Sunday, January 14, 2007

The God Who Hears - Chapter 1 - Who Does God Hear?

I've begun reading The God Who Hears by W. Bingham Hunter for an elective class. I figured I would blog my "notes" as I went along... I'm several chapters in already, but I figured I would play catch-up. I'll probably post out of order, and not every chapter.

People have a hard time praying. Some people don't feel like God hears their prayer.

Why is that?
  1. Prayer was never a heresy in the early church, so it was not carefully defined like other doctrines. So, we have all been doing what seems right in our own eyes.
  2. Modern science and technology argues that God is irrelevant, and our pace of life leaves us little time to think about prayer.
  3. Most teaching and preaching on prayer distorts Scripture. We are told to use promises, encouraged to claim things the Bible never mentions, and well-meaning peopled tell us "maybe some day you'll have enough faith" (it's your fault, right?).
  4. Finally, when we pray we don't know what we're doing. People don't seem willing to define what prayer is. Too many people think prayer is a way to get things from God, and fall prey to misleading methods and strategies that have nothing to do with prayer.
Hunter, instead, says that Christian prayer, as explained in Scripture is something else:
Prayer is a means God uses to give us what he wants.
The problem is primarily a theological misunderstanding. So, we need to know who we're talking to, who we are, and we need to know Jesus (who understands both God and man).

It is not unusual to wonder about unanswered prayer, or about having enough faith. But God doesn't respond to our prayers; God responds to us, to our whole life. Praying more effectively is maining learning to know him as the desire of our heart.

  1. Why is it so hard to be honest with others about our struggles with prayer?
  2. What can be done to create an atmosphere among Christians in which such feelings could be discussed openely?
  3. What do you think interferes with our prayers? Make a list. Do men and women have different kinds of difficulties?

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