Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Prayer in Faith, or God's Will Be Done?
The Difference Between The "Prayer Of Faith" and "Thy Will Be Done"
Mark 11:24-25 (NIV) "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
John 14:12-14 (TEB) "I tell you the truth: whoever believes in me will do the works I do--yes, he will do even greater ones, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father's glory will be shown through the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it."
Commentary On Mark 11:24 & John 14:14 by C.S. Lewis:
"How are these astonishing promises to be reconciled:
(a) With the observed facts?
(b) With the prayer in Gethsemane, and (as a result of that prayer) the universally accepted view that we should ask everything with a reservation, 'if it be Thy will'?"
Mat 26:39 (NIV) [Jesus in Gethsemane] "Yet not as I will, but as you will..."
James 4:15-16 (Jer) The most you should ever say is: "If it is the Lord's will, we shall still be alive to do this or that." But how proud and sure of yourselves you are. Pride of this kind is always wicked.
"As regards (a) no evasion is possible. Every war, every famine or plague, almost every death-bed, is the monument to a petition that was not granted... They have sought and not been granted. They have knocked and the door has not been opened."
"But (b), though much less often mentioned, is surely an equal difficulty. How is it possible at one and the same moment to have perfect faith... that you will get what you ask... and yet also prepare yourself submissively in advance for a possible refusal? If refusal is possible, how can you have simultaneously a perfect confidence that what you ask for will not be refused? If you have that confidence, how can you take refusal into account at all?"
"I'm not asking why our petitions are so often refused. Anyone can see in general that this must be so. In our ignorance we ask what is not good for us or for others, or not even intrinsically possible. Or again, to grant one man's prayer involves refusing another's. The real problem is... not why refusal is so frequent, but why the opposite result is so lavishly promised?"
"1) These Scriptures are the worst possible place at which to begin Christian instruction... You remember what happened when the Widow started Huck Finn off with the idea he could get what he wanted by praying for it. He tried the experiment and then, not unnaturally, never gave Christianity a second thought. We had better not talk of the prayer of faith as "elementary". It is a truth for very advanced pupils indeed. It is a coping stone, not a foundation. For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait."
James 4:3 (NIV) When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
"2) We must not encourage in ourselves or others any tendency to work up a subjective state which, if we succeeded, we should describe as "faith", with the idea that this will somehow insure the granting of our prayer. We have probably all done this as children. But the state of mind which desperate desire working on a strong imagination can manufacture is not faith in the Christian sense. It is a feat of psychological gymnastics."
"How or why does such faith occur sometimes, but not always, even in the perfect petitioner? My own idea is that it occurs only when the one who prays does so as God's fellow-worker, demanding what is needed for the joint work. It is the prophet's, the apostle's, the missionary's, the healer's prayer that is made with this confidence and finds the confidence justified by the event... The colleague of God is so united with him at certain moments that something of the divine foreknowledge enters his mind. Hence his faith is the "evidence"--that is, the evidentness, the obviousness--of things not seen."
1 Jn 5:14-15 (Phi) We have such confidence in him that we are certain that he hears every request that is made in accord with his own plan. And since we know that he invariably gives attention to our prayers, whatever they are, we can be quite sure that what we have asked for is already ours.
"A far inferior degree of faith is, I hope, acceptable to God. Even the kind that says "Help thou my unbelief" may make way for a miracle..."
"As the friend is above the servant, the servant is above the suitor, the man praying on his own behalf. It is no sin to be a suitor. Our Lord descends into being a suitor, of praying on His own behalf, in Gethsemane. But when He does so--the certitude about his Father's will is apparently withdrawn."
John 15:14-17 (Jer) "You are my friends, if you do what I command you. I shall not call you servants any more, because a servant does not know his master's business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learned from my Father. You did not choose me; no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last; and then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name."
John 15:7-8 (NIV) "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples."