Category Archives: Catechism

Christian doctrine


Prayer That Works

I just had an experience that I thought I would comment on, not because it is new, but because though it has happened enough in the past it gave me a minute of pause and I decided to write about it.

It goes like this: You pray for someone/something you said you would or that you had on your heart, and felt confidence on all counts (faith, scriptural support, heart fervency, etc) – all those things that a person who prays knows as basis for faith that God hears, and answers. Then, the very thing prayed for seems to suffer some sort of attack that creates some doubt. Did God hear? am I disqualified for some reason? what is going on?

In this instance I prayed for some people in missions, and my daughter specifically, to be protected particularly in traffic. Whether simultaneously or soon after a report of a serious accident. So, what is going on here? Did this prayer not work or did it work, but in a flawed way. Some people are not going to like the phrasing “prayer working”, but we labor in our prayers, so it seems like a good way to think about this. And James speaks of effectual prayers, effectual meaning “producing an intended effect”.

While there might be numerous explanations, one that ought to be considered, when a seemingly opposite situation seems to come forward than the one prayed for, is that you have walked into enemy territory. You have started to wage war spiritually. Sometimes the enemy of our souls is used to having dominion over an area, of life, of a family, of a city or nation, and the prayer of a fervent saint is making an inroad of uncomfortable efficacy to take back blessing for the situation prayed for.

You may be experiencing the resistance of a an evil spiritual power. That is one possibility that you should consider. I believe the Spirit of God can give you insight into whether this is the case in your particular request. There are times when Jesus said we should be encouraged when we see seemingly hostile events taking place.

In the case of my own prayer, the lives of the people in that accident were kept, even though there was injury. My daughter was not involved though some of her coworkers were. What does this tell me? It tells me that in an area that desperately needs the blessings and freedom of the gospel, prayer for mission workers should be redoubled. That is right- I am encouraged to further pray for protection… to meet resistance with faith in the power of the covenant in Jesus blood. And therein is the key to prayer that works. God honors His covenant in the blood of Jesus. It is our confidence in that that the devil fears, and the enemy of our souls will try to squelch. The gospel (good news) of freedom is the news that a covenant, an everlasting agreement, has been given to us and sealed with the blood of God’s only begotten son. The psalm 91 promises of protection and deliverance are ours in Christ Jesus. When we know that God is pleased to answer us, then our prayer will “work”. Although it is more accurate to say that we know that God is going to act on our behalf.

I encourage you to pray, and to find what is promised you in the eternal covenant in Christ Jesus for us.


Our Daily Bread

I came across a discussion of the Greek word translated “daily” in the Lord’s Prayer, epiousion. Via Challies, the article, “How Do We Define Biblical Words?” pointed out that this particular segment of the Lord’s prayer had some controversy surrounding it. That was news to me, though years ago another part of the Lord’s prayer, “lead me not into temptation”, took on a whole different interpretation than I had expected when a discussion moved me to look into that.

So, in what seemed a simple enough request there is much more to learn about what we are being taught. There some consensus that the word translated “daily” is more the way we would understand a concept like “Superessential”.

Jesus uses an unbelievably strange word that does not occur anywhere else in all Greek literature except for discussions of the Lord’s Prayer. -Bill Mounce

Looking further … this came up in a forum:

But epi + ousia also, literally, means ‘above essence’ or ‘above being’; and so there is a second possible interpretation, which would render epiousion as something akin to ‘superessential, supersubstantial’, etc. This meaning, too, was not unknown to the Fathers; and particularly because it related to bread in the prayer, the Eucharistic overtones of the word were significant. Thus the request in the prayer is for bread that goes beyond that of mere subsistence: the bread of life. We see this, for example, in St Cyril of Jerusalem:

“Give us this day our substantial bread. Common bread is not substantial bread, but this Holy Bread is substantial, that is, appointed for the substance of the soul. For this Bread goeth not into the belly and is cast out into the draught, but is distributed into thy whole system for the benefit of body and soul. But by ‘this day’, he means, ‘each day’, as also Paul said, ‘While it is called today’ (cf. Hebrews 3.15).” (St Cyril, Mystagogical Catecheses, 5.15)

For me, it draws together with ideas on Jesus teaching that He came to give life abundantly. There is a great deal of teaching now on this abundance…just as formerly there was much interpretation given about having only so much as was “needful”.

I don’t think we are looking so much at conflicting ideas as the building of a concept that our own selfish, self promoting natures conflict with. The idea has unity, our desire to rationalize our choices does not. At the root of it is our struggles with learning how to pray. It then makes perfect sense that this would be included in the master pattern on how to pray.

We need more to survive and thrive in each day than some pieces of physical bread, but we do need physical bread. Every day we look to the almighty God, our great sustainer. It evokes the name of God, El Shaddai, Our Provider. With the whole concept of someone who nourishes us in the most elemental way.

It melds with an idea I have thought of lately- that we have not only lost the concept of what it is to “Father”, but what the true picture of “Mother ” is, as well. This is why it is so easy to get mixed up in how we relate on these most elemental levels.

The farther from God, the more lost we are in so many ways.

Truegrit Prayer Posts

Prayer Posts -What I Understand About Prayer

I seem to have written much about this topic over the years. If you wish to grow your prayer life …I pray… that these essays will help you.

-The doctrine and the doing-

Like I said, I seem to have written quite a bit on prayer, here are some related things:
Opinionating that may or may not relate to prayer life:
Showmanship Religion
3 Kinds of Faith