Prayer Magic?

CircleofMagic

Magic, the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces, is the first definition given by http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/magic. When prayers are said, are we not speaking to a supernatural [and mysterious] being and are we not, many times, asking Him to influence the course of events? Is prayer, therefore, like magic?

IMG_1686I attend a Christian weight loss group every Friday wherein we do a Bible Study, pray, memorize a verse of Scripture, exercise, learn to eat proper portions in a healthy manner, and encourage and weigh-in to be accountable to one another. This week for Bible Study we are focusing on prayer. Yesterday I was struck by a Scripture that I thought I knew well and that comes from my favorite chapter in the Bible, Romans 8:IMG_1682 (NIV) 26″…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

Many come to our group for a certain reason.

“I will do the Bible Study if I have to, but what I really want is to lose weight.”

“I will come, but only because it’s a Bible Study. I’m not really interested in the health stuff.”

“I really need to get out of the house and breathe a little. This looks like a good group for fellowship.”

So, while some are praying for weight loss, some for Bible knowledge, and still others for friendship, all are praying that God will work His magic and they will get what they came for. Those verses from Romans should draw the believer up short. They say that we don’t know what we really need. The Holy Spirit does. “He searches our hearts.” He, also, knows the mind of God for us and it is He who takes our questionable prayers and motivations and intercedes for us “in accordance with the will of God.”

I wonder just what my prayers sound like when the Holy Spirit intercedes for me. Do the requests He takes to God on my behalf resemble anything I originally said? Author and Bible teacher Jennifer Kennedy Dean says, only if the pray-er prays in the will of God:

The purpose of prayer is to release the power of God to accomplish the purpose of God. The purpose of prayer is to discover God’s will, not obligate Him to do mine, to reflect God’s mind, not change it….[Of course] changing my prayer focus from my own satisfaction and happiness to God’s glory and eternal purposes would take a brand new heart.*

I John 5:14,15 “and this is the confidence we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that he hear us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” (KJV) No, it’s not magic. Answered prayer is the result of the heart of the believer. “If the believer delights in the Lord, He will give her the desires of her heart. If she commits her way unto the Lord and trusts in Him, He will bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:4,5

Thanking Jesus for a brand new heart,

Dawn

small-heart

*Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Live a Praying Life: Open Your Life to God’s Power and Provision (Birmingham, AL: New Hope Publishers, 2011), p. 30.

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7 comments on “Prayer Magic?

  1. Just today, I made a comment to someone that I really didn’t understand prayer to it’s fullest extent. If God knows my heart, knows what is best for me, and the Holy Spirit knows that I don’t know how to pray as I ought and intercedes for me, then why pray at all??? And there are times I dump that in God’s lap with a big sigh and just pray with David, “Search me, oh God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” Since I had to memorize that verse as a kid and we had to repeat it at the end of our Sunday School class every Sunday, it is engrained in every fiber of my being. David asks four things of God and seems to me to sum up the entire realm of my life — my heart, my thoughts, my ways, and the direction of my life.

    It’s when it comes to the outside influences on my life — the stuff I can’t control or change — it’s those things that I wonder about when I pray. Are they there with a purpose and plan for me that God is using to change me, or can I ask for the “magic touch” and have Him remove it all and change the course of things as you spoke of. Dawn, as usual, you will have me digging and searching. Thank you for your thoughts here!

    • Oh, Cora, my eyes filled with tears when I saw you here. I am so happy you dropped by and left some “footprints”. Prayer is so much for us, isn’t it? And isn’t that just like God, making us do things for our good so that we ultimately become like Him. Sometimes I wonder if I make any progress at all and then I get a leap of faith. In my life it seems like a lot of littles have to occur before I note any movement at all. Slow learner? Probably, but God is merciful, tender and compassionate, ready to forgive and keeps on with the seventy times seven.

      Did you get my invitation on Facebook? There was a Christmas Craft fair featuring the goods made by women across the world. My friend, Carrie, posted it and since it was in Florida and I think within the area where you live, I posted to you. You and Carrie really would love one another. Someday I hope your paths cross, just like ours did. What a gift from God that was for me.

      I pray you are well. I will never get over your still having your central line after you haven’t needed it for years. Do take care.

      Love you a lot,
      Dawn

  2. Cora, first off, your thoughts are a replica of mine… you penned what goes on in my heart continually… I so often wonder what our prayers accomplish or if they are meant to accomplish anything or if they are just a confirmation that we trust our Heavenly Father and that perhaps that is enough. I know my groanings go up often and I trust Him to understand, He who knows all things, who also knows my heart’s cry. The search me O God, verse, also at my tongue tip, and also remembering The angel’s reply to Daniel, that it was his prayers for all those days that brought the answer needed through the battle in the heavenlies… and so I pray on; mostly though because I know there is no other I can go to who is so Faithful, and so Loving, and so Committed to what is best for us all. His Spirit bears witness with mine that we belong to Him and that He will make His heart’s desire ours… and so we come to Him and I. groan. often.
    Dawn, I love the italics on prayer (The purpose of prayer is to release the power of God to accomplish the purpose of God. The purpose of prayer is to discover God’s will, not obligate Him to do mine, to reflect God’s mind, not change it….[Of course] changing my prayer focus from my own satisfaction and happiness to God’s glory and eternal purposes would take a brand new heart.*)

    I am so glad that He has given us a brand new heart… and that He abides there

    I am glad that we can pray together and be thankful together…

    • God of the angel armies enlists us as cheerleaders. Oh, to be like Daniel not wavering in any circumstance. As he trusted the Lord as a youth and learned how the Lord would lead him and communicate with him, he knew when to stop everything and listen. He not only listened, but he also did not hesitate to act. He moved in the will of God and that settled it for him. Whatever he had to do, he did. Oh to be a Daniel, o to stand alone. Cora’s singing it now, I bet.

    • This week my heart got a spiritual defibrillation, Debbie. One of the women in my Bible Study told a story about her daughter coming home from Bible School and saying her Dad, “You know, Dad, you think you know what’s going on with every body, but you really don’t. Listen.” Those words were for me. I arranged to meet someone whom I really would rather avoid. I went with a mediator so that the exchange would not get sidetracked. This woman shared really deeply about her situation and I was undone. She was under super attack from all sides and I didn’t know any of it. No wonder she was less than stellar. I am trying to remember that I really don’t know what’s going on with anybody, including myself much of the time. Thanks for appreciating my description of what has been a real revelatory week for me.

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