Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Some Prayers

In the workplace, the subject of religion is generally considered to be taboo. But when a work friend is struggling, is it wrong to comment that we will pray on their behalf? I would submit that if you have insight into their personal faith system it is not wrong. However to assume when you have no understanding is probably not wise.

If like myself you find yourself praying often for others even in circumstances where you may never see the outcome, how do persevere not being privy to the answers to those prayers? For me, it is one of the great mysteries that we can pray at all. Anticipating answers is way above my personal pay grade from the start.

In my study of prayer a central theme emerged to quell my indecision in such matters. The consensus would appear that there are types of prayers that are always answered, and three specific types of prayers that are always answered with "Yes". Thomas Aquinas took this further and described four conditions under which any prayer would be answered affirmatively. In his writing you find these conditions to be:
  1. Concerning Salvation
  2. Personal
  3. Pious
  4. Persevering
While the aspects of such prayers may be contested, the logic appears sound. After all, the nature of faith is personal therefore surely you can meddle successfully only in your own relationship. When you approach in submissive or devout mindset you are thinking of the greater good not personal gain which also seems needful. Anything truly needed is worth asking for consistently. So these all make sense.

When you do a little more research you find a variety of other writers who argue that there are simply types of prayers that are always answered. Salvation, confession, and wisdom seem to be the common agreed to classifications.

As I examine their words, I find the overlap to be significant and gap to be mostly immaterial. In all cases, salvation is the prevalent theme. Those things which aid or guide or influence that salvation and the walking in righteous that must follow salvation, those things also are included.

So how then shall we pray? Without ceasing.

So for what then shall we pray? His Will.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

In The Wilderness

One of my good friends is struggling with something in his life. It is one of those Really Big Scary things that we all hope we never have to come face to face with. As I watch how smoothly he navigates day by day I can't help but question how I would manage when faced with such challenges. In contrast, what I have on my plate is just laughable. In any case, this song often echoes my feelings when it seems I am behind in the race.
The rain falls on the righteous and the wicked
Mine is not to reason why this is
In this I rest in this I find my refuge
That my thoughts and ways are not His
I spend my life on looking up the answers
It’s rare that I can’t find a reason why
But reasons fail at children without mothers
His plan is more than I can know

Have you ever held in doubt
What this life is all about
Have you questioned all these things
that seem important to us
Do you really wanna know
Or are you a little scared
You’re afraid that God is not really
exactly what you’d have Him be
What should I hold to and what should I do
How do I know if anything’s true
I’m somewhere in-between Canaan and Egypt
A place called the wilderness

I’m not one who always trusts their feelings
I don’t believe in what you’d call blind faith
But faith that you can do all that you promised
And you said it all works for good
It’s safe to say I don’t see the big picture
I can’t see the forest for the trees
And if five hundred lives
Were mine to get to know you
All could be spent on just this

God do you really understand
What it’s like to be a man
Have You ever felt the weight of
loving all the things you Hate
Have You struggled have you worried
How can You sympathize
I have spoken too soon
Put my hand over my mouth
I can’t contend with You
Your ways are so much higher
And we pass through the fire that
Christ endured before us
When You were in the wilderness
-- Wilderness by OC Supertones
How are you doing?

Can I help?