Monday, May 5, 2014

Does God hear our prayers?

One of Billy Graham's readers asks him about the the effectiveness of prayer and Billy gives quite a poor answer...
QUESTION: Our pastor always prays for our leaders and for world peace, but does it really do any good? The world seems just as messed up as it ever was. Isn’t praying for vague things like “world peace” a waste of time? — K.S.
Yes, praying for world peace is a waste of time. But that's not because the prayer is vague, but rather because prayer simply doesn't work. But what does Billy think about this question...?
Rev. Graham: If God isn’t concerned about us, or if He isn’t able to do anything about the evils in our world, then yes, it is useless to pray for world peace (or anything else, for that matter).
But God isn’t like this! God loves us and is deeply concerned about the evils we face. Furthermore, He is all-powerful and is able to do something about them. This is why we can expect Him to answer our prayers according to His perfect will, including our prayers for peace among the nations (and everything else that concerns us). Centuries ago, the prophet Isaiah declared, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1).
Despite thinking he's wrapping this question up, no doubt, Graham still hasn't addressed the chief question. If God hears and answers prayers, and so many in the world regularly pray for world peace, why don't we have it yet? Maybe he'll finally get to that in the third paragraph...
Does this mean all evils would vanish if we just prayed hard enough? No it doesn’t, because evil is still real, and Satan is still at work. Only when Christ comes again and Satan’s power is broken will the world know true and lasting peace. But in the meantime, God commands us to pray for “all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:2).
What a cop-out of an answer... And one that contradicts the previous paragraph, no less! So prayers to God for peace don't work because of Satan? But he just said that God is all-powerful and wants to bring peace. So if God is all-powerful, Satan isn't a problem for him. If God wants world peace, he
could just snap his fingers and we'd have world peace. Since he's supposed to have limitless power, that brings us to the question of if he really wants to bring peace. If he does, again, it's no problem for him. But if he doesn't want to bring peace, or just doesn't care to intervene (when he could) and instead allows so much suffering, why should anyone call him just or loving?

And furthermore, Graham said that God can't bring peace until Jesus kicks Satan out of town, yet says to continue praying for peace. Sorry, but doesn't that sound a bit futile?

-Brain Hulk

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