Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why Pray For Others?

Most people of religious faith do it regularly. They want their loved ones to be protected, so they pray for them. Some people pray for the healing of others. They say prayer is the most powerful thing you can do; the best gift you can give. My question is: why pray for others when God is much more powerful than mere humans? This is not a lack of faith on my end but another and theory about praying for other’s well-being.

Picture it: God is listening to you. What are you going to ask Him? What kind of conversation would you really have with God Himself? Do we have a lack of faith when we pray to God to heal another person? Do we think that God cannot handle this task on His own without our prayers? Or is it just a reassurance that we’ve got our prayers in so let’s “hope” for the best?

Don’t get me wrong—I firmly believe in prayer, but the other day I was sitting down thinking: why are we praying for others when God is in control? Is it because it’s a selfless act and we want to send positive energy to them? Then pray and send love to people if you wish. Why pray for something that God has already decided? It has already been done. Here: even if we pray for someone to get better while they’re lying in the hospital dying---if God chooses to take them, then we’re angry at God and usually blurt out something like, “God hasn’t answered our prayers. Why? Why? Why?”

There’s a bigger picture here. There’s truth and faith. Truth is usually based on scientific evidence and facts. Faith is based upon one’s belief without a factual basis. You can also say that someone’s faith is so great that it’s “truth” for them. Some have seen God themselves and have their own evidence, whether no one else witnessed this or not. Some have their own reasons why their “truths” are so “factual”. Faith can be confused with truth or compared to truth---but faith is faith when you boil it down and facts are facts when the water evaporates and all you have is salt.

Is it meaningless to pray for another person’s health? Of course not. With good intentions, positive vibes can be sent through prayer. I do believe that much. But, I don’t believe that just because you have prayed for someone’s well-being, doesn’t mean that they’ll get better----God is in full control. God has the ability to give and take away lives.

It’s no big deal.

Our lives are meaningless: simple-minded heavily bogged down emotionally and physically excruciating shells walking the planet. Our souls are weightless and our bodies are heavy, with physical weight and through emotional pain as well. When we leave our shells, we are completely weightless of all the things that have burdened us down with exhaustion. Just being outside of your body can be considered “heavenly”. Your forearm weighs a ton compared to the 5th dimension; the spiritual world. Even if we’re the healthiest of all people on the planet, we’re in constant pain – we’re so immune to it, that we have no inkling how heavy our little hand is. Just to lift up your arm is an extreme effort, compared to what it's like in the the spiritual world. Imagine that times 10 + having no emotional baggage stemming back from childhood way into your adulthood. Can you even imagine it?

I don’t want to get all “Shirley MacLainish” on you, but those of you who have had the wonderful experience of astral traveling know what I’m speaking about. I’ve had this happen to me twice: once while sleeping and once through heavily meditating. First thought: “I don’t have to breathe!” I know that sounds totally absurd, but you don’t have any involuntary work to do on the other side---which is another great task our body takes on that we’re so immune to, which we don’t even notice.

So in the “big scheme” of things: God sees the bigger picture. If you’re praying sincerely, make it worth it. Boldly ask God to help you and talk to Him as you would a friend. Asking to better someone’s health is great---but why not send positive vibes their way whether they’re going to survive or not? Either way, they’ll get the message.

…as our souls live on.


Jess said...


Jess said...

But back to what I was going to say...I am a full believer that prayer is more of a symbolic thing than something that changes life's course. I believe it is a true moment where, as a human, you take a moment to not act like a human (selfish) for one moment. I also believe prayer "works", but more so in the sense that we are more open (in mind an spirit) to actually see it working. (though I believe it is working all the time, we just don't have our spiritual eyes on like we do when we have prayed for something or are in prayer)

Grant said...

I'll continue to pray for you and your salvation, by which I mean I'm offering a sacrifice of virgin chipmunks to Lucifer in the hopes that really you turn out to be a hot Asian schoolgirl who wants to get anal from an American redneck. Woot!

~Deb said...

Jess: "Spiritual eyes"---I like that. You're right, it is more symbolic, however it's important that our prayers get answered in most cases. If not, the seed of doubt gets planted. If you pray a million times for something that doesn't get answered, do you just chuck it up to, "well it's not meant to be" or do doubt that God heard your prayer?

Grant: The nurse with the med cart is walking toward you. Go to her. Get me a cup too!

Enemy of the Republic said...

I've thought that myself: why pray as God already has it fixed. But I think it goes like this:

1. We pray to commune with God who delights in us.

2. Our prayers do change things. Not all is fixed--there are some things that have been determined and some that can be altered. Think about near accidents, people who are suddenly saved from death, those who recover from a deathly illness. God may hear the prayers and change destiny because it gets more people to trust in him.

3. Sometimes prayer isn't about getting a result for someone else, even when you pray for someone. Sometimes it is a way to soften your own heart and consider others before yourself. Before Jesus was betrayed, he prayed for his disciples to his father--sure, they needed prayer, but Jesus chose the beginning of the Passion to think of his flock. So prayer shows love and it is something we need to cultivate in ourselves--a toughie!

The Mad Hoosier said...

Prayer is simply a conversation with God. Our Father adores us and loves to "speak" with us as much as possible...even if we can't hear Him.

When we pray for others, it confirms to God how kind and considerate we are. It's what much of the New Testament is about, being kind and considerate. Of course He already knows our heart, but it's good for us to verbalize it as well.

Also, I think there is most certainly a purpose down here on Earth. Our lives are not meaningless, they shouldn't be to you, and they are not at all to our Father. He wouldn't send us on this painful journey if there was no purpose to it.

Many times we don't know the meaning of us being down here, but that's because we often can't tap into that 5th Sense, as you called it, to tell us what we're supposed to learn while we're on this short trip on Earth.

~Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~Deb said...

Enemy: I have no words other than: I absolutely loved all 3 of your points!
My post was to question more about those who say, “Why why why God? Why didn’t you answer my prayer” type of doubting when prayer hasn’t come through for them. And you come in and put that so eloquently. Thank you!

The Mad Hoosier: I wasn’t implying our lives here working for God and others were meaningless, more so of what happens either way. Life or death. Let me explain it this way: whether or not your loved one who is sick in bed already confirmed he or she is dying, dies tomorrow----it is God’s plan. The process of praying for them to get well can be questioned as “meaningless”, because regardless, it has already been done; God determines the results. I hope that makes better sense. But like you said, there is certainly a purpose here which we cannot comprehend as humans and have to sift through life in our pain, misery, disappointments, as well as our temporary happiness and glee.

It’s a funny life, isn’t it?

Enemy of the Republic said...

I believe God answers prayer, but he doesn't take orders. Some of our prayers resemble what we want on a hoagie sandwich.

One verse that always helps me is Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well. I like that verse because if we are attuned to God, he will be attuned to us, and it will reflect how we pray and the results it renders. Seeking the kingdom is not an easy thing, as it dwells in us and we bury it so deeply with all our garbage.

~Deb said...

Enemy: Even little changes, (heh- your reference to a hoagie sandwich) are little miracles to me; proof that God said, "Ok, voila----there ya go!" But I absolutely agree with you about having the Kingdom of God being difficult to absorb since we are drenched with the overload of reality here on earth; worldly things which distracts us greatly.

If I don't respond to this post or blog within a day or so, it means my PC crashed. I'm going to be without a computer for a few days probably, if that does happen today and will be back on shortly. Tip: NEVER buy a Sony Vaio! This thing crashed on me the 2nd week I had it. Now it's year 2 and I have had nothing but problems with it. Switching to a Mac...Bear with me!

SJ said...

Well I don't pray for others :D

Leesa said...

For me, prayer is about me being open to God. It is more of a conversation with God than some sort of negotiation or wish list.

And prayer helps us out, not God. Being more open to God helps us with our lives, traveling Shirley MacLainish or otherwise.

kathi said...

First I believe that we benefit as much if not more by praying for others than those we're praying for. Second, we're instructed in the Word to pray for one another, and that's reason enough for me. Third, the word says that by praying, we're releasing angels to do our bidding, and the more we join in prayer with, the more angels are sent out. True, God's will is done, but His remember the parable about the woman who kept knocking until the door was answered and she was fed (how does that parable go? Where is my Concordance?), it's telling us when first we're not answered to keep petitioning. don't know. I know faith can move mountians, I've seen them moved in my life, so I know that I know that I know.

What was the question?

~Dawn said...

For me there are two reasons for prayer
1. It a way for me to release the stress, worry or hope to a more powerful being.
2. Romans 8:25-27
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Doom said...

I think I definitely like you. You use enough words to explain and keep hidden. Oh, posh, I am blind. But, I still like what I see.

Anyway... Kisses and such. And, she needn't be jealous.

~Deb said...

SJ: You don’t pray for me on a daily basis, SJ??? ^pokes you^

Leesa: If only prayer helped us out, then where does God fit in? So, God doesn’t help us with our prayers? Is that what you’re saying? I’m confused. (As always, what else is new, right?)

Kathi: I love that: releasing angels. I do believe that when you pray for someone, angels or (whatever you believe) send your messages out. It’s a beautiful concept. Thanks, Kath!

Dawn: Weird that you brought that up---about not knowing what to pray for but the Spirit knows… I recently found that out by simply meditating. I had NO clue what to pray for because I didn’t want to be redundant with my prayers where God Himself would just fall asleep! So I sat and meditated and the Spirit led me into prayer after some time. Thanks for bringing that up!

Doom: Well, the feeling is mutual my friend. I am in no way hidden, in my opinion. If anything, I’m totally ~out there~ venting to the world. What do you mean-- “she needn’t be jealous”? Who? I’m lost.

Ricardo said...

Pray for me Shirley. Pray for me. gonna need it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb,

I have been reading your blog now for sometime and I must say that it brightens my day. I have read your post on Praying for Others several times now. I have wanted to comment but for some reason I just haven't. I have never thought of myself as being good at writing about Bibical things. However, today I decided that I would.

Let me start by saying that I do think we should pray one for another. Like you, I believe that God is in full control. He already has things mapped out so to speak. However, from my Southern Baptist upbringing, I remember the story of King Hezekiah. King Hezekiah got very sick and one day actually saw God writing on the wall. The writing said for King Hezekiah to set his house in order because he was going to die. King Hezekiah began to pray and beg God to spare his life. Sooo, God extended his life for 15 years. On another occasion, my own sister was involved in a car accident which almost took her life. She lay unconscious for almost two weeks. Doctors told my mom and dad that she probably would not live and if she did, she would not have good use of her mind and body because of her severe head injury. Momma and daddy knew what prayer could do. They gathered our church family and all our friends and began to pray for God to touch my sister. Well, that was 33 years ago. She now has a doctorate in Education and retired two years ago as a principal after 31 years in education. Would God have healed my sister without the prayers of others? I don't know. What I do know is that I sure felt better about her knowing that people all around were praying for God's miraculous touch.
Lastly, I believe that God wants us to talk to him. We are to come boldly before God and ask things of him. He wants us to talk to him. He made us to talk to Him, Praise Him, and glorify Him. In return, I believe that there are blessings galore for us. However, many are stored up never to be bestowed on people because we just wouldn't ask God for them. Why should we pray for others? It's simple to my little brain. Prayers for other people or for ourselves touch the very heart of our God. His mind can be changed sometimes. He knows what is best for us. By the way, I just whispered a little prayer for you. My heart is far from being saintly, but it gives me great joy to pray for people. I covet your prayers for my life.

In Christ's love

Art said...

It's often said that prayer changes things. But what and exactly how? Do we really think that by praying we will change God's mind about this or that? Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe in the power of prayer. I just believe that prayer's main purpose and greatest power lies in its ability to change US...

~Deb said...

Hey guys! Sorry I haven’t been blogging or visiting as much, it’s been chaotic here + still having computer issues as well. Bear with me!

Ricardo: Always.

Anonymous: Wow, that was really touching. Thank you so much for sharing all you did with me. Even though I question a lot of things, I do have faith that God can change circumstances and situations according to His will. I do. But sometimes that little seed of doubt slips in where you have to ask if prayers are going to be answered---regardless of what the “big plan” was to begin with. (Does that make any sense whatsoever?)

Thank you for your prayer. :o) The best gift you can possibly give to me! In return, I send you love, peace, happiness, health and I am doing that all through prayer for you.

God bless, and thank you so much for finally commenting!

Art: Oooh. That’s an interesting take on it. “To change us”…
I like it!!!

D said...

“I don’t believe that just because you have prayed for someone’s well-being, doesn’t mean that they’ll get better----God is in full control.”

The notion that ‘God is in full control’ has led multitudes to blame Him for every negative incident that is happening in their lives or around them. Let’s take a popular example – hurricanes. I’ve heard preaching along the lines that hurricanes are ‘judgments’ from God. If that thinking is scripturally true, Jesus was defying His Father’s “will” when He calmed the storm (Mark 4:35-41).

Speaking of sickness…

1. There is no scriptural evidence backing the misleading religious notion that sickness is from God.

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Acts 10:38 - how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.
2. But, the Good News is that Jesus Christ took care of the enemy at the cross. (Colossians 2:15).

3. What left is our un-renewed mind, which must be renewed to the new-creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) reality. The new-creation in Christ Jesus says, “By His stripes I was healed.” (1 Peter 2:24). The negative doctor’s report might be a fact, but for the person who is in Christ, there is a higher truth.
A person who is in Jesus has authority over sickness or any negative circumstances, not because s/he is a ‘prayer warrior’ or because s/he possesses ‘great faith’. His/her great faith is in the child-like trust in the unconditional Love of Father God. The solution for sickness has been taken care of on Jesus’ body (1 Peter 2:24, Matthew 8:17). All we have to do is know that truth and receive it.

4. Jesus Himself gave us authority to heal the sick.

Mark 16:15-18 - And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

5. James 5:14-15 - Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

When we pray, instead of focusing on our effort, bank on the healing power of Jesus. His healing power will flow through a believing/willing vessel.

Doom said...

Oh, about the kisses. Sometimes I say embarrassing things, or say things some think are inappropriate, so I try to be careful. She being your wife, of course.

Oh, never mind. I live in a small, tight, cold world sometimes, with great fears. I shouldn't be so but I am not sure how to change that. I have open thoughts and a free tongue with Catholic propriety, it's just a weird mix.