Seeking help on prayer topic

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Ron Cook | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Oct 4 2010 1:18 PM

Recently someone asked me if it was appropriate to pray for God to wreck someone's life so that they would be humbled to a point of crying out to Him.  After multiple search attempts I am having trouble locating a resource in my library that addresses this question.  I have Platinum with a number of other resources (mostly commentaries).  I'm not looking for a theological debate but simply a resource that addresses the question.  Any ideas?

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 4 2010 2:32 PM

Um. 

No.

If you're looking for a monumental study on prayer you might investigate 

An Exposition on Prayer in the Bible (5 Vols.)

http://www.logos.com/ebooks/details/EXPPRAYROSSCUP

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 4 2010 3:19 PM

The only thing I can think of searching for would be "imprecatory prayer" (which is praying for bad things to happen to your enemies). But that's got a different motive; it's for retribution, not to drive someone toward God. So it wouldn't apply to the kind of prayer that person is asking about. I'm sorry I don't even know what to look for.

I would suggest that praying for someone to turn to God is one thing, but let God determine what steps he needs to do to bring someone to that point. Praying that he should wreck someone's life in order to bring them to that point seems pretty presumptuous to me. God has different ways with different people. As Richard Baxter wrote in his autobiography, in the narrative of his own conversion, "God breaketh not all men's hearts alike."

Nonetheless, whatever you pray for, even if it's inappropriate, if God doesn't want to do it, he won't. But he's also a patient teacher and understands our frailties. So if the inquirer wants to try asking God about how he should pray for that person, and learn about that from God, that's where I'd direct him or her.

I believe the Catholics have a theology of suffering that might be relevant here. I have a Catholic friend visiting me right now and I can ask her about this. She's told me that in their theology, God brings suffering in order to bless a person in the long run. So bringing them to humility and repentance through suffering would seem to be included in that. And Catholics do pray for this sort of thing, I think (perhaps not as explicilty as "wreck so-and-so's life to bring him to You" though). So she might be able to recommend some resource that would address this question. I'll ask her later when I see her again, if I think of it.

Posts 116
Chris Thompson | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 4 2010 6:17 PM

You might try researching choice...Is it really freedom to choose if God controls/orchestrates one's life to that extreme? Surely one of the commentatotrs has investigated that angle.

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 4 2010 6:26 PM

Manasseh.  God carted him off into captivity after he (in a manner of speaking) single handedly brought down his kingdom.  But he humbled himself greatly, God heard his prayer, and he was restored as king and went back and made things right.  But--I don't know of anybody praying that that would happen.  However, God said that captivity WOULD happen so that people would know he was God and return to him.  And the Judges: constant, vicious cycle of rebellion, captivity, crying out to God, being saved, and back to rebellion.

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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Pam Larson | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 4 2010 7:13 PM

I did a search on "prayer for humbling" and found this in the Pulpit Commentary on Isaiah 64:1:

Prayer for humbling manifestations of God. "Vers. 1–3 are parallel to ch. 63:15, but grander and bolder. There the prophet, in the name of the Church, petitioned that Jehovah would look down on the misery of his people. Here a look is felt to be insufficient, so widely yawns the gulf between Israel and his God. A revelation on the largest possible scale is necessary to smite down unbelief and annihilate opposition; God himself must appear" (Naegelsbach). The prayer is for a Divine manifestation suited to the circumstances and necessities of God’s people as truly as the fire-manifestation of Sinai had been. The prophet seems to think that some overwhelming manifestation of God would silence the unbelievers, and put the hinderers out of the way, as nothing else could. There is always a tendency to trust in the extraordinary rather than in the ordinary methods of Divine working. We think men will repent, if only some one would rise from the dead and witness of eternal things to them; and God’s answer in every age is, "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead."

I. Such prayer often shows that we fail to notice God’s working in quieter ways. Men do not pray for "lightning" who duly recognize what the "light" is doing. Yet the silent forces are the mighty ones. Atmosphere does more than wind; dew does more than storms; moisture does more than rains. God works his best work silently, quietly. We think big things must make a big noise. It is true of our everyday lives; the things that make our happiness and success are not prominent things that happen occasionally, but the ten thousand little things that pass almost unheeded, and that seem to us too small to hold God. It is true of our spiritual life. Living in the warmth of the smile of God does more for us than any special times of manifestation. It is true of the kingdom of God in the world. It cometh on secretly, no man knoweth how.

II. Such prayer sometimes shows that we want God to work by judgments rather than by mercies. It means, "Appear, O Lord, to overthrow our adversaries." That, indeed, seems to be the tone of the prophet’s prayer in the text. He at least wants the hinderers and enemies forcibly persuaded, if, indeed, he does not pray for them to be taken out of the way. But it is never consistent with the Christian spirit to take prayers to God for the judgment of anybody. That is not the way in which to pray for hinderers, slanderers, or enemies. We are properly taught to pray that God would "baffle their designs and turn their hearts." If we rightly felt God’s presence with us now, we should not want to ask for any coming of his from heaven.—R. T.

Posts 116
Chris Thompson | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 4 2010 7:42 PM

Pam Larson:
I did a search on "prayer for humbling" and found this in the Pulpit Commentary

                                      Excellent comment...Maybe even more excellent because I agree. Big Smile

Posts 110
Ron Cook | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Oct 4 2010 8:01 PM

Thanks for the quick replies everyone. You've given me several things to dig into.  I hadn't thought of searching "prayer for humbling."  That was a great idea.  Thomas that collection looks awesome.  Now if only I could find an extra $250 laying around!  

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 12:46 AM

Ron Cook:
Recently someone asked me if it was appropriate to pray for God to wreck someone's life so that they would be humbled to a point of crying out to Him.

It seems to me that one has to start one step back - is God ever the initiator of evil (suffering)? Or does God simply make good come out of the evil (suffering) that is in the world because of its fallen nature? So I'd do a search on theodicy.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 483
Gary Butner, Th.D. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 8:51 AM

You might search on "pray a hedge." I found four results in 4 articles in Logos.

Posts 483
Gary Butner, Th.D. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 8:52 AM

That should have been results.

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 9:12 AM

Gary Butner:

That should have been results.

Actually Gary you have 10 hours from the time you submit a post to edit it.  

Just click the MORE button and choose EDIT.

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

Posts 483
Gary Butner, Th.D. | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 9:27 AM

Thanks Thomas. Unfortunately, I did not see a delete button for the second  post.

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TCBlack | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 9:55 AM

There is one Gary, but don't worry about it.  I didn't check before I hit reply, but I think you have to go into EDIT and look for a checkbox.  

 

Hmm Sarcasm is my love language. Obviously I love you. 

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 12:14 PM

I asked my Catholic friend about this and her answer was very wise. She said we could pray that God would thwart someone's evil plans, but not that he would wreck their lives. That, she said, would not be charitable.

Posts 1374
nicky crane | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 3:09 PM

MJ. Smith:
is God ever the initiator of evil (suffering)?

I hesitate to disagree with MJ, but she can take it!

Isaiah 45.7      I make light and create darkness,

I make blessings and create disasters.

I, the LORD, do all these things.

 I offended our vicar once with this verse:  "If that's true, it messes up my theory!"  I don't find it easy myself, but it's in the Book.  It's the only verse I know that says this.  I think the prophets probably say that God brings suffering on people to bring them to  himself.  e.g. Hosea and Gomer.  

I do pray for God to bless members of another faith among whom I work with a consciousness of their own emptiness and a hunger for what's lacking, what only Christ can give.  I think I have prayed that God would bring someone to the end of himself.  I agree, I don't normally instruct God how to answer my prayers.  As a child I used to pray for war, because I thought war was exciting.  Thank God his answer to that prayer was NO!  He's since given me all the excitement I can cope with, and more.  When the refugees came to us, traumatised, and later took me back with them to their burned out homes, and I found that those who had stayed in the country were even more traumatised, I experienced more than I wanted of the pain of war.    When we heard that the army was withdrawing, I remember praying that they would not have time to commit more massacres before leaving.  That prayer turned out to be prophetic.  I later heard that in some areas there had been plans to exterminate all the remaining local population within the next few days.

Earlier, when we had neither email nor phone contact with England, about 2 weeks after a crisis I would often get a letter from one or other of my prayer partners saying how they had been praying for me, not knowing of the crisis, but in exactly the way we needed their prayers.

 

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 5 2010 11:37 PM

nicky crane:

MJ. Smith:
is God ever the initiator of evil (suffering)?

I hesitate to disagree with MJ, but she can take it!

Big Smile

Ah, but if you read carefully, I didn't take a position - I stated that one had to answer that question first. I will admit, however, to having taken a class on theodicy from one of the better known scholars in the area. However, before I would have attempted to answer the implied question of the original poster, I personally would look into my Logos resources (plus what I wish was in Logos rather than on my shelves) for hubris and prayer. I suspect my prayer would be more along the line of "God, You know best what is needed to bring nnnn to You. Please do so and use me as You need to." It sounds like we might be surprisingly close on the issue.

 

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 116
Chris Thompson | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Oct 7 2010 10:05 AM

Ron Cook:
I'm not looking for a theological debate but simply a resource that addresses the question.  Any ideas?

 

I tried to let this thread die...but I can't. I feel compelled to mention Christ's instruction and example of "How To Pray" in Matthew, Chapter 6.

By the way...The Bible is a resource that is included in Logos. Big Smile

Christ tells us:

1) God already knows our needs. (and the needs of others.)   Matt 6:8

2) We should be content in asking that God's will be done.   Matt 6:10

3) If...IF...we pray first for the Kingdom of God for ourselves and for others, We will not have to concern ourselves with petty, presumptious Prayers. All the things we might have been tempted to pray for will pale by comparison and besides, we are assured that those things that are the will of God will be added as a result. Think of the freedom we can have, not having to instruct God on how best to bring His children home. Matt 6:32-33

Posts 77
K.J. | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2010 2:14 PM

 

Abi Gail:
Think of the freedom we can have, not having to instruct God on how best to bring His children home. Matt 6:32-33

 

 

                                                                                          Well Said  >>> Thanks.

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