RE: Prayer parallel?

From: Sondra Brasile (
Date: Thu May 22 2003 - 11:23:57 EDT

  • Next message: Debbie Mann: "RE: Response to Howard on Tillich & Bultmann"

    Debbie and Jim,

    It has always seemed to me, and this is confirmed through personal
    experience, that when one walks closely with God they are able to "know
    God's will" or at least be quite sure what God would do or what He would
    have happen in a given situation. God will "move" them to pray something or
    put something upon their hearts, some issue or subject tends to weigh heavy
    on their mind or heart. First and foremost, for example some no brainers are
    obviously winning lost souls and spreading the Gospel. The Bible stipulates
    praying "God's will" and if your prayers align with His will they will be
    It seems like it adds a deeper dimension to the, possibly too shallow or too
    immature, thought to "pray for anything and everything and God will give it
    to you" idea. It puts more responsibility on us to try to know Him well
    enough to know "His will" and to recognize His stirrings and His voice.

    I prayed His will once that I know of and I witnessed a miracle. It was in
    regards to my husband's salvation and the prayer that I prayed wasn't asking
    God for anything. I knew my hubby wasn't a Christian, although he pretended
    to be and claimed to be, I could see through the act (it's hard to hide that
    fact from your spouse). God, for weeks had laid it upon my heart to give Him
    "my will" to lay down myself in order for Him to reach my husband. The way
    it feels to me now is that He was the gentlest gentleman and asked me first,
    to step aside, to put myself aside so that he could teach some serious
    lessons to my husband, I have no idea what would have happened if I hadn't
    complied, I don't want to know, but I did and it was the most painful thing
    I've ever experienced going through. In that prayer I attached one
    condition, "IF IT WILL WORK and you know it will, I will go to Hell and back
    if it will end in him being saved". Apparently God "knew" it would work
    because I truly went through Hell. He asked because He had to use ME to do
    it, I was the main tool He used to bring about this lesson, it was nothing
    He "did", He only needed to show me the truth. He revealed the truth to me 3
    months later in a dream, every detail of things I could never have known, it
    was without any doubt supernatural. When I awoke from that dream my life was
    changed forever, I found out my husband and the father of my children was
    not the man I thought he was at all for the past 15 years (of course I
    didn't really believe what I had dreamt, so it took me a while to figure it
    out). Neither of us will ever be the same again (my hubby or I) and it DID
    work, my husband repented, went through intensive counseling, even spent
    time in jail, (and one deviated septum from where I punched him in the
    face:) but he has been a Christian for about 5 years now and looking back,
    it was nothing short of a miracle. You can't prove it scientifically but if
    you went through everything that happened and I guess figured out the
    probability of it happening the way it did by accident, I'm sure it would
    seem nearly impossible for all those things to happen the way they did to
    bring about the effect that I had prayed ahead of time for, 3 years and 3
    months before the fact.

    Sondra Brasile

    >From: "Debbie Mann" <>
    >To: "Asa" <>
    >Subject: RE: Prayer parallel?
    >Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 20:30:04 -0500
    >If God has something happen, that has a perfectly respectable probability
    >happening, right after one asks for it - is that a Miracle by Howard's or
    >many other's definition? If I pray for my husband 30 days out of 100, and
    >those thirty days he lands 10 clients and loses 1 and on the other 70 he
    >loses 6 and gains 1, is that a miracle? If this pattern continues for a
    >period of many years, is it a miracle? If I continually ask God to
    >choreograph my life and have product A with me when I need product A and
    >product B with me when I need product B and had no way of knowing which I
    >would need, but always tended to have the right one at the right time - is
    >it a miracle? The probabilities of each event are high. The trends begin to
    >have very low probabilities. But no happening is particularly out of the
    >ordinary. None of these things are walking on water or levitation or
    >anything in the least mysterious.
    > -----Original Message-----
    >From: []On
    >Behalf Of Jim Armstrong
    >Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 7:46 PM
    >Subject: Re: Prayer parallel?
    > Just to be very clear, the gist of my query was that it looks to me like
    >answers to prayer are essentially "small(?)" miracles, being departures
    >the apparent natural course of events. If that is the case, then the
    >discussions about miracles should essentially be descriptive of responses
    >prayer as well. It seems to me this might change the flavor of the
    >discussion a bit.
    > Regards - JimA
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Jim Armstrong []
    > Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 12:39 PM
    > To: Howard J. Van Till
    > Cc:
    > Subject: Prayer parallel?
    > I have a question that somewhat parallels some aspects of this
    > You (and others) have alluded to a line of thinking that the order of
    >the day in creation is ...uh ...order, cause and effect, operation that is
    >consistent with the RFEP concept (which BTW I embrace as well). Miracles,
    >whatever extent they occur, are what they are precisely because they
    >some aspect of that consistency. The argument at the extreme is whether it
    >might be reasonable then to explore the notion that God might in fact
    >perform no miracles at all (aside from creation) because it is against his
    > My question has to do with prayer, and the question springs from a
    >couple of considerations, one of which is echoed in your words, "... is
    >consistent with the totality of my life experience, which includes my
    >experience as a person trained in science." I am troubled by the naivete of
    >statements of the sort that there are three answers to prayer, "OK", "No",
    >and "Not now". I've pondered that a long time, and it just seems that if I
    >consider the whole landscape of prayer(s) that there are a great many that
    >simply are not responded to. Moreover, I realized that if more than a few
    >"miraculous" prayers were answered, we would undoubtedly live in a more
    >chaotic and reliable world than exists now. That does not even consider
    >collateral issues like contradictory prayers, or the sheer volume of
    >prayers. It doesn't take long to begin thinking in terms of some way of
    >explaining how only certain numbers and/or certain kinds of prayers might
    >likely to be responded to. Historically, the most important prayers were
    >punctuated with sacrifice.
    > Now I am fully aware that this touches on some pretty sensitive stuff,
    >and even has big implications with respect to important things like hope,
    >but doesn't it seem that there is a strong, maybe even definitional
    >between the the matters of miracles and prayer? Don't the same character
    >considerations and extremal possibilities apply? What might be your (or
    >others') thoughts in this area?
    > Jim Armstrong
    > Howard J. Van Till wrote:
    > >From: Burgy <>
    > > Howard asked: "Interesting comment. Could you elaborate on that a
    > > your judgment, what was/is the character of the misunderstanding of
    > > that "liberals" manifest?"
    > >
    > > I like George's answer, but mine is a little bit different. As I
    > > Bultmann, he seems to have been so awed by the success of modern
    > > that he decided that the resurrection and other biblical miracles
    > > quite thouroughly disproven.
    > I'd like to move from the evaluation of particular theologians to the
    >broader question, Is it SCIENCE that discourages belief in miracles as
    >supernatural (the overpowering of nature) acts of God?
    > I'm inclined to suggest that it's not primarily a scientific issue,
    >a much more comprehensive theological/metaphysical issue -- a worldview
    >issue. What is the fundamental character of God, the World, and the
    >God-World relationship? Science has contributed much to our understanding
    >certain aspects of the world, but what can it contribute to our concept of
    >God or of the God-World relationship unless it is placed in a much larger
    >conceptual framework?
    > The RFEP concept that I have formulated posits that supernatural acts
    >God (specifically, form-conferring interventions) are unnecessary for the
    >actualization of any of the life forms that have appeared in the course of
    >the Creation's formational history. This stands in contrast to any form of
    >episodic or special creationism. Nonetheless, during most of my life I have
    >had no reason (either scientific or theological) to categorically rule out
    >the occurrence of miracles. My usual comment has been that the RFEP was
    >silent on this question and that miracles would have to be considered on
    >their own merit as exceptions to the kind of phenomena amenable to
    >scientific analysis. The RFEP by itself does not rule out traditional
    >Christian theology. I still hold to that.
    > In his book, Religion and Scientific Naturalism, however, process
    >theologian David Ray Griffin criticized my approach for its failure to be
    >sufficiently daring and consistent. In effect, his question to me was, If
    >supernatural intervention is unnecessary for the whole of the universe's
    >formational history (as I believe it is) , then why not be consistent and
    >dare to generalize to the position that supernatural intervention is not
    >only unnecessary, but totally out of character for God. Reject
    >supernaturalism altogether and adopt a naturalistic theism.
    > I have said on many occasions that I found Griffin's criticism the
    >valuable criticism I have ever received. The consistency he encourages
    >good sense to me. The naturalistic theism he articulates is consistent with
    >the totality of my life experience, which includes my experience as a
    >trained in science. But it is not science, by itself, that moves me away
    >from traditional supernaturalism toward naturalistic theism. It is the way
    >that naturalistic theism rings true to the whole of my life experience that
    >attracts me to it.
    > I am not asking for anyone on this list to agree with my choice. The
    >limited point is that my choice is one that goes far beyond science. To tie
    >in with my opening question, SCIENCE does not deserve either the credit or
    >blame for my choice.
    > Howard Van Till

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