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.

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