1. I think we agree more than it might appear to you. No, it isn’t simple at all. Some people would like it to be as simple as “God vs Satan” and figure the louder they yell at the devil the more powerful their prayers will be. But I have found that when I’m not getting the answer I want, I need to ask myself if my prayers are being hindered by my own attitude or sin or blindness to what is really going on and why, etc. My whole theology (as much as can call it that while still having so many questions) is based on the fact that God knows everything and I know very little. So, yes, I do ask Him (sometimes beg Him) for things, but I don’t declare, demand, or claim them, because no matter how strongly I want to see a certain outcome, I am still painfully aware that there are probably a lot of things I don’t know, and if I knew everything my petitions would probably be very different.
    My book “BARRIERS (So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?)” includes fourteen chapters covering fourteen “barriers” to answered prayer that I found in Scripture – none of them God’s fault. I think too many people chalk it up to “You don’t have enough faith!” and there’s a lot more to it than that. (“Now we see in a mirror dimly…”)

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    1. I love this type is discourse – the more input the more I continue my journey the more I continue my journey the more input I seek and the more I stand in awe of God and just say I don’t know but He does – blessings and safety in these uncertain times


  2. Yes, God is more powerful than anything or anyone.
    He is also wiser than anyone.
    He is also more loving.
    Taking all this into consideration, we know that nothing happens without His permission, He has His reasons for everything, and that He wants what’s best for His people. May I suggest we pray first that whatever His reason for allowing Covid19, that purpose would be accomplished? Then once its mission is accomplished, He will take away the virus.
    But when the crisis has passed, I do hope we won’t go back to “business as usual.” It would be so nice to see people focused on Him when things are GOOD.

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    1. First I want to say thanks for your input and give you context to where I am at right now – I am struggling to understand how to hold in tension the different concepts on prayer and its function all of which are derived from the Bible. I hope you will struggle over this as I am because the day we think our doctrine is right is the day we think the created fully understands the Creator, the imperfect fully understands the perfect!

      I find the “God permitting” idea perfectly scriptural but I think we wander into very scary territory when we REPLACE our petitions with “God your purpose be accomplished.” There is more to God than one dimension. Life is not an “either or” nor are we called to accept our circumstances as unchangeable.

      I have begun asking the following question, “Would you be willing to pray that God would have someone rape your wife, mother or sister etc. so that His will is accomplished or tell someone who had this happen to them that it was God who set this evil act up to accomplish His will?”

      I think we would be more apt to pray for their protection and, although we could see God at work in the situation, we would not assign the evil act of rape to God as if He set it in motion. I think we have a very odd idea of who God is. It seems to some He is this being that is so desperate to correct the sinfulness of mankind that He will hurt anyone and everyone if need be to get what He wants. I agree God allows evil but He does not perpetrate it and therefore COVID 19 is not God’s action to accomplish His goals but rather God’s allowance because of sinfulness. God works all things together but He does not set all things in motion but rather allows things to happen and sets His plan in motion to work it out for good.

      I am sure Paul when he asked for the removal of his “thorn” did not go to God with an “if it is your will” attitude but rather petitioned God 3 times until God told him that he had another way. The thorn was not God’s will but rather leaving it there was God’s way. It would be wrong for Paul to ask for God to remove it after what God told him but it was not wrong before. This is the same Paul who said be anxious about nothing but in every situation present you prayers and petitions… I would suggest that that is an opening to ask for what we want. If God tells me that He is going to leave COVID 19 then I will stop praying that way but like Paul I will petition for His merciful end to it until He says mercy will come in a different way.

      I find my theology changing. The way I once approached God did not fit the power of prayer in the Bible because I was so afraid of being a name it and claim it guy which I am not. That being said, I would rather approach God asking for mercy than try to spiritualize suffering. I accept He may not grant my request but I will let His perfection overrule my desire for mercy instead of assuming that He is not merciful.

      I am still struggling to find the tension between the idea represented in the parable of the unjust judge and the fact that we are to pray “Thy will be done.” I guess the one thing that both sides must agree on is that God is sovereign so He is not caught off guard by the situation or our prayer/request regarding it. I just think there are more layers to it than either side can explain. I am not trying to prove a point but rather explain why I am not convinced it is a simple as we would like it to be.

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