Friday, August 28, 2009

Some thoughts on prayer.

These are some of my current thoughts on prayer (Some might find it very radical but this where I currently stand. There is no claim that these are accurate but I am open for disagreements/opinions):

I do not believe prayer changes things. I don't believe in phrases like 'earnest prayer', 'pray hard' etc. I do not believe there is any magic in prayer. I also do not believe that one person's prayer is more effective than the other person. I don't believe in 'prayer chains'. I don't believe in those websites where you can post prayer requests. I don't believe in requesting prayer anonymously. I don't believe in praying for the nation, politicians etc. I don't believe in those toll free numbers (e.g: 1-800-PRAYER) where you can call and ask the phone attender to pray for something. I don't believe in 'unspoken' prayer requests, where you don't actually know what the request is but asked to pray blindly.

I don't believe group prayer has more strength than individual prayer. I don't believe pastor's prayer has more effect than the congregant's prayer. I don't believe in those books about 'How to pray?'. I don't believe in 'prayer warriors'. I don't believe the elders prayer is more effective than the youngsters. I don't believe that the people who pray more are more spiritual. I don't believe in praying in tongues.

I have heard people saying "It's my prayer what brought him/her to Christ". I don't believe it. I have heard people saying "It's because of our earnest fasting and prayer that he/she is healed.". Again, I do not believe that. I don't believe that prayer is more effective when we quote Scriptures. I don't believe that the various problems in life (sickness, finance problems, job loss, sins, relationship problems etc) are due to a lack of good prayer life.

I don't believe in religiously praying before each meal, travel etc. I don't believe that the evening 'family prayer' is what keeps a family from falling apart. I do not believe God answers all prayers. I do not believe that God is obligated to answer our prayers. I do not believe the prayer prayed in a church setting is more effective than the prayer done at home, car or coffee shop.

I don't believe in parents doing a "prayer-show" with the intention to get their kids to be more spiritual like them.

I don't believe in promising people that "I will pray for you" every time when he/she shares some burden with me, unless there is a genuine desire in my heart to do that. I do not believe in praying for forgiveness every time I sin. I don't believe in praying out of guilt.

These are the few things I believe about prayer:

The only reason I pray is because I have a desire to talk to my Heavenly Father.
When I pray, regardless of what I am praying for, my attitude always has to be, "Lord, if it's your will...".
I don't muster up prayer just for the sake of praying.
The most hart-felt prayers are not necessarily found in my mouth, rather they are in my heart.
I pray enthusiastically when the Lord himself puts a desire in my heart to pray.
I believe in the sovereignty of God and believe that He is always in control regardless of whether people pray or not.
Prayer (talking to God), in my mind, has to be a natural result of being in a relationship with Him.
When it comes to prayer (or anything else), motivation behind it matters the most.
If you believe in His unconditional love and awesome grace, you will find yourself thanking Him more, than asking Him to do things.

Lastly and more importantly,

Regardless of whether my prayer was answered the way I want it or not, I am still at peace and in total contentment because I know the fact that my Father is in total control of my life and there is nothing which can separate me from His love.

19 comments:

Rich said...

Bino,

The coin of prayer you've tossed into the air allows us to see both sides in your likes and dislikes, I enjoyed it muchly Bro-thanks!

Jamie said...

I agree with so much of what you say here, Bino. My friend, Tommy, describes prayer as us accepting with words what the cross already accomplished for us. Not us twisting God's arm...just us seeing what the cross provided and lining our thinking up with that truth.

Buuuuut, I do pray in tongues. On that one, I'll just have to pray for you. LOL :)

I love you, my brother.

Rich said...

Jamie,

Who is "Tommy"?

LovedMuch.com said...

Tongues has been a part of my prayer life for nearly 30 years now. I used to pray in tongues to "press in" or "pull down strongholds" etc. I no longer find myself needing to do much of that. I don't mind tongues but I'm mostly letting go of that and so many other things that were just religious trappings. If Father wants me to pray in tongues then I will delightfully respond to his nudge when that comes. But I really like your perspective, Bino and I very much agree. I had no idea what being 'led of the Spirit' was until recently when I began to discover what an orphan I was all these years, not living loved. When we are wrapped up in the reality of His grace and love, there's little concern for a kind of prayer that seeks to get God's attention. There is zero urgency or striving or stressing necessary when you understand the Cross, the reality of being IN HIM, and the intent of His heart for us. We truly have our being in Him. Seems to me it's a matter of trust. --Toby

The Lewis Family said...

Golly, I wish I could remember who or what book it was I read where they were sharing some amazing revival that happened. . . The author said that the revival didn't happen because people prayed, rather people were led to pray because God put it on their hearts to ask.

I have thought about much of what you shared and I have wrestled with the meaning of prayer since my late teens. I still don't know all the answers, but I think I have to agree with Jamie's comment. Lining up with the plumb line. I just don't know everything. I know, hard to believe eh. . . :) I guess I am just gonna have to trust Jesus to let me know.

Rich said...

If you haven't had a chance to listen to this pod cast, you might find it very interesting re: your topic here Bino!

http://freebelievers.com/podcast-info/midweek-free-falling

It's Darin Hufford sharing on stuff, prayer being one of them.

Ike said...

Brother Bino...how about you forget the prayer and just give a couple bucks? Now that would help change some things!!! Maybe my buddy "Joel" will kick in?

http://bloodtippedears.blogspot.com/2008/07/prayer-and-help-for-my-mom-carol.html

Cia W said...

Hey, this message brought me out of my 'feed reader' to comment! I don't agree with the Calvinist 'sovereignty - God is in control of all things at all times' argument. I like some of Andrew Wommack's teaching on that topic.

I know there have been times when the Holy Spirit has put it on my heart to pray for someone, and I think it does make a difference. I don't believe He is 'obligated' to answer our prayers, but that doesn't mean don't pray at all.

He tells us that the plans He has for us are good; but the plans the 'ruler of this world' has for us are not good. Jesus prayed for Peter when He knew that the devil had a desire to sift him like wheat. If Jesus prayed that the devil's plans be thwarted, then I will too. :-)

Bino M. said...

Cia -

I don't believe He is 'obligated' to answer our prayers, but that doesn't mean don't pray at all.

I don't think I ever said "don't pray at all".

Bino M. said...

Rich - Thank you for that link. I just finished listening to the pod cast. I could resonate a lot of things they talked. :)

ViolableWings said...

great thoughts Bino, I have wrestled with prayer alot, especially the prayer in spirit thing having been raised in the AG church. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I find myself in agreement with you. Ron

ViolableWings said...

Just as an after though, since my wife took me wrong for saying that I agree with you it stands to reason others would too, lol. I agree with what you said because of the word "prayer" as christians see it and most aggressively use it. Its to me like the word church, or religion. I don't like what they have become and can no longer relate to them, and indeed they taste bitter on my tongue. I do believe in talking to God, thinking to God, and feeling God speak to my heart.
Again, thanks for sharing this Bino, I don't comment much but my wife and I read often :-)

Rich said...

Bino,

See what ya started here you free- radical loving man! :)

I remember Darin Hufford putting it like this, for conversation sake we'll address it toward "prayer"...more often than not it is something that has been fixed in stone, then much of so called christianity is that way as well, but I digress :)..often its this way...THIS IS PRAYER..vs, "What is prayer to you?"

One size doesn't fit all, there is a huge amount of room to do just what you have done here Bro, and I'm proud of ya, big time.

Jamie said...

Dear Rich, I'm sorry, I just saw your comment. Tommy is my spiritual brother, just like y'all. He is a prophet, an apostle, in the true sense of those words. Let me tell you a story: One day I was agonizing over posting on a vision the Lord had given me. So, I'm a prophet, too, OK? It's OK if you don't believe. :) Anyway, when I got to work I expected to see Tommy there waiting for me...he is that in-tune with my spirit. I even told my husband I expected to see Tommy! I was that certain. In less than an hour, Ryan's phone rang. It was Tommy FOR ME! He said, "What's up? I know something is going on with you so what is it?" THAT is God. Tommy and I are tuned to the same spiritual frequency if you can understand that. It's uncanny. It is a God thing.

You know, Rich. Haven't you ever been awakened to pray for someone only to find out later that they REALLY were in need of your prayers on their behalf? That happens to me in the middle of the night about you guys. And I might get an EMAIL, right then! In the middle of the night.

Sorry so wordy.

God is JUST SO COOL!!!! :)

willohroots said...

"pray without ceasing" is a life-style. It means that you include God in your thoughts, always.

Asking in prayer and love to those of you who do or have prayed in "tongues", how do you deal with ; 1 Corinthians 14:14
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful.
I mean no offence, but does that chapter of Paul's epistle hold a different meaning for you? I feel my mind is at it's most fruitful in prayer. Thank you Jesus.

Aida said...

Bino, my brother, as usual you’ve opened up a can of worms.

Great post and I agree with most of it. I’m finding myself going through the process of prayer less and less and when I do, it seems forced. I’ve come to believe that God and I are one and he knows my thoughts so we talk together through my thoughts. I believe he’s always with me so I don’t have to wait for a certain time to pray but as I process ideas and situations in my thoughts, he’s right there interjecting his thoughts and re-focusing mine.

As for praying in tongues, I do believe in praying in tongues but praying in tongues is not an end in itself. For years, I’ve believed that the purpose of praying in tongues was to connect with God’s heart and once we’ve connected with his heart, there’s no longer any need to pray in tongues. As I’ve come to know God more fully, I’ve pretty much stopped praying in tongues. I may occasionally do it if I feel the urge but those times are now far and few between.

Like you, I don’t believe prayer changes things. I said that once in a group of believers and got corrected. I believe God changes things and as we pray, we connect with his heart in the matter. When we believe that it’s up to us to pray or things won’t change, then we open ourselves up to a performance based life. Then, we’re always left wondering if we prayed enough or did we pray right. I don’t believe God would ever put the well-being of others in our very fallible hands.

Like you’ve my understanding of prayer has changed quite a bit but I’m still learning and open to understanding so thanks for this post.

Bino M. said...

Aida -


I’ve come to believe that God and I are one and he knows my thoughts so we talk together through my thoughts. I believe he’s always with me so I don’t have to wait for a certain time to pray but as I process ideas and situations in my thoughts, he’s right there interjecting his thoughts


I couldn't have said it that well.

Thank you!

Jamie said...

Hi, Willohroots,

I guess it's a matter of being led by the Spirit instead of your soul or mind. Certainly, my mind is not absent but it chooses to give control to the Spirit. (My mind has a tendency to put God in the box of what it understands.) It's like any spiritual gift. For example: I don't prophecy. God speaks through me. I just vocalize it. I pray in the Spirit when I yield to what the Spirit wants to say. Who am I to argue? :)

I do think Paul was specifically referring to praying or speaking in tongues in a corporate setting when it doesn't edify the Body, not your private prayer language.

Romans 8:26-27:

26In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;

27and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Great question.

Grace & peace.

Joel B. said...

Hey everyone! I'm a month late but hopefully not a prayer short! LOL :) I liked this post right from the start, and I like the comments that have gone along with it. It's like the church working things out together. Bino, you didn't hold back on sharing what you believe and don't believe, and that's so cool!

I'm still working out a lot of this stuff. As one who has a lot of "alone time," out on the road for my job, I find myself praying a lot. However, I would have to define "praying." It's more of a conversation of my heart with God rather than a ritual or "must" or "should," as I'm sure many would agree with here.

I also sometimes see it as a "when I am weak then I am strong" thing. In my human vulnerability, I simply bring it all to Him in the form of a heart-to-heart (whether silently or out loud). I also pray about things going on in my life and in the lives of people I know. I don't know if things will change or not. I don't know if God will answer those specific prayers or not, or if I'll get an answer or not. But often my heart is put at ease through prayer.

I do also pray in tongues. Like others have said, it's not a ritual but it's something I'm 'led' to do. Sometimes I'm struggling in my words and it just rolls into tongues. Or sometimes out of the blue I just start. I never begin with the intention of praying in tongues; it just happens, so to speak.

At times I pray for my family. I pray for my friends. Like you said about telling people that you'll pray for them when they request it, I don't say I will unless I know I'm really going to pray for them. :) And usually I do.

I'll tell the truth. For a while in life, 'religion' got in the way of my prayer life. What I mean is, I was so turned off by what 'religion' had done with this thing called prayer that I didn't want to have much to do with it. But over time, I've seen it become much more of a natural thing that I really like and that is a big part of my daily life.

Anyway, that's just where I'm at right now, and it's been very cool to read this post and the comments along with it.