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Author: klinedanner Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 195645  
Subject: What Happens When We Pray? Date: 11/29/2000 3:57 PM
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To All Christian Fools:

If you take a look at my profile, you'll notice that i am currently reading "The Divine Conspiracy" by Dallas Willard. Excellent book; i highly recommend it. He challenges a lot of commonly held doctrinal notions, but in a very intelligent, respectful manner. You will not regret purchasing and reading this book. Now on to the reason for my post...

I find myself agreeing with much of what Willard states in this book. But there is an issue on which he and i seem to disagree pretty clearly. Willard believes that our prayers "change" God. He does not think God is fickle and can be swayed by our whimsical requests. But he does believe God has an ultimate purpose, and that this purpose can be acheived through different possible paths. He cites the verses in Genesis 18 where Abraham argues with God and convinces Him not to destroy everyone living in Sodom and Gomorrah. His reasoning is that if Moses hadn't changed God's mind, God would have destroyed every inhabitant of those cities. By the end of the conversation, God had yielded and said he would spare the entire population if ten righteous people could be found.

This line of reasoning makes me very uneasy. I have always believed that God is all-knowing, all-powerful and thus canNOT be changed by us. He has all the power and control. We cannot alter even the manner in which He accomplishes His Will by anything we say or do. My understanding is that we pray simply because God chooses to use us in His plan. In an amazing way that we cannot understand, God' Will is carried out in part *through* our prayers, not because of them.

I'm not sure that Willard's point of view and my own are mutually exclusive. But something on this matter eludes me. And don't think that i've done a full, fair, and accurate description of Willard's position. Check out chapter 7 in the book to read more on this topic.

I don't think this is a controversial topic on the same level as homosexuality or politics, and neither does it seem to me to be a divide between liberal and conservative or fundamentalist or anything like that. I thought it might be a welcome diversion from controversy for us to consider why we pray and what we all believe that prayer accomplishes.

Danner
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