Prayer. Changing the mind of God!
Phil Spohn   -  

Prayer.  Changing the mind of God!

The power of prayer…Answered prayers, or as Garth Brooks crooned, “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers”.

This past Sunday in our Gospel lesson, the disciples ask Jesus to pray.  Luke 11:1-13.  Jesus responds with a metaphor.  Prayer is like someone who Asks, Seeks, or Knocks.  Remember those classic verses?

Luke 11:9-10 (NRSV)
“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.  For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

When I first arrived at Christ Lutheran, some members of my Thursday Bible Study class wanted me to include in each Sunday worship service, a segment called, “Answered Prayers”.  I refused.  I don’t believe God works that way.  Sometimes people pray for healing and the person lives, others times, large groups of people pray to end violence, injustice, or heal a child…and all fail.  Was God persuaded to heal this person, but not that child?  Did I have better “Prayer People” in my group?  Were we able to persuade God to see things our way?  Can we change the mind of God through our prayers?  Is that what it means to “Ask and it will be given to you?”

I don’t believe prayer works that way.  The best prayers are prayers in which one is seeking, knocking, searching, listening, and asking….Jesus’ metaphor speaks to the condition of the heart.  A searching, asking, knocking heart is a “yearning heart”, a “receptive heart”, a heart desiring something.  Initiative is vitally important for the one praying.  As the Buddhists say, “When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears.”  The posture of seeking, searching, knocking and asking, is the posture of the student, ready to receive.  A student with a receptive heart will receive the Holy Spirit.  God will not disappoint.

Don’t take literally, Ask and it will be given unto you…Asking is a condition of receptivity that is essential to the spiritual life.

 

When I pray, I offer words of thanks.  When we pray in church, we pray that we, those attending worship, would know our responsibility to be God’s hands, or Christ’s presence in the world.  We don’t ask for God to fix what we can fix.  We don’t pray for God to end violence, when it is within our capacity to make this world more loving.

People, grounded in the teachings of Jesus, can be the best ANSWERED PRAYERS!

Answer some prayers today!