FORT FAIRFIELD JOURNAL
Real. Educational. News.
Fort Fairfield Journal Contact Us Bible Reference Our Library
Lord, Do You Hear Our Prayer?
By: David Deschesne, Editor
Fairfield Journal August 30, 2006 p. 9
other day at the Aroostook Centre Mall, my wife and I were enjoying some Chinese
food and watching people. People-watching
can be very informative into elucidating the behavior characteristics of our
sat there observing one family of three came in and sat down to eat at the food
court, I noticed their five year old (or so) daughter was wearing a T-shirt that
read in big bold print on the front: “It’s
All About Me!”
that just about sum it up for our society? The
“Me” generation. Concerned only
for themselves, people refuse to accept the fact that they need God to make
sense of their lives. Whether things
are okay, or not, they have eliminated God from their equation.
God by failure to pray and Faith in Him forms a disconnect between us and Him.
Swedenborg described how we let the devil in by disconnecting with God;
“...knowing that when they are not led by the Lord [the devil] leads, and
breathes into them evils of every kind, - such as hatred, revenge, cunning,
deceit, - as a serpent infuses poison. For
he is present, excites, and continually accuses; and wherever he meets with a
heart that is turned away from God he enters in, dwells there, and drags the
soul down to hell. O Lord deliver
the preceding excerpt, Swedenborg illustrates how when we turn from a
relationship with God, the devil enters in.
With public schools dealing with so much malevolence in their population
today, such as bullying, fighting, cheating, drugs, alcohol, stealing, etc. they
are at a loss as to how to cope with those problems, resorting to the latest
psychology textbooks and designer psychotropic drugs.
Meanwhile the problem persists.
better way to cope with problems isn’t through drugs or psychiatry, but
through a loving, faithful, trusting relationship with the One who created us.
An excellent way to begin is through prayer.
centered” society has prostituted and corrupted the concept of prayer by
reducing it down to a checklist for God; by making God their butler they then
complain when He doesn’t bend and fold to their wishes and desires.
One reason God doesn’t always answer prayers is we don’t always pray
for the right reasons, or in the right way - which is ripe ground for government
teachers to move in and insinuate through their State-mandated curriculum:
“Since He didn’t answer, He must not exist!”
is all about God, not about us. “Although
it would appear that in prayer we are taking the initiative, prayer is actually
a response to God’s initiative. In
meditation, prayer is a response to listening to the Word - to the Spirit’s
speaking. This Word contains the
invitation to prayer. Prayer is
presented in the Scripture as a way by which we share with God and work together
with Him...Yet one can ask wrongly, says James, and not receive.
This happens when we desire to “spend” what we receive “on our
passions,” that is, when we use prayer as an attempt to manipulate God into
satisfying our self-centered desires.”2
world is full of evil, our prayers notwithstanding. “Though we are God’s
people, we live in a fallen world and are not spared the adversities
that are common to it.”3
we may pray for good health, or help through a tough point in our life, it
sometimes seems that God isn’t answering.
There may be another reason for that.
In our walk of Faith, we are tested but no more than we can bear.
It is these tests that the Lord God uses to refine our Faith - just as
heat is used to refine gold. Without
the tests, Faith and trust in God would be superficial and meaningless.
going to be a tough trip, this Faith walk with God.
“The simpler a God is to find, the easier he is to reject.
The harder he is to find, the more difficult he is to reject
definitively, but the concept is also more difficult for us to confirm and
maintain belief in.”4
is a response to God’s Word working within us.
In prayer, we talk to God as if He is our companion - a companion who
already knows all of our problems, wants and needs.5
Prayer is an experience we undertake in our fellowship with our Heavenly
Father. “To be able to pray, one
must alter the course of consciousness, one must go through moments of
disengagement, one must enter another course of thinking, one must face in a
different direction...It is the momentary disregard of one’s personal
concerns, the absence of self-centered thoughts, which constitute the art of
prayer. Feeling becomes prayer in
the moment in which one forgets oneself and becomes aware of God.”6
need not be some “high and mighty” speech with haughty religious tones, God
is happy conversing with us in our normal, everyday language.
Kneeling isn’t absolutely necessary for prayer, “There are occasional
instances in which the Bible associates kneeling with prayer.
But the overwhelming weight of scriptural evidence supports the theory
that a person ordinarily prayed in the upright position with his eyes open.”7
prayer is a personal, communing relationship with our new best friend, God,
Jesus instructs us to pray to our Heavenly Father in secret - not to be seen of
men; where “thy
Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”8
is a lot of apparent evil in the world. We
can and must pray for God to help us through that which we perceive as evil; but
also pray that we have the wisdom to see in the evil the good He intends to
bring from it. As Aquinas so aptly
noted, “if all evil were prevented, much good would be absent from the
universe. A lion would cease to
live, if there were no slaying of animals; and there would be no patience of
martyrs if there were no tyrannical persecution.” Aquinas then cites
Augustine: “Almighty God would in no wise permit evil to exist in His works,
unless He were so almighty and so good as to produce good even from evil.”9
is a private, loving communication with God.
He doesn’t so much as answer prayer, as answer Faith.
You couldn’t have a friendship with another person if you didn’t talk
to them, hence, you could never develop any trust.
Likewise, prayer is a tool we use to get closer to God.
He provides the things we need when we need them according to His own
plan for our salvation.
are not your own, you were bought by Jesus for a price.
He has your best interests at heart - refining your faith - even if you
can’t always see or understand the end result.
Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg,
Samuel M. Warren, 1974, p. 744
Care & Counseling,
William E. Hulme, ©1981 Augsburg Publishing House, pp. 133-134.
God of Evil,
©1970 Frederick Sontag, p. 31.
Perennial Classics ed., Abraham Heschel, ©2001 Susannah Heschel, p. 564.
Facts About the Bible, ©1968 Webb Garrison, p. 143.
to St. Thomas Aquinas,
©1948 Random House, Inc., p. 219.