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Prayer--Is anyone really listening?
Skeptics Club ^ | February 2, 2005 | Jim Robb

Posted on 02/02/2005 3:28:32 PM PST by James S. Robb

Practically everyone has prayed. Some have tried it a few times, an experiment. Others, even apparently irreligious personalities, pray constantly. Something inside urges us to ask for help. We ask. It may be, "Please help me with this exam." Or, "Save my marriage!" Or, "Heal my Dad."

Two possible problems. We "hear" no answer. And Dad still dies.

Why would anyone pray to, as historian Paul Johnson terms him, "the God who is silent?" As a believing Christian and a skeptic, this is frustrating. It's hard to pray for divine intervention, only to see the natural order continue unmolested.

Nevertheless, I pray all the time. Can't blame everything on God. After all, Dad was old and sick. The student may not have studied for the exam. And the marriage may have been hopeless compromised already. Not all prayers are easy to answer. But mostly I pray because the Young Master constantly commanded it. [Read for yourself!].

Moreover, there have been times when I believe I have received pretty direct feedback. One time in 1991, when I felt totally abandoned, even suicidal, I visited Georgia on business. While there, I ran into a a man I knew only slightly. He approached me and looked at me in amazement, saying, "Jim, I had a dream about you."

"About me?" I replied, astounded. "Yes," he said. "I dreamed you and I were walking down a road side by side, and somehow I knew that the dream meant we were walking down the road of life together." Then he looked at me and admitted, "I don't know, but I believe that dream was from the Lord" Immediately I heard myself answer emphatically, "It was!" Later I learned my new friend had had the dream the night before, when he believed I was in another state.

From that experience grew a friendship that did more than anything had to encourage and strengthen me. You might say it saved my life.

God isn't silent all the time.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Prayer; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: doubt; prayer; skeptic; version20; zot
Skeptics Club is a new blog for Skeptics who would believe if they could.
1 posted on 02/02/2005 3:28:32 PM PST by James S. Robb
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To: James S. Robb

Here's one that I dare any skeptic to pray:

Lord, if You're there, which I doubt, and if You care, which I doubt, You can have whatever part of me You can get.


2 posted on 02/02/2005 3:35:08 PM PST by Judith Anne (Thank you St. Jude for favors granted.)
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To: James S. Robb; Admin Moderator
Skeptics Club is a new blog for Skeptics who would believe if they could.

Wait, um, JimRob... you join up with that name and your first post is on the religion forum with the above quote?

*sniff*

3 posted on 02/02/2005 3:37:09 PM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: James S. Robb

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
17
When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

Apparently, this skepticism is not a new phenomenon.


4 posted on 02/02/2005 3:44:06 PM PST by siunevada
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To: James S. Robb

Many questions like "is God listening" "does God answer prayers" and "why does god let bad things happen" can be answered in the same way.

Ive become a much happier person since I realized that God is not my butler or my "yes man". God is not there to answer my demands. God does not always give me the answers I would like.


5 posted on 02/02/2005 3:45:18 PM PST by cripplecreek (they call me tater.)
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To: James S. Robb

I'm not exactly sure how the article(?) applies to the heading, so I'll just respond to the heading.

I can attest specifically that God, or one of His representatives hears our prayers, and may or may not answer them. He has aswered several of mine, in such a way and under circumstances that I know it was not the result of random coincidence.

But fewer than 1/10th of 1% of my prayers are about me, mostly they are about those whose who are truly suffering, and for His Church, so I can only hope the prayers help. I don't pray for other peoples paper cuts or for the life of those dying. Rather I pray for their souls. I have the assurance that my prayers are heard, so I also have the confidence that they are answered even if I don't know about it.


6 posted on 02/02/2005 3:51:26 PM PST by Arguss (Take the narrow road)
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To: Tarpaulin

Yes, I know it's a coincidence, but it's not a spoof. My name really is Jim Robb, and I live in Alexandria, Virginia.


7 posted on 02/02/2005 3:51:54 PM PST by James S. Robb
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To: James S. Robb
My name really is Jim Robb, and I live in Alexandria, Virginia.

that is SO weird....'cuz my name really IS ZinGirl..and I live in a vineyard.

8 posted on 02/02/2005 3:54:40 PM PST by ZinGirl
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To: James S. Robb

How long have you been lurking? Or rather, what was your last screen name?


9 posted on 02/02/2005 3:54:46 PM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: James S. Robb
This kind of strange for first post but I'll bite.

God absolutely is listening 24/7. The problem is that we don't always pray for things that coincide with God's plan. We think, "I prayed and it didn't happen." God is not a cosmic slot. The primary purpose of prayer is worship and gratitude. Wish fulfillment is a benny.
10 posted on 02/02/2005 4:18:16 PM PST by Gingersnap
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To: James S. Robb
As a believing Christian and a skeptic, this is frustrating. It's hard to pray for divine intervention, only to see the natural order continue unmolested.

You can not Truly be both. You "claim" to have true faith in Christ, yet you are skeptical of his motives? Where does the "belief" come in? Praying for divine intervention is well & good, as long as you understand that IT falls under the category of "his WILL be done, not OUR'S"

Anything more is a "I want it now !"Temper Tantrum.

But mostly I pray because the Young Master constantly commanded it.

Huh...? You sure you are a Christain? ..."Young Master constantly commanded it." ...??? Who refers to the Lord in that manner? You make it sound as if Jesus was a slave driver.

BTW, not only does God listen, he gives what you need, when you need it.

11 posted on 02/02/2005 4:32:18 PM PST by austinmark (If GOD Had Been A Liberal, We Wouldn't Have Had The Ten Commandments- We'd Have The Ten Suggestions.)
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To: James S. Robb
Take your time.
12 posted on 02/02/2005 5:02:56 PM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: James S. Robb
Instead of praying for what you want try praying for what God wants and just thank Him for what He has given you, whether good or evil.
13 posted on 02/02/2005 5:29:04 PM PST by HarleyD
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To: MeekOneGOP

You may want to look over here for your kitten!?


14 posted on 02/02/2005 5:49:23 PM PST by Dashing Dasher (Now that we know Bush was right, will the moonbats apologize? ....we're waiting......)
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To: James S. Robb; All
I don't buy it.

Several quotes from the Gospels come to mind when I look at your blog. False prophets and such...

You get a keyword and a tag, my courtesy.

To all the rest: Sorry I made a scene in church.

15 posted on 02/02/2005 5:53:40 PM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: Tarpaulin

Tarpaulin,

First, I looked it up and only got "other word for tarp". I didn't find the sailor reference until after I (ate some spinach and) went to your profile page.

Second, I was thinking the author/poster may be full of little red ants or kitty litter.

Thoughts!?

Dasher


16 posted on 02/02/2005 6:09:30 PM PST by Dashing Dasher (Now that we know Bush was right, will the moonbats apologize? ....we're waiting......)
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To: Dashing Dasher
Thoughts!?

"Dasher" posts quicker than Brain allows.

Got a TV? SOTU is on just now...

17 posted on 02/02/2005 6:22:12 PM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: Tarpaulin

Sorry - still at work.

Rushing to the car to listen now.

D


18 posted on 02/02/2005 6:27:13 PM PST by Dashing Dasher (Now that we know Bush was right, will the moonbats apologize? ....we're waiting......)
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To: HarleyD
Instead of praying for what you want try praying for what God wants and just thank Him for what He has given you, whether good or evil.

Exactly. And also pray for the grace to bring what you want and what God wants together, so that the two of you want the same things.

Everything is either God's gift or something he permits for our good, whether we think so or not, whether we ask for it or not. The point of petitionary prayer is not to get something as though from a vending machine, but to teach us to entrust our needs, hopes, and desires to God. He already knows what we want, and he'll give us what we need.

19 posted on 02/02/2005 6:33:46 PM PST by Campion
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To: Dashing Dasher

OK. I shed a tear on the the tribute the the fallen soldier's Mom.


20 posted on 02/02/2005 7:02:50 PM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: Tarpaulin

Dear Tarpaulin, today was my first post even on any site but my own--ever! I'm not new to writing, but I'm brand-new to blogging. --Jim Robb (note the 2 "b"s)


21 posted on 02/02/2005 7:22:23 PM PST by James S. Robb
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To: James S. Robb; Dashing Dasher
Welcome to FreeRepublic.com.

22 posted on 02/02/2005 7:25:22 PM PST by MeekOneGOP (There is only one GOOD 'RAT: one that has been voted OUT of POWER !! Straight ticket GOP!)
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To: Tarpaulin

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Oh, Come on. That was pristine bait!


23 posted on 02/02/2005 7:27:30 PM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: James S. Robb; Dashing Dasher; MeekOneGOP
Dear Tarpaulin, today was my first post even on any site but my own--ever! I'm not new to writing, but I'm brand-new to blogging. --Jim Robb (note the 2 "b"s)

How, then do you reply to #7 & #9 on this thread?

What's the coincidence?

I say that you are full of S#!7!

24 posted on 02/02/2005 7:46:19 PM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: Tarpaulin; James S. Robb; Dashing Dasher; MeekOneGOP; All

Tarpaulin (and all),

James is new. But he's not a troll and he's not from DU.

I know him in real life. You can check MY references if you need to. With my original screen name, I've been here since January 2000.


25 posted on 02/02/2005 8:12:53 PM PST by Corin Stormhands (One Iraqi purple finger took more courage than John Kerry's three purple hearts.)
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To: Corin Stormhands; James S. Robb; Dashing Dasher; MeekOneGOP; All

Hey there JimRob2,

There's nothing quite like a backup.

Welcome to Free Republic.

Tarp
(Well, ZOT! me!)


26 posted on 02/02/2005 8:21:12 PM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: James S. Robb

Interesting site...BTTT


27 posted on 02/03/2005 12:42:06 AM PST by lainde
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To: Campion

Good point.


28 posted on 02/03/2005 1:44:40 AM PST by HarleyD
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To: James S. Robb
It's hard to pray for divine intervention, only to see the natural order continue unmolested.

I have a few responses to this:

God has allowed many painful experiences in my life. He has done so despite my very human desire for a pain-free life. But I am grateful for these experiences. I would not know God the way I know Him, and I could not possibly trust Him the way that I trust Him, if I'd never weathered a storm with Him.

And I'll add -- it's easier to be grateful for the difficult experiences when we're outside of them, than when we're in the middle of them. The goal is to learn to truly be grateful in the midst of trials. And it takes time and experience to develop that amazing, joyful trust.

James 1:2-8 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a doubleminded man, unstable in all he does.

italics mine

29 posted on 02/03/2005 6:53:15 AM PST by Zechariah_8_13 ("Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.")
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To: Tarpaulin

He's a personal friend of mine. I read his blog, and told him of FR religion forum as a place where people, including very harsh critics, come to discuss religion-related news and theology.

His name really is Jim Robb. I suggested he pick a different screen name because of JimRob.


30 posted on 02/03/2005 8:27:55 AM PST by dangus
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To: dangus

Yeah, Corin Stormhands straightened me out on this one.

My BS detector really zinged when he first said it was a coincidence, then that this was his first post anywhere but home. If so, how would he know who Jim is?

Add to that the very nature of the thread and I was convinced.

For my next trick, I intend to jump on Santa.

;^)


31 posted on 02/03/2005 8:40:57 AM PST by Tarpaulin (Look it up.)
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To: Arguss
"But fewer than 1/10th of 1% of my prayers are about me, mostly they are about those whose who are truly suffering, and for His Church, so I can only hope the prayers help. I don't pray for other peoples paper cuts or for the life of those dying. Rather I pray for their souls. I have the assurance that my prayers are heard, so I also have the confidence that they are answered even if I don't know about it."

That just about nails down the essence of it right there, imho.

Q: Would the Fiat be the most perfect prayer?

32 posted on 02/03/2005 8:53:30 AM PST by pascendi (Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem)
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To: Tarpaulin

Gee, you're a skeptic... if only we knew of a club for you to join. Hehehe.


33 posted on 02/03/2005 10:59:36 AM PST by dangus
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To: Zechariah_8_13

Zech, Thank you for your thoughtful post. I take it as encouragement. Yes, I realize that prayer is mostly about aligning our will with God's, and I agree. I especially agree that this is the path to satisfaction and success in prayer. Jesus and Paul, however, also taught us to pray for daily needs, healing, etc. Jesus went so far as to suggest that all requests made in prayer, however ambitious, would be granted if only there was enough faith in the prayer. That's a frustrating teaching, and I struggle with it. Insights are welcome! --Jim


34 posted on 02/03/2005 11:45:56 AM PST by James S. Robb
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To: James S. Robb

Welcome to Free Republic. I have heard God's answers to my prayers through dreams more often than not. Like the other poster, I finally learned to stop thinking of God as my butler. Now I ask him for guidance and insight into His plan for my life, rather than asking him for favors. Every night, before I go to sleep, I ask him to continue to guide me through dreams. I believe He is constantly talking to all of us through this medium, when we are switched off from the physical world and tuned in to the spiritual.


35 posted on 02/03/2005 1:31:52 PM PST by DC native
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To: James S. Robb
That's a frustrating teaching, and I struggle with it.

I have no input on that for the time being-- maybe someone else does. I will say, however, that I think most Christians struggle with it as well.

36 posted on 02/03/2005 1:53:29 PM PST by Zechariah_8_13 ("Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.")
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To: James S. Robb

You might read some of the existentialist Christian
writers (starting with Kierkegaard) because they deal
with such things as (1) the obscurity of God, (2) the
subjectivity of truth, (3) the goal of authentic existence,
(4) the inevitability of anxiety. Most of all they deal
with the apparent conflict between faith and reason.
Another great read is "The Tragic Sense of Life", by
Miguel de Unamuno. It's no easy journey out of the Dark
Night of the Soul - all the great saints have travelled
it, however. Remember the words of Oscar Wilde, "Every
saint has a past, and every sinner a future."


37 posted on 02/03/2005 7:24:26 PM PST by T.L.Sink (stopew)
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