Don’t Shoot the Messenger

Ok party people….

Number One…I am just reporting the info on this one. I didn’t create it. So let’s start there.

Number Two… this is NOT the SCP website official view on prayer. My feelings and opinions on prayer (not what I know, because I know very little) will come later in another post.

Number Three… this is just meant to stimulate discussion. Let’s play nice with each other, because I know we are all over the board with this one.

This short ten minute video was brought to my attention by Edge of Faith. I know many of you frequent there, but some of you may not, so I thought I would steal their post (I hope that’s OK guys). If you want an in-depth theological or scientific debate on the subject, I would head over there because the heady stuff is talked about there.

If you start getting deep or writing really long posts full of scriptures here, I am just gonna tune you out. If you want to point to scripture, that’s fine, but please don’t post it for us. Give us the reference and we will read it for ourselves.

Primarily, just give us your gut reactions to the video here and then head over to the Edge of Faith guys for the debate if you like. Enjoy the video (or don’t enjoy it)… but remember, don’t shoot the messenger.

From Why Won’t God Heal Amputees?

75 thoughts on “Don’t Shoot the Messenger”

  1. I wasn’t addressing their motives, but more how they present their case. They present their case as ordinary people interpreting something they read in a book and comparing that against what they observe in reality. They’re just sharing what they believe to be true.Benny Hinn presents himself as someone who has a direct link with God and therefore what he says is divine in nature. He is presenting what he believes to be true.Christians are trying to get everybody saved and those who don’t believe in our testimony and what we believe is true are told they will burn in hell. So what’s the difference between the three groups of people? Everybody thinks what they believe is true and everybody acts upon that. We ALL have an agenda in the end.

  2. Ninjanun, Thank you, and really I didn’t mean to cause you to have to make a big time suck and really a big detail comment to me just….It takes me a ton of time to write the littlest of comments.I know that I come off a little bit short, it’s because I can’t type and I need to get to the point…like now. And I know how people joke and jab around hear, and I thought you could take it, you always act so tuff. I don’t feel I was out of order.I too am very busy and shouldn’t be on the internet. ( I have looked at your blog and there was alot of deep stuff on there and I saw you were busy and I was suprised that you even answered at all) But this is the only real time I get to talk about God with people. Just talking about it at home can start bit of a fight….taboo, I have been learning as much as I can as fast as I can. If you would have anwsered with just this…..“Would you not have felt stupid if I just said instead, “I believe the Christus Victor, Moral Influence, and Ransom theories of atonement are better theology?” “I really would have thought to myself, Ok this is some thing new I have not heard of. I need to read about this on the internet. And now I have done just that. I will have to study it even farther. It looks very complex. Maybe we can talk later, about why you prefer to call God a she, when we both have more timeall the best to you also

  3. And wait another minute. What about ANY non-healings (which seem to occur far more often, couldn’t we agree)? Aren’t they also an act of God? Is a non-healing a God-failing since it never came at all?I’m just asking.

  4. OK, there seems to be a pretty wide consensus that the video is flawed in it’s premises and therefore it’s conclusions.But is it possible to measure the effectivenenss of prayer? A lot of the comment here is just anecdotal stuff that quite frankly any (false) religion would also claim (peace of mind, closeness to God etc).Does God do miraculous stuff? Is it just me that’s noticed that most of my ‘petition’ type prayers go unanswered? And I mean unanswered in a supernatural way, not just a changing of my attitude etc. In that case the guys on this video are spot on. Most people I know who receive pray for healing or other such miraculous interventions never get positive, supernatural answers. Isn’t that why we tend to couch our prayers in pretty ambiguous language … to give ourselves (and God?) a get out clause!

  5. Ah yes… I remember downloading that message about grace, taken from the Quran. Short of the <>“death to the infidels”<> scream at the end, Steve did a really fine job!!

  6. But to play the Devil’s advocate here, the man presented two passages of Scripture that assert God promised to answer all prayer in the name of Jesus. How is it that unanswered prayer is much more normative?

  7. “fancy talk” means not really answering the question but sending one down a rabbit trail to make me feel stupid? So if I’m really curious as to what you ment by,“But God sending his son to be murdered makes sense if you believe only in subsitutionary atonement, I guess, but I don’t.”I can google other theories of atonement, to figure out what Ninjanun believes.Then I will just pick one of the five that best fits what I think, that you might think… (?) (in other words go read a book other then your Bible that you have read with your fundamentalist evangelicalist slant.)Thanks Ninjanun

  8. The guy spends the entire time < HREF="http://www.tektonics.org/lp/prayfor.html" REL="nofollow">attacking a strawman of prayer<> (unless you’re a <>Word-of-Faith<>er or something).BTW: I found an < HREF="http://www.tektoonics.com/parody/gawd.html" REL="nofollow">interesting parody<> of his website.

  9. <>Are your petitions based on scriptural promises?<>Think so. Is asking God to deliver people from some distress & suffering according to a scriptural promise? Is asking to see people saved according to a scriptural promise?<>How long do you usually wait?<>How long am I supposed to wait. I’ve waited until some people have died … is that long enough? How long is a miracle supposed to take and still be a miracle rather than a long slow recovery?

  10. I love how we all start talking about one thing, and then end up on a totally different subject. It’s just like my youth group. We may start talking about Dogs, and end with the War on Iraq… please, lets not do this. Thanks for all the ideras everyone throughout there, it was fun to read. See ya folks.

  11. I guess the problem with desires though is that they don’t manifest themsleves in miraculous, supernatural ways. What the makers of the video are claiming is that God doesn’t intervene in any supernatural, miraculous way … and I think I’d agree with them. Prayers for miracles don’t work and I can’t think of any in scripture (but am willing to be corrected).

  12. Is anything altruistic Jefe….??? Doesn’t everything have an agenda….So why discuss anything if we are going to dismiss everything on the basis of someone having an agenda? We know they have an agenda. There is no pure debate…. right?

  13. Are there more non-healings than healings? That is an interesting assumption. I think it would be hard to try and make that statement in respect to unreached countries, or for that matter any country other than the U.S. (India, Panama, Congo, etc.)Just a thought.

  14. This makes perfect sense… as long as you exclude God from the equation.The problem lies in that the premise is wrong. The authors of this video assume that the purpose of prayer is to get God to wave His magic wand or be a genie in a bottle for us.The actual purpose for prayer is to communicate with the invisible God… speaking to Him and hearing from Him… building relationship with Him.Someone could walk up to me today and say, “Give me a hug!”. I probably wouldn’t. Then they’d gop away saying, “Señor Jefe doesn’t give hugs”. But if my son or daughter came up to me, they wouldn’t even have to ask for the hug. I’d freely give it. And their view of me would be different than the person who did not have relationship with me.

  15. Sable-You said:<>Ninjanun“But God sending his son to be murdered makes sense if you believe only in subsitutionary atonement, I guess, but I don’t.”You don’t? What is it that you believe?<>If you are really curious, you can google other theories of atonement, such as Christus Victor, Ransom, Moral Influence, etc. There is more than one theory of atonement, but most fundamentalist evangelicals are not aware of them, and so have a harder time understanding them when confronted with them. Also, because they’ve only been taught substitionary atonement, they color every reading of scripture that mentions Christ’s death and resurrection with that viewpoint (it’s called eisegesis–putting your own meaning into the text, as opposed to exegesis–getting meaning from the text).You can also go here for a brief snippet on the problem evangelicals have with atonement, and how it wasn’t even established in the earliest creeds:< HREF="http://theparish.typepad.com/parish/2006/07/cant_chuck_cols.html" REL="nofollow">the parish<>. Granted, it’s mostly a rant about Christianity Today, but I think Greg makes a good point at the end. At any rate, if you do a search on other theories of atonement on Greg’s site or just anywhere on Google, you can find other theories of atonement besides the substitutionary one. There’s also a book called “Five Theories of the Atonement.” I forget who it’s by, b/c it is a compilation between several theologians.

  16. Jefe: “What makes this video effective is the premise that prayer’s purpose is to make God obey us, instead of the other way around. To someone who doesn’t understand that fact, this video will make a lot of sense.”And just for those people I think we should write a new set of commandments. Since many people believe God exists to serve them, perhaps that should be how we phrase the first one.I welcome any help I can get with this task.New Commandment # 1 (as told to God): You shall have no other petitioner but me. Translation: You will grant me what I ask for simply because I ask for it. Now get to steppin’!Yeah I think that works. Certainly explains the attitude of the people in the video.

  17. Let me clarify that … I can’t think of any prayers for specific miracles, not I can’t think of any miracles!

  18. <>I have seen a girl with muscular distrophy get up out of a wheelchair and walk after a week of prayer. She said she saw Jesus standing at the altar bidding her to come walk to Him. The crutches are still on the tabernacle wall as a testimony of the miracle.<>At the same time, I’ve seen a young woman with that same condition be prayed for time and time again by lord knows how many people (ministers, members of my church’s congregation) for well over ten years…only to have her die last year at the age of 30 due to complications from that disease. Then have some of the church women pray that she would be raised from the dead a la Lazarus and not have that come to pass, either. (I mentioned this over at EoF, too.)If God is not supposed to be a respecter of persons, and if one needs only a “mustard seed” of faith to receive whatever they ask for, then how come the girl Jimmybob talked about received her miracle within a week, and the young woman I referred to died while waiting <>over ten years<> for it to happen? IMO, that makes no sense.

  19. “If you want real dialogue, a little more respect would be nice.”Hey, I just took my own little jab at you….but that’s not cool because I’m not really part of the SCP click. “Hmmm, this is why I don’t usually answer your questions, Sable. You put words in my mouth, intentionally twist what I say to make it sound like I was attacking you, and read into my intent.”I don’t ever remember asking you a direct question before.Sorry to ask you a question, I should have known that you are a very busy person. I have no problem doing the work of looking up the “Christus Victor theory of atonement”. I didn’t want to read in to your answer something that you didn’t say that you believed. OK, that is why I asked. I have never heard of “Christus Victor theory of atonement” before. You may think that I am an idiot because I’m not as well read as you, but I think it is a bit disrespectful that you think that I was suppost to read your mind and just know. That would have been reading into your comment my own intent, I didn’t do that. I didn’t ask you to do time sucking research either into what you believe. I just asked what you believed, and you gave me the go look it up answer.You and I are going to rub each other wrong for awhile because we don’t understand each other. I was trying to bridge that gap with trying to understand where you are coming from. I find you to be very confrontational, I just mirrored that when you anwsered my question with a “go look it up answer, I don’t have time for you.” additude.Sorry to take up your time.

  20. Zecryphon, great comments, I love the one about the New Commandment # 1 (as told to God): It came to me a while back that the Bible is meant for the believer. So an unbeliever trying to disprove God by useing scripture that they don’t fully understand, is ridiculous and insulting. So what is really proven about God with the logic of the horse test?… God is not a vending machine.Steve,I’m just curious. Did you use scripture when you were a preacher?

  21. I think that God interjects when He pleases, but that does not mean we should not pray. I believe He answers prayers too.When Jesus spoke to Peter right before Peter denied him he said something like, “Satan has asked for all of you and desires to sift you like wheat. But, don’t worry, I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail. So, when you have repented and turned back to me, encourage your brothers.”This is a pretty good passage from the New Testament that gives us a glimpse of God’s control and man’s free will at the same time.When Jesus prayed for Peter is was a done deal that his faith would not fail forever. But, he instructs Peter to encourage the brothers, he does not say Peter will. It is up to him.I have learned that sometimes God interevenes, but he always gives responsibility and leaves many things up to us. I also don’t think any of us will ever put a finger on exactly why God does certain things…He just does or does not.If the “odds” aren’t good enough for some, maybe they would prefer just using a lucky horseshoe, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d rather keep seeking God for answers, because He’s God.

  22. Invoking Matthew 6:6 I prayed for 6 6s, then I rolled the di. Unfortunately I cannot tell you what happened.

  23. I’m sorry that I did not qualify. The personal attack I mentioned was from the maker of the video towards christians. And by the way did you notice that life_of_brian called you a black man.

  24. Sure non healings are God’s will. A good example would be Joni Ericksons in what she shares in her personal testimony about God not healing her.Dan

  25. The man at the gate called Beautiful waited a loooong time before he was healed.Prayer is something God has given us to do. It is His method of our communication with Him. Scripture is full of admonishments to pray and ask God for things. To say otherwise would be silly.I think that if we want to give God reviews as if we are supervising Him, measuring His performances, then we better have an honest relationship with Him. And we cannot be His boss.You know, I haven’t seen amputees grow legs, but I have heard reports of such things from missionaries. I have seen a girl with muscular distrophy get up out of a wheelchair and walk after a week of prayer. She said she saw Jesus standing at the altar bidding her to come walk to Him. The crutches are still on the tabernacle wall as a testimony of the miracle.Just this past week, one of my fellow ministers received a report that his wife had Lymphoma cancer. She hadn’t been feeling well. All week people prayed for her and by Friday they went back to the doctor and all traces of the cancer were gone! That woman has a new life! Praise God. And believe me, this minister is the type who will ask for proofs and obtain the records. But, he will praise God for answering his prayers. Reality #1: she WAS diagnosed with cancer and didn’t feel well. Reality #2: many people prayed for her. Reality #3: the doctor said the cancer is gone! Reality #4: Some, like me, will see this as God answering prayer, others will chalk it up as coincidence, chance, or perhaps a missed diagnosis.None of this changes the Truth of Scripture and the instructions given to us by our Lord concerning prayer. One thing is for sure, we all will be healed in Heaven, with glorious immortal bodies that won’t get sick. No more sickness there. No more crying there. No more dying there. Thank God.

  26. Jenny said: <><>So, Jeff, does that mean that God only answers the prayers of people God likes and completely ignores the rest? <><>I never mentioned anything about who God does/does not answer. All I said is that the primary purpose of prayer is to connect with God in intimate relationship. And within that relationship, His desires are revealed.Of course, I will say this. It’s a lot easier to understand the dynamics of ‘asking’, when the desires of your heart are in line with God’s (see John 15:7 [gulp]).What makes this video effective is the premise that prayer’s purpose is to make God obey us, instead of the other way around. To someone who doesn’t understand that fact, this video will make a lot of sense.

  27. I’m still trying to figure out what Jeff was asking about the differances in the relationship between God and man before Abrahams covenent and after. But I like what JimmyBob said. And now we are on to Buzz Lightyear coming out of the paper towels and bring hot mamma’s to Christ to make babies! WOW! It’s never dull here at SCP!We will never forget….forget what? (just kidding)But then again what is it we are really trying to remember? Alot of people died and firefighters died trying to rescue others. But isn’t it more than that. Isn’t it remembering that our world can change in a second and we should always be living in a way that would be pleasing to God. Or with all the flag waving are we to remember that we are still one nation under God….I think we are forgetting something.

  28. I think that God will use whatever and who ever he wants, to bring glory to Himself and that might sound egotistical of Him, but then again He uses the weak and the humble. If God is so egotistical He would have used an army of angels to stand up for Jesus inocents, but instead He uses Jesus as a humble servent. The purfect sinless one that was sent to die to be the atonement for sins that he did not commit. Like when Jesus’ disciples asked, Why is this man blind? Was it because of his sins or the sins of his parents? It was for the glory of the Lord. Ninjanun“But God sending his son to be murdered makes sense if you believe only in subsitutionary atonement, I guess, but I don’t.”You don’t? What is it that you believe?The story of Job is much more than, “”why do bad things happen to good people?” It is a story that should put things in to perspective, when we do ask the “why?” questions. We are talking to the creator of the universe, where were we when it was all set in motion. And we have to stand up and take it like a man, because we don’t even have the right to question, yet God will allow us to. And when bad things happen to good people we learn from Job to still love the Lord and trust that all things will be restored.I just wanted to put a plug in for Joni Eareckson Tada. I have read a little of her writings but this is the first time I have heard her speak.I just wanted to share that.7/25/2006 and 7/26/2006http://www.oneplace.com/Ministries/bible_answer_man/Archives.asp

  29. Well that’s her viewpoint at least….However I do think it is one thing to say that God can be glorified thru a struggle or pain and another thing to say it is God’s will. I think its more than semantics.

  30. <>He is letting us just hang in the breeze? I have to believe that he is in control and like you said earlier, if God has given control to someone else…He can take it back in a second. <>No Sable, I do not believe God has us hanging in the breeze. I believe He has given us very specific guidelines, by which we live (ie- love, hope, peace…etc). OUR choices determine the consequences in our lives, not God’s sovereign hand. He told us to ‘choose life’. He told us to ‘get wisdom’. I may get voted asshole of the year here, but did God REALLY cripple Joni Earickson Tada, so she could have a big ministry? Could she have had a big ministry without that wheelchair? (A lot of people do…) Or did she simply dive in water that was too shallow? And God took HER mistake and HER totally f-ed up situation, and turned it around for His glory??He leads us. He guides us. But He doesn’t make steps for us. If He did, He’d just wave His magic scepter and we’d all be in heaven. After all, that IS His will, isn’t it?And no, I believe the control God has given to man, He will NEVER take back. That would defeat the whole dynamic of the free-will relationship.<>Are you saying that the Covenant God had with Abraham (that God would stick with his children, and from them the Messiah would come) Was not apart of Gods thinking for the people that love and obeyed Him before Abraham.<>I can’t say it wasn’t a part of His “thinking”. It just wasn’t implemented in their lives, yet. Before Abraham, there is no biblical record of a blood-sworn oath between God and man. Of course God has always saved a ‘remnant’. But the nature of God’s relationship with man changed dramatically, once He walked through blood for Abraham. God’s relationship with man changed dramatically again, when God cut a blood-covenant with Jesus.Why is it so difficult to see the difference between life before/after the first, Abrahamic covenant, when we all recognize the differences between the second, God/Christ, new covenant?And keep in mind, this point was originally posted to touch on the whole Job thing. Since the writing/life(?) of Job, God has cut 2 covenants with man. Wouldn’t it seem that the nature of His relationship with New Covenant man is now drastically different then it was with those living BEFORE the Old Covenant? Before you jump right back at me sable, think about it. Think about the dispensational nature of God’s relationship with man throughout time. And then consider if the book of Job is really worthy to be interpreted within its immediate context? Or is it rather more deserving to be interpreted within the larger, historical framework of God’s ever-growing, increasingly close relationship with man over the last 6,000 years?I believe Job is the oldest book of 66, and should be read within the context of the ENTIRE bible, not as a stand-alone treatise on God’s eternal nature (especially when so much of the bible is in direct contradiction to that puppeteer-God-view…

  31. <>fancy talk” means not really answering the question but sending one down a rabbit trail to make me feel stupid? <>First of all, Steve was making a little jab at me and my proclivity to use bigs words (note: I learned the word “proclivity” from watching “Swing Kids,” not from all my perceived “book learnin’.”)Second: my intent was not to make you feel stupid, but to get you to research the other theories on your own. Like I said, if you really want to know what’s out there, I have confidence that you can find out. I pointed the way to get you started. I’m going back to school full-time and work, and I really shouldn’t be spending so much time researching something that you are perfectly capable of doing yourself. If that makes you feel stupid, that says more about you and the way you took my comments, than the comments themselves.Hmmm, this is why I don’t usually answer your questions, Sable. You put words in my mouth, intentionally twist what I say to make it sound like I was attacking you, and read into my intent.If you want real dialogue, a little more respect would be nice.But thanks for confirming my belief that you DO, in fact, read into everything with your own slant, rather than making an attempt to get at the truth of what someone (anyone) is saying on their own terms.But since you insist I give you a short answer, I’ll say this: I’m more inclined to believe the Christus Victor theory of atonement, along with Moral Influence, and not so much Subsititionary Atonement. How’s that?

  32. “Jesus death on the cross wasn’t a murder. It was HIS free-will sacrifice. (Remember that whole, “No man takes my life from me…” deal?)” True, true, but when we look at the whole, even before the covenant with Abraham. We (the people) are responsible for murder and Jesus has paid the price. Thank God.“As far as Job is concerned, why do we place so much confidence in the story of a guy who, if he even lived, lived BEFORE God’s covenant with Abraham? I mean, Job didn’t even have the law to fall back on for justice. ” What!? First of all why are you trying to throw out the book of Job? Why do you think that Job was with out the law even if it was written before the 10 commandments. The Law was in effect even with Adam and Eve. The Ten Commandments are eternal. We just needed to have it written out in stone so it could be clear to us, but it was always there. And just when we think that our “goodness” will keep us from harm….we have Job’s story.And his friends that when on and on, blah, blah, blah…and some of it even sounded like good advice to me, until you get to what God has to say about this whole matter……I will just quote scripture because how could it be said any better.Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone- while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’? “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the wicked out of it? The earth takes shape like clay under a seal; its features stand out like those of a garment. The wicked are denied their light, and their upraised arm is broken. “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you? Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death ? Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years! WOW! Doesn’t that just make you want to get on your knees and humble yourself. Yah, our sovereign God allowed it, He is in control and it may be beyond our understanding, it is our job to keep the faith and trust that it will be restored to us. Because we can’t know all (as much as we might think we that know everything) only God can see and know it all and as much as it seems like the Devil is running the place, only God is in charge. So what if historians say put less value on this book. So what if it was written first? Does that even matter.

  33. The guy on the video thing didn’t prove anything. (Although I thought the video was done well and none offensive)The author takes a couple of versus of scripture and tries to disprove not only prayer and miracles but also the existence of God.You could say the same thing about a doctor. Every person that the doctor healed would be just a co-incidence because the doctor didn’t heal everyone.Prayer is pivotal to our relationship to God and Christ. If there Is no prayer I would guess there is probably not much of a relationship there either.Now let’s get down, dirty and personal. Those of you/us who are Christians and have prayed and had it answered or not answered, let’s talk about it here in this blog forum: 1. What did you pray for, why did you pray? 2. Did you prayer bring you closer to God, regardless of the outcome of the request, or did God’s choice in not answering you prayer cause you to dis-believe in his power or the power of prayer?To discuss this with a real live person face to face, I showed the video to my wife Ellen and she thought it was totally ridiculous. The fact the author thought you could just pray and God was a vending machine for your requests was totally offensive. My wife Ellen was sick for 14 months with a back injury and we prayed everyday for her healing. It took 14 months. Ellen said although God did not heal her miraculously right away, she did learn to be thankful and have a spirit of gratitude. Being content in not having everything that she wants. She was/is thankful she is in a free country and one day should would go to work again. She had millions of things to be thankful and focused on those things while she waited on God to heal her and continues this practice daily in her life.I wish I was more like her.Dan

  34. No personal attacks intended whatsoever. This wasn’t directed at anyone specifically… The prayer thing has been discussed by me before on this site and I thought this video did a decent job of attempting to approach it from a purely logical perpspective.I do have an opinion and will share it soon… but so far I am enjoying everyone’s input and reactions. Bruce_Almighty…. I think you have pointed out something very critical. It’ll be good to here the feedback to your question….<>God promised to answer all prayer in the name of Jesus. How is it that unanswered prayer is much more normative?<>

  35. Jesus who was murdered for us. That was evil act and it was most definitely God’s will. Just because you don’t like what it is doesn’t give you the ablility to say it isn’t God’s will. In the old testament God states that if evil comes amoung the people is it because I have sent it. Did you forget about Job? God allowed Job to be used in a bet between the Devil and God himself. Job lost everything, including all of his family. It was God’s will he allowed it all to happen to bring glory to himself to show the devil that Job loved him. Dan

  36. First of all, many people have said in this post that God does not answer prayer, or that some prayers go unanswered. But all prayers are answered, they just might not be the answers we’re looking for. God answers all prayers, sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes wait, which in most cases we assume the latter two as unanswered prayers.This video posed two verses: each saying that if we ask God for something in His name, then we shall receive it, in which this case, they prayed with the “In Jesus Name” phrase at the end of the prayer, justifying the two verses. Jefe also brought up the verse in John 15, basically posing the same ideal about prayer, but, if we take these three verses and put them in context, meaning we look at them each individually in how they were written, who they were meant for, and what Jesus was trying to teach or prove in each example, then we see that prayer is not all about asking, (which has been talked about some in this forum), but, Jesus is trying to tell us that if we not just pray in his name, but we pray with the intention of having His desires be fufilled (which should become our desires, not us having our own desires and trying to convince the Lord that they are desires in His name), then they will be fufilled, which is where most of us fall short, because we think, with help of our human egotistical ways, that our all our prayers are in line with His will and we should get what we ask for. Basically we think we have it all figured out and that we know whats best when it comes to prayer, when we as humans are so finite that we cannot and do not have the power to see the big picture. We dont get the answers we want when we pray because our motives for asking are wrong. I find myself doing this alot, asking for things, and I even question myself on my motives before I pray, but once I realize that the answer to my prayer was a No or a Wait, I realize that I still did not have the right movites, and it is a lesson for me in which I will continue to grow.

  37. bruce said: <><>the man presented two passages of Scripture that assert God promised to answer all prayer in the name of Jesus. How is it that unanswered prayer is much more normative? <><>Did he REALLY present two “passages of scripture”? Or did he use the rationale that many misguided christians also use, and take verses out of context to support his belief?If it is wrong to use Mark 11:24 or John 14:14 to Name/Claim a new Cadillac, then it’s wrong to also use that scripture out of context to attempt to disprove God’s power.It’s funny, really. If Benny Hinn took these scriptures out of context to justify a ridiculous claim (like THAT would ever happen), he’d get his ass handed to him on a platter. But let the guys from WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com take the SAME SCRIPTURES out of context for their purposes, and it doesn’t seem to be as big a deal….

  38. 1st) Señor jefe … you speak a lot of sense. And it’s not a case of God just picking people he likes, it’s a case of family. God is God of everyone, but not everyone can call him Father.2nd) The whole video assumes everything. They haven’t actually conducted ANY of the experiments! Where people have conducted the experiments they have found that people who pray do see all sorts of benefits and higher recovery levels. Whether that is as a result of divine intervention or just a psychological phenomena is irrelevant. (I’ll see if I can find the links to the research).3rd) Surely every Christian thinks the same as these guys at sometime. Having spent my 35 years immersed in Christendom I just prayed coz that’s what we do … and I used all the usual sorts of lame excuses for apparent lack of results and all the cliches that I’d heard others use. All the while the, <>“I must be kidding myself”<> thoughts regularly popped into my head. But then I heard a guy called Dr Giles Munro on (close your ears if you’re easily offended!) “This is Your Day” with Benny Hinn. At last I believe I now have a much better understanding of prayer. God is actually powerless to answer prayers to intervene in the physical world!! That’s why Jesus never prayed for anyone to get better or the early disciples didn’t pray for anyone to get better … they just healed them themselves! Massively eye-opening, mind-opening teaching. Since then my prayer life has changed and I’ve even seen a couple of miracles (well, I’m convinced anyway).4th) Thanks for the post Steve.

  39. I can’t disagree more that Joni Erickson’s paralysis is God’s will. The same logic would dictate that the holocaust was God’s will.

  40. Steve it’s funny you should post about this. I read the Why won’t God heal amputees thing in a post by an atheist on About.com last week. Freaky dude. Freaky. My worlds are colliding!!!! AAAAAHHHH!::runs for hills::

  41. <>How long am I supposed to wait. I’ve waited until some people have died … is that long enough? How long is a miracle supposed to take and still be a miracle rather than a long slow recovery?<>Wait a minute. Isn’t really ANY healing an act of God, a miracle. Is a healing less miracle-ish if it’s spurred on by medicine? Is a healing not a miracle if it comes too slow?

  42. Jesus death on the cross wasn’t a murder. It was HIS free-will sacrifice. (Remember that whole, “No man takes my life from me…” deal?)As far as Job is concerned, why do we place so much confidence in the story of a guy who, if he even lived, lived BEFORE God’s covenant with Abraham? I mean, Job didn’t even have the law to fall back on for justice.In fact, most historians believe that Job was the first bible-book ever written… even before the Pentateuch. Yet, we use that book as the end-all/be-all argument for the sovereignty of God. We say things like “God ‘allowed’ it”. God ‘allows’ everything… bfd!

  43. But there are many bible scholars and theologians who insist that the book of Job wasn’t a historical account, but a story-telling device to teach the Israelites that God wasn’t just about rewarding good people and punishing bad people (the common Hebrew belief at the time). Kind of an ancient explanation for “why do bad things happen to good people?”<> It was God’s will he allowed it all to happen to bring glory to himself to show the devil that Job loved him. <> I’m sorry, but that explanation makes God sound like some egotistical sadist that got into a pissing match with Satan.And as far as Jesus being murdered by the state? There’s a fine line between something being God’s will and God’s foreknowledge of what would happen anyway as a result of Christ coming and preaching the truth. The powers have always set themselves up against the truth that God loves everyone and therefore is a champion for the poor and oppressed. The Powers That Be don’t like that sort of thing. God doesn’t make a distinction between the Haves and the Have Nots.But God sending his son to be murdered makes sense if you believe only in subsitutionary atonement, I guess, but I don’t.Was it also God’s will that Adam and Eve fell so that Christ would come? (don’t answer that here. It’s a rhetorical question to make you think).

  44. brandon said: <><>I can’t disagree more that Joni Erickson’s paralysis is God’s will. The same logic would dictate that the holocaust was God’s will. <><>Thank you for saying this. The concept of “just because something good comes out of a bad situation, it must’ve been God’s will” has always bugged me.As Steve said, goit getting glory in a negative circumstance is hardly the same as His “will” for a situation.Personally, I think that many of the “God’s will” people sadly underestimate the necessity of their own influence in their lives. (God’s not pulling nearly as many strings as they suppose…)

  45. I sometimes (okay, often) question whether I’m “really” a Christian. Yet still, I see value in prayer.First, is for the communication, as Senor Jefe described above. Immediately after a rant (at God, of course) saying I’m not sure God exists (irony, anyone?), I find myself thinking conversationally with the very One I’ve just dismissed. Prayer for me isn’t about asking, it’s about a conversation. How boring and shallow would friendships be if our friends only said what we wanted to hear?Second: I’ve always liked this Scripture (it’s short, so I’ll put it here because I need the context): <>Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.<> – Ps. 37:4It’s easy to read that and infer, “God will give me what I want.” But experience tells me, nah…not gonna happen. Later in life, I realized that this meant I’d get the desires themselves, not the fulfillment of the desires. IOW, God tells us *what* to want.Great topic.

  46. I agree with you on your motives statement. i have two examples, i guess. in the kitchen, there are buzz lightyear paper towels. there pretty sweet, and ive questioned once or twice what would happen if i were to pray that buzz lightyear would just kinda come out from the towels, stand on the counter top, and proceed to carry on in a conversation with me. that would be quite awesome, right? so i pray, “God, help Buzz to come out and talk to me and accept me for me and be my friend. In Your Sons name i do pray, Amen.” Thats kinda what this movie was saying. I mean, the bible does say if I pray for anything, in His name, it will be mine, right? So why hasnt Buzz come to visit me? Because, my prayer isnt one that glorifies God. Here’s another. I’m at work, and find out that this amazingly gorgeous girl is going to be working with me. Somehow, this girl and I begin to talk about faith and she proceeds to tell me how she once was a believer, but then just strayed away. If i go and pray to God, “God, please help this girl become a Christ follower again so that I might date her, and one day create beautiful babies. In Your Sons name i do pray, Amen.” My motives suck in this case. I dont care about her salvation, i just want a hot mama to be mine later on in life. Obviously, this prayer doesnt really help God, BUT, He will still answer it. Now if i were to pray to God, “God, help this girl follow You, show her the light and how awesome You are. Help her to use her talents for Your glory, and never let her lose sight of what matters. God, show her the true meaning of love. In Your Sons name i do pray, Amen.” Chances are, God might lean towards the second prayer a little more, but who am i to say what decision God will make? Either way, my prayer is answered, and whether i like it or not, whatever the outcome, its Gods will.A big thing that ive noticed is how people are constantly questioning God and how He could possibly be a sovereign God if He allows aids to occur, or other tragic epidemics. Lets say God did cure Aids. People may be all Holy Holy Holy for a few weeks, oh but wait, what about cancer, God cant be loving until He cures Cancer. We as humans are selfish. We always want more and more and more. So while God may receive Glory for 3 weeks, those 3 weeks were pointless because now He’s being questioned again, just on another subject. Its like the whole 9/11 deal. When those planes hit those different destinations, America felt violated, and so we came together. Everywhere we walked we would see flags out side and even magnets saying ,”these color dont run” on cars. But where did this patriotism go? If your in New York, or its surrounding areas, there may still be a trace of it. But alot of that “high” has still dissapeared. Same thing with God taking Aids away. While He may get a few more followers, people are going to continue to doubt Him. Just because we cant understand why He wouldnt “agree” with our prayers, that doesnt make Him wrong. He just has a higher perspective.

  47. Prayer is not something I have the best answers for but I can say one thing, prayer is something personal. So what if millions of people pray for me, if I don’t have faith then what’s the use? I don’t believe so I won’t get, that’s on nobody but me alone. I think those passages about prayer always reflect the belief of the person and so do Christ’s healings…they actually thought they would be healed and were. Problem is we come from a skeptical society where we are taught to doubt before we believe, can’t say I blame society for that, church helped in that one.

  48. This is taken from my comments on the youtube site. If you aren’t interested in scientific methodological babble, read no further.I wrote:<><>For the record, we never prove anything via the scientific method…we only find that the data supports or does not support our presuppositions. Likewise, you cannot prove or disprove God with your thought experiments.<><>To which a gentleman (or woman) named Theophage responded:<><>And though you are technically correct, bvheide, “proof” in laymans terms simply means evidence beyond rational doubt. This can indeed be demonstrated.<><>To which I, admittedly loquaciously, responded:<><>This is fair, Theophage, but that video used scientific terms, not layperson’s terms. I’m just not wild about jargonising an argument to make it seem more scientific and then not really being true to science.In fact, if it were true to science, there would have been a control group receiving no treatment (neither prayer, or the holy miracle working horseshoe) and then determine if there was an effect present in the data. There was no control group, however.Furthermore, there have been good scientific studies (studies not undertaken by the same religious crackpots who butcher science to prove evolution) that examine the effects of prayer. Unfortunately, this pseudo-scientific presentation didn’t do what other scientific studies do–read and review the literature.No, this video represents yellow journalism, at best.If you want to go about proving prayer doesn’t work, have at it. All I’m saying is that you should be true to science. The above video isn’t really TRUE to anything other than a presupposition that the makers wanted to prove.It’s easy to provide evidence that there should be rational doubt for the presence of God, I admit that. It’s just that this video falls short of that to anyone who’s taken any classes in scientific research methodology.<><>

  49. I must say this last bit of dialogue has kept me entertained for awhile. Play nice girls!!As for the rest of you – I have enjoyed the posts – lots of good view points out there. For me to add to it it this point would just be rehashing the same stuff so good job everyone!!

  50. Here’s what I posted on Edge of Faith, hope they crucify me.I thought the video was a little short-sighted but offered a good critique of prayer and these are some of the things many of us wonder…most of the time we’d rather not question prayer as Christians. Okay my hats in the ring and I have to say something about that video. The video was short-sighted:1. Hypothesis & Testing: I think the video had 5 tests of prayer being superstition. Firstly, they don’t really tell you how often they tested the prayer thing, they spout 5 examples as if they were tested hundred’s of times and therfore are most possibly true. Fact is, we don’t know how often this was tested so validity of the video remains suspect, even when subject to science’s testing of a hypothesis. What I think is happening they are calling prayer superstition based on limited testing (but basically I don’t know how often this was tested).2. Examples of Prayer: I noticed the video espoused 3 prayers, which in general are saying the same thing, ‘whatever you ask you will recieve’. If that’s what they are testing then cool, no problems there. But if it is ever inferred that this is all prayer is then even I know this is short-sighted. It leaves out examples of the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ and how Jesus defines prayer in Matthew 5:5-15 (you alone with God and not in mass prayer meetings hoping for the best)…so there are varied examples of prayer. I tend to agree that prayer is something to be lived because it is based on your belief system. 3. Culture: I also take issue with the premise of the video, It seems to believe that science has the answer where faith leaves off. I like the fact they test the idea but a test of this nature needs be done across cultures of the world, not just within a limited scope of a country since ‘prayer’ exists in every nation (so tests need to be done across nations). The basis of this premise is that science is right and inherent cultural values are wrong, since I have not found a founding culture yet without a belief in God or some type of prayer. Basically, to be brutally honest the critique on this issue of faith it is quite ethnocentric – colonialist to assume because we are England, American, Canadian, or Russian (so called civilized realms of the world) that the values of prayer should be superceded by our views of science. Problem is those cultures don’t actually think that and have been ‘strong-armed’ by colonialist efforts to think the way the colonizers do…there is no regards for the cultures of the world in these efforts for they are ‘uncivilized’. For someone to tell another their view on prayer is absolute is absolutely wrong. They don’t take into the equation the whole realm of the world.

  51. I’m confused now Steve :oP Weren’t you just saying that non-healings are also an act of God … but you’re also saying that they are not God’s will? So, if I’m understanding you right, an act of God is NOT necessarily God’s will?! Please square those 2 things up for me.

  52. After watching the video I was troubled in the logic behind the points being made. It is like saying that Steve wears a black shirt. A black man wears a black shirt. Therefore Steve is a black man. Even though at first it sounds right, it actually makes no sense.If we boil the whole bible down, prayer is simply communicating with God. While there are many different types of prayer, they are all handled differently. It is kind of like playing sports. You wouldn’t show up to play basketball wearing hockey skates. The same is true with prayer.Thanks for the post.

  53. Alli makes a huge observation here. I’ve always referred to that verse as God’s catch-22. As you grow to delight yourself in the Lord, that becomes the desire of your heart.

  54. Gut reaction? It bothered me. It kinda hit close to home. I guess the video was struck me as a personal attack. Everyone is intitled to there opinion, but comparing God to a horse shoe was a real sincere attempt to cheapen something that is honest and pure. Anyway, thanks for the post Steve. Kinda curious what your gut on this one was, if you don’t mind sharing.

  55. Jeff hit the nail on the head about what prayer is and what prayer isn’t. God is not Santa- he doesn’t bring gifts when we’re good. Prayer is about communication, but it’s also about asking God for help. Sometimes God gives the help we think we need, but he always gives the help that he knows we need. Yeah, sometimes he may do the big, showy, magical things- miracles and whatnot. But faith is faith- there is no proof- that’s sort of the point.On a related note, I believe that God speaks to non-Christians as well as Christians. Some people listen, others don’t.But I get what you mean about difference in relationship levels -when I stumble into a conversation among strangers, I don’t always understand it. If I try to join in, they may not welcome me into the conversation on the exact level that the others are one. Sometimes I don’t listen or try not to listen. But if I call up my friend, my sister, my parents, we’re going to have a very different experience. Even if I just stumble into the conversation, we have a pre-existing relationship. God is always having these conversations, but we’re not always listening or we’re not understanding or we’re not in a relationship with him.

  56. <>Hey, I just took my own little jab at you….but that’s not cool because I’m not really part of the SCP click. <>You’re right, it’s NOT cool, because you and I don’t know each other at all. Steve and I know each other well enough to know when we’re just poking fun. If I had said something like that to you, you probably would have taken it the same way, since we don’t know each other that well. It’s hard to interpret the right tone on the internet, especially when we don’t naturally understand where the other person is coming from or what sorts of things they joke about.<>Sorry to ask you a question, I should have known that you are a very busy person.<>I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt here and try not to take this as a sarcastic remark, but one stated with all sincerity.<>You may think that I am an idiot because I’m not as well read as you, but I think it is a bit disrespectful that you think that I was suppost to read your mind and just know.<>No, I don’t think you’re an idiot, but for some reason you seem to think I do. I apologize for giving you that impression, but that is not my intent. I was not trying to disrespect you, and I definitely didn’t expect you to read my mind. I don’t know where you got that idea. I offered the other theories of atonement precisely because I think they are all worth knowing, and find myself more inclined to believe them over the substitutionary atonement theory.<>I don’t ever remember asking you a direct question before.<>Well I do. I can’t remember if it was on this blog or someone else’s, but the way you worded the question led me to believe you weren’t really curious, you just wanted to pick a fight. <>Sorry to ask you a question, I should have known that you are a very busy person.<>Again with twisting the meaning of my words. I didn’t tell you I was a busy person because you “should have known.” I told you precisely because I knew you didn’t know, and I wanted you to know why I couldn’t go into lengthy explanations. That’s hard enough to do, even with plenty of time, when the person you’re trying to explain it to isn’t aware of other theories of atonement to begin with. Let me state again that is NOT meant as any sort of slam on your intellect. I didn’t know what they were myself until after my “official” education was finished. It’s simply not taught in evangelical churches or schools (and I was brought up in evangelical churches, and attended an evangelical college), so it took a long time for me to comprehend it, too. Honestly, if I wasn’t going to school right now I’d be happy to e-mail you privately and give you some more references. I really don’t think I’m qualified to explain the other theories of atonement in a way that would do them justice; that’s why I refer you to books and suggest doing a google search, providing the names of other theories of atonement so that you at least know what to look for.<>I didn’t ask you to do time sucking research either into what you believe. I just asked what you believed, and you gave me the go look it up answer.<>Would you not have felt stupid if I just said instead, “I believe the Christus Victor, Moral Influence, and Ransom theories of atonement are better theology?” I thought I was being helpful with my first response to you. I am saddened that you think “go look up these other theories of atonement” is some sort of put-down to your intelligence. I looked at my second response again, and I stated that I had confidence in you and thought you capable of researching this stuff on your own. I don’t see how you interpret that to mean “you’re incompetent and stupid.” I DO see, in retrospect, that you thought my tone was dismissive, but I don’t see how that translates into “you’re an idiot.” I apologize for wording my response the way I did. I see now that I should have used a gentler tone.Again, I apologize for giving you the impression that I don’t care enough to answer your question. If that was the case, I wouldn’t even have bothered to answer in the first place. But ask anyone close to me: now that I’m going back to school, I don’t have time for my normal amount of blogging/commenting (or hanging out with friends IRL). I barely have time to do all my homework! If I was better about blogging my beliefs on a regular basis, I guess I could’ve pointed you to my own blog, but alas, it is woefully lacking in the “deep thoughts” department lately (if it ever really managed that at all, hehe). 🙂You’re right, I probably should have made that more clear in my first response to you.So will you please forgive me, forget my earlier response, and let me try again? Here’s what I should have said,“Hi Sable, thanks so much for asking me about my beliefs! I’m happy that you are curious about what I believe. Unfortunately, I just started school full-time, and my course load is a lot heavier than I had hoped this second quarter. I really shouldn’t even be on the internet right now, but I saw your question directed to me, and thought it was important to answer you. I don’t believe substitutionary atonement is very good theology anymore. I used to, being brought up in the evangelical tradition, but in the past four years or so, a good friend has been informing me about the OTHER theories of atonement (which I didn’t even know existed before!), and my beliefs have gradually been changed. I wish I could describe them for you, but seeing as how it took me four years (and a very, very patient friend, whose job it is to teach theology), I know I don’t have the time that’s required to really do any of the theories justice. If you want to know them, some of the ones I’m familiar with are called Cristus Victor, Moral Influence, and Ransom theories of atonement. There may even be more, but those are the ones I’m most familiar with, at least enough to point you in that direction. You could try googling them, or wikipedia, or http://www.theparish.typepad.com (although you’ll have to wade through a lot of extra stuff on the parish website, because it’s someone’s personal blog, so they don’t blog exclusively about theories of atonement). I wish I could be more helpful, but hopefully I’ve given you a start in the right direction about what I believe. It’s okay if you don’t agree or don’t fully understand them at first (it took me four years to wrap my brain around them, and I’m still learning more everyday. There’s just so much knowledge out there to learn!) Isn’t God wonderful and beautiful and mysterious? I love learning about God, and all the ways people have tried to understand Him (or Her, if you prefer). I love that God doesn’t fit in a box. I love that God is bigger than our brains or boxes can contain. It keeps me on my toes; keeps me searching and reaching and seeking after Him. It keeps me from getting comfortable in what I believe; it challenges me to always be “working out my faith with fear and trembling,” and keeps me humble to the reality that I will never be able to fully comprehend or explain the mysterious depths of God’s love and character on this side of Glory. I know and understand Him a little better than I did at age 5, 15, or 25. I hope I never get to the point where I think I’ve got Her all figured out, though. I’m sorry that I can’t offer you more in the way of detailed explanations about what I believe. That’s all I can offer you at this point along my journey. Thanks again for your interest; I hope the little I’ve provided helps you along your own journey closer to God. This comes from my heart, with all sincerety, love, and good will.Your sis in Christ,Ninjanun

  57. shieldsy said:<><>Is it just me that’s noticed that most of my ‘petition’ type prayers go unanswered? And I mean unanswered in a supernatural way, not just a changing of my attitude etc.<><>2 questions:Are your petitions based on scriptural promises?How long do you usually wait before you determine that your petitions have gone unanswered?

  58. <>our sovereign God allowed it, He is in control <>God may have been ‘in control’ in Job’s life. But, He’s not in ours.My point about Job is that He existed before God’s promise to Abraham. I’m glad that you think Adam & Eve had the ten commandments written on their hearts or whatever, but it still does not change the fact that if Job existed, he existed outside of the Abrahamic Covenant, and thereby, is not subject to the promises of God. That’s the reason God made covenant and law, because nothing like that existed beforehand.But since then, we ARE subject to God’s covenant promises! And with the law of Moses, God surrendered ‘control’ to us (ie-‘I set before you blessing/cursings…). Out free-will choices determine the outcomes of our lives, not some sovereign puppeteer.God’s words to Job were awesome. And God is still awesome. I’m humbled by Him everyday. But I’m mostly humbled by the fact that He would relinquish control to people like you and me.I’m not trying to discard the book of Job. I’m just balancing it with the other 65 books of promise and hope that are equally if not more relevant to our existence today.

  59. Jefe,The difference between Hinn and the guys at that website is, the guys at that site don’t claim to be a prophet like Benny does. So of course Benny’s words are going to draw a stronger reaction, because he sets himself above everybody else when he makes a claim. The guys at the site are trying to scientifically prove the claims in the bible, which I don’t believe you can do. My opinion is that they don’t believe it’s true and offer these verses in the context of God is not doing what he said he would as proof of that.

  60. “God may have been ‘in control’ in Job’s life. But, He’s not in ours.”You really think that? He is letting us just hang in the breeze? I have to believe that he is in control and like you said earlier, if God has given control to someone else…He can take it back in a second. (Remember that whole, “No man takes my life from me…” deal?)Satan was not aloud to take Job’s life either, God was not allowing it. Are you saying that the Covenant God had with Abraham (that God would stick with his children, and from them the Messiah would come) Was not apart of Gods thinking for the people that love and obeyed Him before Abraham. It seems to me that it has always been there. He has saved a remnent of his people, is that not what God did with Noah? All these Covenants are for our sake not Gods. God is faithful to his word, but are we? Maybe I’m not understanding you.

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