Questions

Questions are so important in life! They are one of the primary ways that we as people learn. Questions are especially important when it comes to matters of God, Jesus, the Bible, and prayer, because the answers to these things can completely change a person's life. Below is a (growing) list of commonly asked questions, by churched and unchurched people alike. The responses to each of these questions are only meant to offer an initial reply, but where possible further resources will be recommended (such as video clips, video sermons, short articles, and even whole books) for those who want to pursue these topics further.

 

Before diving into these questions however, an introductory word is in order. Theologian Lesslie Newbigin reminds us that the Bible does not ever answer "our questions exactly in the form in which we put them. The Bible always requires of us a shift in standpoint, for which time and patience are needed." This insight entails a few things.

 

First, it means that sometimes the way we ask questions reveals a particular line of thinking – and sometimes that line of thinking goes in the wrong direction. So, often, it is not really possible to answer a question in the terms in which it was asked. Second, it is possible we are simply asking the wrong question! Third, time and patience are needed because askingquestions is far easier and quicker than attempting to answer them.

 

Asking a critical question, such as 'Why does God allow so much suffering in the world?' is akin to attempting to tear something down, in this case the Christian conviction that God is good. It is quick and easy to ask such a question. But attempting to answer such a question is like building something, and construction is much more time-consuming than deconstruction. A builder once said it took him three years to build a house, but with a digger he could tear a house down in under three days.

 

Questions are very important. But time and patience are required to satisfactorily address them. With this in mind, let's proceed!

 

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH PRAYER?

 

What is prayer?

Simply put, prayer is a fancy word for talking with God!  You don't need to do it in a special religious tone, using special language, in particular bodily postures.  You can just talk to Him like you would a best friend.

 

What does a person pray about?
Anything and everything – whatever's on your mind, or whatever you'd like to talk about.

 

Who is invited to pray?
Anyone!  Prayer isn't just for church pastors, religious professionals, missionaries, or other supposedly super-holy people.  God made all people to engage in a relationship with Himself.  We enter into this relationship, and sustain it, through prayer.

 

Is prayer just for Christians?
No.  Because God made all people to relate to Him and know Him, as a child knows their father, prayer is for everybody.  But God has revealed Himself in the person of His Son, Jesus.  Since that time, people have learned to approach God the Father in prayer through Jesus. If you're not a Christian you can still pray, but you also need to know that God wants to meet with you in the person of Jesus.  Why?  Because it's in the person of Jesus that we discover what God is like.

 

Where should we pray?
Anywhere you like!   At home, at work, in church, in your bedroom, in a bathroom, in a restaurant, while out for a walk – the choice is yours.  God is everywhere so we can speak with Him anywhere.

 

When should we pray?
Anytime you like!  However, over many centuries Christians have developed two traditional practices related to prayer that some find extremely helpful.  These are:
(i) Special times set aside for prayer, often first thing in the morning and/or last thing at night.
(ii) Silently speaking with God throughout each day.  This is sometimes called practising the presence of God.

Further Resources

An excellent sermon entitled 'How Can I Communicate With God?' from the Alpha Course.

 

An excellent sermon entitled 'The Insane Importance of Prayer' by Pastor and theologian Gregory Boyd.

 

Short Reading

http://richardbauckham.co.uk/uploads/Accessible/Prayer.pdf

 

Recommended Reading

Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey

 

Further Reading

Praying Hyde by Basil Miller
With Christ in the School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
Present Perfect: Finding God in the Now by Gregory Boyd

 

PRAYER

 
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