When people turn to prayer as a last resource, they are being logical. It’s as reasonable as gasping in a quick breath and swimming along a flooded passageway to find an uncertain escape route. It’s better than giving up. Prayer in hopelessness contains an improbable grain of hope.
“Deliver us from evil” (a phrase from ‘the Lord’s Prayer’) doesn’t mean “make us nicer people”. Rather, it asks God to protect us from a force that can trap or imprison us (otherwise why would we need deliverance?) Yes. Evil is a force, and it’s not just the Bible that sees it that way. Science fiction often treats evil as a force – for instance, in the Star Wars films. In the Bible passage that introduces the Lord’s Prayer the original Greek speaks of the evil and some English versions translate it as the evil one – in other words, the Devil. But does anyone still believe in the Devil, demons, or evil spirits?
I’m writing this during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic when the whole world is anxious and many Christians are talking about ‘spiritual warfare’. All prayer is good, but not all types of prayer are right for everyone. This unseen virus offers a metaphor for the forces to be fought in spiritual warfare. But we must be selective.
My previous blog, “How Temptation Works”, explained the subtle workings of temptation. It helps to understand how temptation works, but we also need to understand how to overcome it.
Grace. Free forgiveness. Undeserved acceptance. The Gospel of Christ is unique among religions. It turns upside down the idea that salvation depends on our good deeds. It doesn’t. God’s forgiveness, and our future destiny, depends entirely on God’s generosity. But that doesn’t mean that morality has no part in our faith
People assume that heroes don’t feel fear. They are wrong. Brave people feel the fear but act in spite of it. Those who have no sense of fear are not brave, but naive. People of faith experience doubt, but act in faith. It’s not the way we feel that counts, but the decisions we make. Doubt takes you down to the depths, where you discover your foundations and find that they are strong
The story of Achan can be uncomfortable reading. His condemntation was harsh, but was it just?
A brief aid to making a prayer list:
"The answers to these questions
Direct my supplications"
The year was 1967, the location was Westminster Central Hall in London, the 2500 strong audience were mostly teenagers, and the event was a Sound Vision concert, featuring the best-known Christian bands of the period. Five bands had already played, when the compere announced, “not only the best, but also the loudest Christian group – … Continue reading The volume of silence
People talk about ‘battling in prayer’ – but who are they fighting?
– we’re definitely not fighting God!
We’re fighting evil powers. That’s a daunting prospect. In fact, it’s an impossible challenge.