I am sure that all Christian believers would say that theirs is a supernatural  religion.  But many of us Western Christians do not act as if we believe it.

How else can you explain our attitude toward prayer?

Often, we approach God with great doubts in our minds about the chances of his responding to our needs.  We look back at previous disappointments and conclude that God is unlikely to do anything this time either.

When we are surprised by answers to our heartfelt prayers, we are tempted to explain them away.  The answer to prayer was coincidence or there was a scientific or rational explanation.

In other words, we don’t give God the benefit of the doubt.  We choose science or reason ahead of God.

I had a stimulating discussion with some friends about prayer yesterday and we touched on some of these issues.

We talked about divine healing prayer and the fact that many people are not healed.  A friend said that when they are healed it could often be explained scientifically – or it could be the power of positive thinking.

Someone else noted that sometimes there is unity in church gatherings when people seek God’s face together.  But there is unity, too, in business situations after team-building exercises.  Maybe church unity is simply due to a kind of team-building exercise.

All these are rational explanations to what happens in our world.

But that is not how Jesus and the apostles saw the world.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus healed many.  He cast out demons.  He was offered – and rejected – power over nations by Satan.

Paul stated in Ephesians 6:12 that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Paul finished by saying in verse 18 that we should “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”  Prayer is one of the essential elements of the armour we need in fighting this spiritual warfare.

In the eyes of Jesus and Paul, we live in a spiritual as well as a physical world.  We are in a struggle with evil supernatural forces and we need to pray for God’s help.

I think our attitude is very important.  I admit to harbouring doubts when I pray.  But I am learning that I must build on the tiny foundation of faith that I have been given – along with all other believers.

I acknowledge that God does not always answer our prayers the way we want him to answer.  But does that mean he has not answered?  Or that he will not answer that prayer?

The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 11, verse 39 that the great heroes of the Old Testament had faith that God would fulfill what he promised – but they did not see the promise fulfilled in their lifetimes.  The answer came in the person of Jesus Christ.

I think we believers must expect God to answer our prayers – whatever the answer may be and whether it is now or in the future.  We must believe that he is all-powerful, that he is good, and that he is triumphing over the spiritual forces of evil.

We must believe that God is concerned with every detail of our lives.  And he is at work in our lives every day.

We must pray for eyes to see God at work, just as Elisha prayed that God would open the eyes of his frightened servant so that he would see the heavenly armies ready to defeat the enemy of the Israelites.

We are not just creatures of a scientific, rationalistic world – we are part of a spiritual kingdom engaged in a spiritual war.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: