Years ago my father-in-law (actually, my ex-father-in-law) told me once that ‘if you can’t defend what you believe, then you should change your beliefs.’ That statement has stuck with me over the years, and still rings true.
So I have experienced a fairly high level of frustration when I’ve asked Baptist Fundamentalists why questions that they cannot answer with any logical, solid explanation. For example. . .
‘I believe that God answers my prayers.’ Why? Can you give me a cause and effect scenario where you specifically prayed for a specific need to be supplied within a given time limit? Generally, the answer boils down to one word.
Generally, their explanation for why God has not specifically answered a specific prayer is something along the lines of;
a. God is trying to teach us a lesson to improve our character or teach us to trust Him
b. God operates on His own time-table
c. God is not Santa Claus
d. Maybe you have something in your life that is interfering with God’s answering you, perhaps you have some hidden sin?
So let me be quite clear on this point.
- God claims to be our father and wants us to approach Him without fear, telling Him our needs, struggles, and wants.
- God, be definition is sovereign over everything, is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Therefore, He knows what we need before we even approach Him about it.
- God has promised to hear and answer our prayers. Here is a website listing what the author claims are twelve Scripture passages promising to answer our prayers on a conditional basis. God’s Promise to Answer Prayers Now personally, I think that many of these ‘promises’ are not correctly applied, but that’s an entirely different kettle of worms for another day.
Here in Colorado, we have a very deep canyon called ‘The Royal Gorge.’ Royal Gorge It’s beautiful, and really worth seeing. If you can stand heights, there are aerial gondolas and a wonderful swinging bridge cross the deep canyon!
I tend to see God/religious beliefs as being on one side of a deep chasm, our realities on the opposite side. The bridge is prayer. And either God answers our prayers and meets our needs when we need them or it doesn’t count. It is not valid to pray for money to pay the utilities, get behind so much the company shuts them off, then receive money you needed after they were shut off.
It doesn’t matter what anyone argues about any made up reasons what they think God’s motives or timing was; in this scenario, the money wasn’t there within the time frame in order to prevent the utilities from being shut off.
Is my scenario far-fetched? Not at all. This came from my personal family history. It happened. A church member somehow found out about it, and paid the utility bill. My father stood up and publicly thanked whoever had paid the bill in a church service. I personally found that to be rather humiliating as part of the family.
So my take on prayer is that if God is going to claim to be our all-knowing, perfectly loving Heavenly father as we were taught, then God needs to answer our prayers in real-time or it doesn’t count.
Which leads to my next question – If God has demonstrated a pattern of being untrustworthy in the area of answering our prayers and meeting our needs on a timely basis, then what exactly are we trusting God to do for us?