Thursday, May 21, 2009

Praying Expecting God's Answers

I am struggling with specific teaching on prayer that claims we should pray expecting God will answer our prayers as we ask.

Recently I finished a book by E. M. Bounds. I loved 20 of the 21 chapters, but I really struggled with his chapter that taught that we should expect answered prayers all the time. If our prayers are not answered, something is wrong with our praying.

Now I'm reading Andrew Murray, and in the first 10 chapters, he has 2 chapters that essentially teach the same thing. The whole testimony of Scripture is that God answers prayer, and while both of these guys lived died a century ago, I think were they alive today, they wouldn't have much to do with the teaching that goes "Of course God answers every prayer--Yes, No, or Wait."

My outlook on prayer has been a father-small child outlook. Children ask many things. Some of them can be answered "Of course," while others must be answered "No" or "Not now" because the child doesn't understand what he's asking.

Murray starts with the Fatherliness of God, too, but in his model we understand the Father's will to a much greater degree and pray in line with that, thus expecting the answers to our persistent prayers.

Bounds and Murray do make much more sense of some passages that I've had to qualify, particularly the ones that talk about asking anything in the Lord's name and it will be ours.

My experience rallies against this teaching (which in fact may be biblical). So how do I improve my prayer life? How do I fix it? How do I line it up more with Scripture? How do I pray in such a way that God will answer "Yes" all the time?

For instance, prayers for salvation: isn't it God's will that all be saved? So how come people I pray salvation for aren't saved? Is my praying faulty?

"Lord, teach me to pray."

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