Why Should We Think God Will Answer Every Prayer?

So simple???

I come from a tradition of Christianity that believes that if one prays in the “right way” then prayers will be answered. From evidence seen that isn’t true. But this has got me thinking “why doesn’t God answer prayer?” which actually has led further to a “why should God answer any of our prayers?” And this is where I’m starting from now. Not that I will never pray again but I do wonder what give me the right to think that I should have my prayers answered? If I am a Child of God, which I do believe I am, then I trust that my Father will do what He thinks best, but most of the time I behave like a toddler, grizzling when I don’t get what I want, and thinking if I find the right formula next time then He’ll answer. As a parent I’ve had to make lots of decisions for my children from where we’d lived, even to whether I’d stayed with their father or not, to what form of schooling they had, even what religion they learn most of through my practise. That one is

Firstly a demand then a realisation that it’s only God’s mercy that answers our prayers

interesting because even if we say that we will teach our children about all faiths they learn most about the one we follow because of what we say as much as what we do. So as a parent I make decisions, and even if I consult my children, which I did often, whether we did as they suggested or not was up to me. Why should I see God as any different? Why should God answer my prayers?

Ok so this hurts when someone dies too young from anything; cancer, suicide, accident. But do I pray because I think I am worthy of being answered? Or do I pray because I want to be able to input into my “father’s” decisions? There is a story of Abraham and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, where God brings Abraham into His decision making process. God does similar with Moses during the exodus from Egypt. Loads of times God asks His people what they think. But we don’t see it as an honour but as a right.

C’mon But so often we don’t see it as an honour to be included but as a right. We pray and we expect God to answer the way we want every single time. When He does answer often we are grateful but more as in it being our right and it being a miracle that God should deign to answer us.

I think God answers our prayers so often, and so many of them are so trivial; for parking spaces, jobs, even at times what to cook for supper – or maybe that’s just me 🙂  But there are big prayers that don’t get answered, where people died, get into debt, wars break out, etc. I think though we notice more what doesn’t happen than what does. I’ve been praying for a young friend who’s mother died suddenly last year from a severe asthma attack. On the anniversary of her death he graduated as a Butlin’s redcoat and now has his own show as one of the big animal characters there. When I knew his mother was in hospital I prayed for her but she died but I have been praying for him ever since and he is doing great. Now I could focus on what didn’t happen, his mother’s healing, or I can focus on the life he is living. That doesn’t mean I’m not sad about his mum’s death but I can choose what to focus on. There are too many times when we focus on what didn’t get answered rather than think ourselves honoured that the Creator of the Universe should even want to listen to us.

God is good – all the time – but so often we forget what a privilege it is to be heard by Him at all.

And it’s all about Grace that I can boldly go into God’s throne room 🙂

I do think though that we focus on what didn’t happen because when we lose someone to death it is such a big thing, such a huge grief, and its like the compliments thing – we need 10 good things said to us to overcome one bad thing. But I for one am going to get to the place of being honoured that God should even take any notice of me at all, and still walk into His Throne room boldly!

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Was Jesus Ever Married?

I was having a great chat with a friend about Jesus and she dropped in a bit about him being married to Mary Magdelene. And I answered a resounding “No he wasn’t married.” And then the answer came to me. God inspired or common sense? Who knows! And just as a disclaimer: I’ve never had issues as to whether Jesus was married or not, but this is what came to me.

Jesus couldn’t have been married or had children. I don’t believe this because it never mentions it in the Bible but because Jesus knew what he was on earth to do and there are times when he could have averted the crucifixion. When he met the woman he was to marry or even after they had children, he could have quietened down his lifestyle and gone off to live somewhere nice, still have preached about forgiveness and the Kingdom of God being close, but in a way that was not antagonistic to the authorities. If he hadn’t gone in and trashed the temple when he processed into Jerusalem on what we now know as Palm Sunday that would have kept him from crucifixion. There are many times during his trial that he could have averted the direction of it. Both Pilate and Herod ask him to do things to save himself and he either does nothing, or commits blasphemy and says he is The Son of God. Not clever things if you’ve got a family. Also we tend to forget how horrendous crucifixion was, though now we can watch ISIS videos of it if we want. Perhaps it would be good for both Christians and those who say Jesus was married to watch the horror of a crucifixion??? Maybe not! I have read descriptions and that has left me horrified that Jesus chose to go through with this, but it would leave me even more horrified to know that he knew what he was going through and let his wife and children watch.

I believe Jesus never married because if he did then he is not about love. I do not understand the whole thing of why God and Jesus couldn’t think of another way to deal with mankind’s transgressions but it’s what they decided. Jesus was not the first person to ever be crucified. He knew what was going to happen. Also I do think if Jesus had married the early disciples would have had to have mentioned his children. I don’t think they could’ve kept quiet about them. Or the Pharisees would have come to kill them too seeing them as a threat. I know in Dan Brown and other books of that ilk they talk of a pregnant Mary being taken away secretly and no one being allowed to know. Still not sure if Jesus could have had a sexual relationship because the whole act of sex is an acts of love and intimacy and of giving of one’s heart . I actually think if he had entered into a sexual relationship with someone he wouldn’t have been able to go through with what he did, as much for leaving them as well as for knowing they would see what he went through. Yes he did put his mother, siblings and disciples through the horrors of watching, which I still don’t get. But no as to letting his children watch, or even know how he died I think not. And this is the basis I state that Jesus never married.

By the way my friend felt this to be true and it has given her things to think about now. So God inspired, common sense or just what I think?

‘I have come to see that there is good in every situation’ – Kayla Mueller’s hope in captivity

Here is a great post from Jon Kuhrt’s Resistance and Renewal blog and really shows all about “doing life” in the face of death.

Resistance & Renewal

Kayla Mueller, 26, an American humanitarian worker from Prescott, Arizona is pictured in this undated handout photoThe family of Kayla Mueller, a US aid worker who was being held by ISIS, have confirmed that she has been killed.

Before she was captured, she told her hometown paper in Prescott, Arizona:

“It’s important to stop and realize what we have, why we have it and how privileged we are. And from that place, start caring and get a lot done.”

Kayla’s family have released a letter sent to them by her from captivity written in the spring of 2014:

Everyone, If you are receiving this letter it means I am still detained but my cell mates (starting from 11/2/2014) have been released.

I have asked them to contact you + send you this letter. It’s hard to know what to say. Please know that I am in a safe location, completely unharmed + healthy (put on weight in fact); I have been treated w/ the utmost respect + kindness.

I wanted to write you all…

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How do we “do life”?

I’m a practical person and I get fed up when I hear a sermon or talk and there is no practical application, but then I realised I’d sent out a piece that talked of “doing life” and having the right attitude but didn’t really say how to. And ok one can say that actually we all need to work out our own path to finding a right attitude, but all these self-help books wouldn’t sell so well if it was just about us working it out in our own heads. So here’s my attempt at “how to do life?”

Life in all its fullness – John 10

As a Christian I do go back to the Bible and to what Jesus says about things. I believe as well as being the Son of God – wholly God and wholly human – Jesus was also a great teacher so I think it’s good to hear what he has to say on things. Jesus said “with me you can have life and life to its fullness.” This was doing life and life in all its completeness. I don’t think Jesus was saying there wouldn’t be any hassles, any deaths, cancers, loses to grieve over, hard times to walk thougth but I do think he that what he is saying is that we can have life in its fullness even in those hard time. But how do we tap into this?

Well Brian McLaren  in “We make the path by walking” says we need to look at the story behind the miracles Jesus did. In the story of where Jesus turns water

Paolo Veronese’s interpretation of The Wedding at Cana – hung in the Louvre, Paris

into wine (John 2) we get so caught up in the details of this story that we can miss what could be the underlying message. Jesus uses the jars that were for ceremonial washing and messes things up. McLaren says that Jesus is showing that it doesn’t matter if this are clean or unclean but that it is all about super-abundance and super-celebration. Here was too much wine for one small Galilean village to drink in a week let alone in a day! And also they could no longer ceremonially wash their crockery or hands. The need to be religious had gone and it was time to enjoy life. This didn’t mean they stopped farming, doing business deals (and a wedding was a place where many business deals were carried out), caring for children, elderly parents, those who were sick. The things of life would go on but the religiosity was gone. Again McLaren talks of a healing Jesus did on the Sabbath. And the sermon is always based on the fact that Jesus did his healing on the Sabbath. My daughter has always struggled with this saying that Jesus was being deliberately obtuse and surely that’s wrong. But actually what Jesus again was doing was saying let go of your anxiety and fear of getting it right, stop being paranoid and look at me.

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones with the real Jane and Stephen Hawking

We watched “The Theory of Everything” and in that saw a man who could have so easily been pitied and achieved nothing, and I am sure people with lesser disabilities do give up but not just Stephen Hawking, but his wife Jane and many of their friends “did life”. In fact there are so many quotes for Hawking that I don’t know where to being. The film finishes with him saying “where there is life there is hope” and there is:

Look up at the stars and down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder what makes the universe exist. Be curious.

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.

Hawking doesn’t have much choice where he looks because of not being able to control his muscles but he does have a choice of how he views life. Often we can choose where we look but choose to look at our feet. As Oscar Wilde said:

We’re all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars

To “do life” means we choose where we look and how we view the world. We can choose to look at the stars and be curious or we can choose to  look at our feet and our circumstances. We can choose whether we accept what we are told or be curious at what is going on. Hawking and especially his wife Jane, refused to accept what they were told and look at the difference he made to the world. My friend who started me on this quest regarding “doing life” refused to let cancer beat him. I have other friends who refuse to accept what the world says about how their story should be played out and are “doing life” in the craziest of ways.

I’m not sure how practical this has been but to be it is about having faith, being curious, getting rid of fear and paranoia and looking at the stars, at the what could be if only …  And then, I believe, not just going for it but helping, supporting, encouraging and loving each other to get there too.