Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sunday Sermon: The Prayer Dialog

Back Story
On my recent travels I had the opportunity to ask both a close friend and secondly a deeply religious person how prayer works for them.  Unfortunately neither seemed unable to answer even the most basic question about their activities.  So instead I'm laying down questions and thoughts here.

Actions or Answers

The two basic prayers types I would classify are

Action:  You ask God to perform an action.  From a mundance, please find me a parking space, to changing the Climate, or preventing war.  It's an action.

Answers: You have a question that you need answered, and an all knowing God is able to provide this back to you.

Thanks: Note, I classify the third type i.e. thanks is the flipside part of Action so I won't discuss it further

To Whom

Normally the prayer is regarding yourself, else Intercessory prayer  relates to you praying to God on behalf of others.

Prayer Mechanism
I'm most particularly interested in the form of Prayer where God helps the prayee to solve a problem.  In this case it is a two way dialog

- You state a Question
- And you receive a reply.

00 Tape Recorder
In this mechanism, you state your question, by speaking out loud. And God replies in kind, I mean God actually talks back aloud and you and anybody else with you can hear the reply.

I call this the Tape recorder variant since the idea is that indeed you could tape record your vocal request and Gods' subsequent reply.

01 Internal Voices
In this paradigm you speak to God silently through a thought, but you can hear yourself inside your head speaking out the question to God.

Then sometime later, (it could be immediately) you can 'hear' the voice of a God  in your head and that voice gives you guidance, or answer to your problem.

02 What he/she would say
In this paradigm you speak to God silently through a thought, but you can hear yourself inside your head speaking out the question to God.

Then sometime later, you know, not via a voice, but via an intuition what the response of your God would have been.   You can optionally hear a voice but you know this is just your brain synthesising the response.   Here God's response is merely what you understand your God would say,  because you have studied the religion all your life, and based on it's teachings you know what the response ought to be.

Again, I asked a  friend which type of conversation they were having, but their most coherent reply was 

"I can not answer this type of question Marcus"

Formal Cop Outs
Whilst the apparent inability to understand a simple question, or unwillingness to answer for no stated reason is typical, the Christian often puts forward 2 precedent Bible verses:

Deuteronomy 6:16 "Do not put the LORD your God to the test"

Luke 4:12 Jesus answered, "It is said: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test."

If you go down this path then the investigation of Prayer and its efficacy is a taboo area.

Questions to Ask
If you have a friend or relation who prays and can help others understand too, you can ask them which type and mechanism  of prayer they partake in as I defined above.  Then also ask them the following questions to better understand how prayer operates for them within their religion

- One Way or Two Way?
What proportion is a one way prayer, and what two way.  And for 2 way prayers, i.e. there is a response, how long does that response take?

- Male or Female
If God actually talks back to you, with a voice, is God's voice male or female.

- Delivery
Does your God always speak to you in your Language, and dialect, and only using words and diction that you can understand?

- It wasn't chance then, or something that you did?
When God answers your prayers, what is the best example of something that could not have been via chance, or via a human action

- Your God

When a God responds to your prayer, what convinces you that it is your God.  (And not another God, who heard your erroneously directed prayer?)

Aretha Franklin: I say a little prayer

When you have at least some of these answers don't hesitate to get in touch, and please not via a prayer.

5 facts about prayer
Prayer efficacy
Intercessionary Prayer