definition: par•a•digm (pār'ə-dīm', -dĭm')

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this blog is four-fold:
to recognize that every person functions within a basic paradigm, which affects how all information is processed;
(2) to understand the paradigms of others;
(3) to discuss, in particular, paradigms which are related to science, religion, and philosophy.

(4) to reveal the paradigm shifts in my own life, a process that has completely changed the direction and purpose of my existence.

The purpose of this blog is NOT to convince anyone that their paradigms or beliefs are correct or incorrect. I am hoping for an honest dialog, but the discussions must remain respectful of others, even if there is profound disagreement. If any comments are not respectful, they will be removed.
(Revised 1/13/09)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Answers to Prayer

One of the cornerstones of the Christian faith is the strong belief that God answers prayer. Although there is abundant evidence in the Bible that God has always answered prayers of the faithful, modern Christians also believe in the efficacy of prayer.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16 [NKJV]

What many fail to realize is that an anwer to prayer can be "No," or "Not now," in addition to "Yes." The absence of quick results can make it easy to get discouraged.

Why do I bring this up now, in this forum?--Because I am curious to hear how those in non-Christian religions view prayer. I would like to hear about the experiences of others.


Alexander M Zoltai said...

I was raised by two Christian ministers, mom and dad, and had my two sisters become clergy, as well.

After much struggle and search, I bacame a Baha'i.

One of my absolute favorite quotes is from one of our prayers:

"Reveal then Thyself, O Lord, by Thy merciful utterance and the mystery of Thy divine being, that the holy ecstasy of prayer may fill our souls -- a prayer that shall rise above words and letters and transcend the murmur of syllables and sounds -- that all things may be merged into nothingness before the revelation of Thy splendor."

Compilations, Baha'i Prayers, p. 69

~ Alex

SoulandSubstance said...

Thank you for your contribution. I was wondering if you could share some personal experience with answers to prayer.

Alexander M Zoltai said...

As far as "answers" to prayer, I've found that it takes a "season" of prayer for me to notice "answers" and they are slow in coming...

Alexander said...

I'm with you on this one...if I have not received a yes or a no, I am reminded to pray without ceasing.

Prayer is a conversation with God. More than likely, not audible, sometimes quiet, sometimes loud and clear, and sometimes the "maybe" answer comes.

It is not about rubbing a bottle for a genie and getting our wishes.

Mostly, we pray for God's will in our lives...and hold on to our hats! :)

Sufi said...

It is the same concept in Quran as well. Actually, let me quote you directly from the post I had made on my blog.

Truly, those who have faith (in this Quran), as well as those who follow the Jewish (faith) and the Christians and the Sabians -- all who believe in God (Allah) and the Last Day, and do righteous deeds, shall have their reward with their Sustainer; they need have no fear , neither shall they grieve. (2:62)

Its in Islamic faith as well that God listens to every prayer, although, we might not understand what is good for us right away but if you notice, it all works out in the end. Just have faith. God is there, listening to every prayer. Good always comes from Prayers. Here and Life afterwards.

SoulandSubstance said...

I would like to share a personal experience with answered prayer. A couple of years ago, my husband and I were driving home one night from a friend's house, about 80 miles away, along the PA Turnpike. Just after we had gotten on the T'pike, the car started to overheat, so we pulled over and my husband determined that there was a problem with the thermostat. He waited for the car to cool down enough to drive and then headed to a service area, which was fairly close. By this time, it was overheating again, so we let the car cool off for a half-hour, during which time I was quietly praying for God to send someone to help us with the car. I did not know how we were going to get home if we had to stop to let the car cool down every time it ran for more than 10 minutes. Anyway, we got back on the road to try again. Sure enough, within 10 minutes, the car was overheating again, so he pulled onto the shoulder to let it cool off. After it cooled, we decided to get off at the next exit and just hope that there would be a service station near the exit. My heart sank when the exit turned out to be in a very rural area with few signs of life and it was already quite dark. After a couple of miles on a winding, rural road, with absolutely no shoulder to pull onto if we needed, we arrived in a small town and, right in the center, was a well-lit Sunoco station with a large parking area under the lights. My husband got out and opened the hood, to see if there was any way he could get the thermostat to function enough for us to get home. In the mean time, I again started to pray that God would send someone to help. Almost immediately, a man walked into the Sunoco station from the street, went directly to my husband, and started talking to him. This man lived across the street and had come over to see if we needed any help. He had a garage where he worked on his own cars and offered to help us fix ours. After working for an hour, they finally got the thermostat to function and we were able to drive home without incident.

RainforestRobin said...

I really like this question and your openness to other beliefs and religions is very heartening...and touching. The world needs open minds and hearts, now more than ever. Bless you for that. I am proud of you. It allows me to "be" here in this space with you.

My church would be wild and remote Nature. Quiet still time alone in Nature, talking "with" nature and more importantly listening to the collective voice of Nature(and sometimes the individual voices such as a particular tree or plant or animal...or water or sky). It's not that Nature is my God; it's that I hear the voice of my creator, of love, of the divine more clearly through and with Nature. I find the clearest reflection of my deepest soul in Nature. Nature sought me out and spoke to me. I learned to listen.

As to my prayers being answered, I guess they always are because my deepest need is to be loved. I don't just mean by friends and family...that too (that is a precious gift). What I really mean is that no matter the condition or challenging events of my life....what is vitally important or necessary for me (to feel that my prayers are answered) is to feel that I am "in love" in the literal sense. By that I mean that I exist in a state of love, that I feel love coming into me and back out of me, and even around me everyday. I find that the more I give thanks for EVERY SINGLE THING, the more I forgive myself for my human failings the more I am loved and "in love". And I don't write this from a place of someone who has not known deep suffering. I have. For me prayer is not only active and sometimes directed toward a specific need or outcome, but it is MUCH more a state of being in love "with" the Divine, the mystery, the eternal, the unknown, the creator, all of life. It's a letting go and trusting that there is something more, something that loves me so deeply that it is moved by even a single tear.

Thank you for inspiring me.

SoulandSubstance said...

Thanks, Robin. What you said reminds me, somehow, of one of my favorite scripture passages:
For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. [1 Samuel 16:7b]
-Thank you.

Channelofhealing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Channelofhealing said...

Hi, great post, the whole of my life is an answered prayer.that am alive today is an answered Prayer, I have experienced answers to Prayer most times in my prayer life like you rightly put most times in life when you pray God answers in His own time.
sometimes immediately, somtimes later all that matters is, are you ready to wait for God to answer you?

thanks for the post.

BTW you can visit my blog and see the posts on prayer/testimonies/healing for you to know why I said my life is about prayer and God answers to them.

Godbless you in Jesus Mighty Name AMen.

Danny Lowe said...

"What many fail to realize is that an anwer to prayer can be "No,""


Anyways, quick prayer story:
After Hurricane Katrina, I went with a group from my church to New Orleans to do relief work. We helped some pastor from I believe Iowa to set up a tent to distribute food and clothes. Someone from our church warned that the heat was going to spoil some supplies we just got. Os this pastor grabbed me and another guy and said, "we need to find some ice"
This old coot had no idea what he was doing. We got so lost, almost ran out of gas. All the while he is muttering stuff like he is whining to God about ice and gas and all sorts of stuff. Like we weren't even in the car.

Suddenly we took a wrong turn down this road and ended up on a dock met by two big guys with shotguns. They asked if they could "help" us in this "what the heck are you guys doing here" kind of tone. This crazy old coot of a pastor piped up and said "Yeah, you could give us some ice".

It seemed a little tense for a couple minutes and one of them walked away. He came back with a pallet stacked 5 feet tall full of bagged ice. Then they gave us some gas. No questions asked. The old coot said "Thank you" and we took off to aimlessly search for our camp.

SoulandSubstance said...

What a great story. Hearing about this old pastor reminds me of something I have always found interesting about many of the "Bible heroes." They took their complaints (whining, if you will) directly to God and God honored their honesty. Take a look at Elijah (see 1 Kings 19). He had just showed the 300 prophets of Baal how powerful the God of Israel was by calling down fire from heaven. Then the queen (Jezebel) threatens his life and he goes running into the wilderness, like a scared rabbit; exhausts himself; and then goes whining to God that God won't even stand up for Himself and that he (Elijah) is the only one left who cares. Does God chastise him for his self-righteous arrogance?--No-- He just sends an angel to give Elijah something to eat. I think that's pretty neat.