine(you are not alone in this many children are baptized for the same reason) did you confess Jesus as your Savior when you responded to the offer of salvation?
Thanks for sharing your story and joining me in this look at prayer. This will certianly help me gain more understanding. I am not trying to challenge anyone's beliefs but my own and I am just trying to know God and sometimes this means asking questions that may leave people wondering about me and my beliefs. It also help me to be open to what others believe and why, thus sending me deeper in the word to mediatate on all the scriptures other gives. Once again thanks. I will alos put this on your site.

godlover said...

On follow up, I can't remember if I accepted Christ when I was baptized. I had also attended Summer Camp that summer or the summer before or after and there's the possibility that I accepted Christ at that time. The problem is that I just don't remember. So there is the chance that God accepted my invitation back when I was only late and therefore when He called me out of the JWs it was because I was sealed with the Holy Spirit until He called me out. It's also possible that I am still works oriented in thinking that my baptism didn't count way back when, and therefore it was up to me. I don't know if I'm confusing things here or not. I just know that I was baptized at 8 years. It very well may be he called me out of the JWs BECAUSE of my previous baptism. It may be that being so works oriented God let me stew in the works of the JW until I came to the end of myself and recognized that I could never make myself good enough for Jehovah no matter how hard I tried and when I reached that point the Lord said: Come out, my child, you've been gone a long time. Come and we will kill the fatted calf. I'm sorry if I'm just confusing things. I'm trying to get these thoughts down as they come to me so this may not do you any good or not, I just don't know. I have always felt that if knowing the answer is fundamental to my relationship with the Lord, He will bring me to the knowledge. There's a lot of things I don't fully understand and I have to just rest in my Father's arms, knowing He'll teach me all that He wants me to know, all that's important for me to know, that is. I don't think God wants us to have all the answers. If we have all the answers there would be no need for faith and we'd be no different than the JW. If we have everything clear up and everything's there in nice black and while for us, who needs faith?? No, I don't think we're supposed to have all the answers. In fact my first pastor told me to always be leery of any group who has it all figured out and claims to have all the answers. The Seventh Day Adventists also think they have it all figured out and they have all the answers. They are so much like JWs it's almost frightening.

God Chaser said...

You are right we don't have all the answers and in this life will never have there are many mysteries with God and it is not important if you received chrst at age 8 or when you confess when you left the JWs'. It is only important you have come to have one with Him now. My thought which matters not is you became God's child back when you were 8 and He kept His eye on His child all those years you were away and yes He called you out of darkness when He was ready to move you into His purpose and plan for you. Those years with the JW were preparation for your purpose. Even with this we know He heard Your prayers when You called upon Him. God Bless

Karen said...


I know there is a new post and this discussion has moved on, but I didn't have a chance to check back over the weekend. Marj, thanks for your story. It is a powerful witness you have to share. I too praise God that he led you out of the pit and brought you to new life in Him.

God Chaser, I think He does hear the prayer of unbelievers even if they are not prayers of repentance. I have two examples. One is out of the book "Three Cups of Tea" about Greg Mortenson's mission to build schools in Pakistan. I read that book as part of a women’s bible study at my church. My two thoughts were disappointment that Greg did not acknowledge God's hand at work through him, but clearly God was behind it all. The elder of the town that started Greg on this journey was Muslim and devout follower of Allah (remember from Abraham and Sarah's maid came Ishmael, father of the Muslim faith). He prayed for schools to educate the children of his village and God sent Greg.

Another example is a fictional example that CS Lewis uses in his children's book The Last Battle. Here a young soldier in the army of Tash is praying to Tash but living a faithful life full of good. He is rewarded by going to heaven. The message I think CS Lewis was trying to give was that God sees, hears, and knows our hearts. If we have not had the opportunity to hear about Christ (as with the elder in Pakistan and the soldier in the book) He will accept our prayers and judge us according to our character, even if we are not knowingly praying to Him. But I think He also sends a believer to those people to spread the gospel so the unknowing can become part of the adopted children of God.

Blessings to you both.