Friday, October 21, 2011

Why Pray?

I've been doing some spiritual reflection recently, which I think is important for spiritual growth.  It really started when I was asking some friends how you're supposed to "let go, let God".  In other words, how do you get it into your head that you're not actually in control of things, no matter how much you want to control (AND I DO).  For instance, now that we're entering cold and flu season, I find I have a major rise in my anxiety because I'm always worried about one or all of us getting sick.  I know, realistically, that we'll get through it, but it still stresses me out in a major way.  I also know that there are steps we can take to reduce the possibility of getting sick, but ultimately we can't absolutely prevent it, short of taking drastic measures like not ever having contact with another human.

Soon after having this discussion, I began reading a blog about a woman who lost twin boys at 18 weeks pregnant, then got pregnant with sextuplets that she delivered at 22w6d.  Four of the six died and she blogs about the surviving two.  She's actually now pregnant again with a singleton.  She and her husband have a tremendous faith in God and it's really made me think a lot about God's will.  For some reason, it was His will that they would lose six children and they're accepting of that.

There's this odd distinction between God's will, though, and free will.  In the past, I've always believed that we have free will, but God just knows what choice we're going to make.  I still think that's true to an extent.  But I've also been thinking about the point of this blog post.  If God's will is going to happen, then why pray?  Why express our desires to God if He's going to make the decision anyway?  Can a human actually influence God's will?  Or is prayer just a comfort to the person who is praying, feeling like they have some power in this world?

In this case, when I'm talking about prayer, I mean prayer asking for something.  Asking for someone to get healthy.  Asking for our safety.  Asking for something specific to happen.

I don't think there's a definite answer to any of these questions, at least not for me, not yet.  But they are thoughts that I've been grappling with and I wanted to write about, hoping to gain clarity.  I haven't yet, but I'm working on it :)


Cassie said...

This is such a thought-provoking post, and something that I really hope to be able to talk to you about in person one day. My thoughts on this are way too extensive for a comment or an e-mail! :)

The short version is this: I don't know the answers to these questions either. I believe that God's will will be done, but I also believe that prayer is very powerful (which we've discussed, and I know you believe this too).

dtaylor said...

Prayer is just one part of our relationship with God. It's meant to be a discussion. Imagine going through the day without speaking to your husband or your daughter. Because you have a relationship, you speak to each other. That's how our relationship with God is supposed to be. Prayer is not just asking for things, it's thanking God for what he's done, asking for forgiveness of sins, and then expressing our needs to Him. The Bible says in John 14:13 "And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father." This doesn't mean we can ask for a new car and he'll give it to us. First, it has to be asked in His name and as long as it brings Glory to God. This is where God's will comes in. Our will has to be God's will. My church just recently went through a series about the difference between our own will and God's will. We have to think and pray in accordance to God's will, not our own. This isn't an easy thing to do and we have to continuously be in God's word and in prayer to figure out what God's will is for our life. Our church has a website with all of the sermons, so if you have any more questions or want the website, feel free to email me :)