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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: peter_speckhard on May 06, 2021, 11:41:52 PM

Title: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 06, 2021, 11:41:52 PM
"Throughout our history, Americans of many religions and belief systems have turned to prayer for strength, hope and guidance. Prayer has nourished countless souls and powered moral movements – including essential fights against racial injustice, child labor and infringement on the rights of disabled Americans. Prayer is also a daily practice for many, whether it is to ask for help or strength, or to give thanks over blessings bestowed."

That quote was the main part of the president's proclamation for the National Day of Prayer. Conservative news media is touting the lack of any reference to God. Setting that issue aside, I think many Christians fall into this trap of thinking that prayer has power. Perhaps the Triumph of the Therapeutic from way back in the day contributes to the misconception. 

Prayer is talking to God. The power to answer it is God's. Prayer has zero power in and of itself. If I write a letter to the Make A Wish Foundation to help a cancer-stricken child, I'm not turning to the power of the United Stated Postal Service to make a difference. The postal service is a means of communication and nothing more. As is prayer. Too many people, I'm convinced, think they're being high-minded by talking about prayer without talking about about God because that way they can avoid religious differences. But such enlightened openness is a false illusion.  It treats religious practice as some sort of magic or keying into the hidden physics of the universe without reference to faith or God. It is as though prayer and the power of positive thinking or mind over matter were all one and the same.

Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2021, 12:03:13 AM
I think, Peter, that you and others are just itching for a fight. “See! Democrats can’t even say ‘God!’” Let it go. Prayer outside our narrow, isolated “church” circles is rarely a theologically nuanced as our beloved systematics. Why not just be glad for the reference?
People in recovery pray all the time, seeking help in their life struggles. But not necessarily in LCMS ways.
The 11th step of AA’s 12 says “we sought through  prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.“
AA has also adopted the famed “serenity prayer.”
“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
That’s talking to God.
Why pick a fight over the president’s proclamation?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2021, 06:32:38 AM
I think, Peter, that you and others are just itching for a fight. “See! Democrats can’t even say ‘God!’” Let it go. Prayer outside our narrow, isolated “church” circles is rarely a theologically nuanced as our beloved systematics. Why not just be glad for the reference?
People in recovery pray all the time, seeking help in their life struggles. But not necessarily in LCMS ways.
The 11th step of AA’s 12 says “we sought through  prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.“
AA has also adopted the famed “serenity prayer.”
“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
That’s talking to God.
Why pick a fight over the president’s proclamation?
I suppose, Charles, that you're especially sensitive to those who might pick a fight over the current occupant of the White House having vigorously done just that for the last four years. Your example of the AA 11th Step pointed out precisely what was objectionable in President Biden's proclamation. By not acknowledging that prayer by its very nature is to someone however the prayer understands God, LCMS, Catholic, or Great Spirit of Progressivism, he subverted the very nature of prayer. What he specifically did not do is talk about talking to God.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2021, 08:10:25 AM
I think, Peter, that you and others are just itching for a fight. “See! Democrats can’t even say ‘God!’” Let it go. Prayer outside our narrow, isolated “church” circles is rarely a theologically nuanced as our beloved systematics. Why not just be glad for the reference?
People in recovery pray all the time, seeking help in their life struggles. But not necessarily in LCMS ways.
The 11th step of AA’s 12 says “we sought through  prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.“
AA has also adopted the famed “serenity prayer.”
“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
That’s talking to God.
Why pick a fight over the president’s proclamation?
I'm not picking a fight. I'm pointing out a problem with having a national day of prayer without acknowledging an object of prayer, which contributes to a popular sense (popular also in many of our churches) that prayer itself is what it powerful.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: John_Hannah on May 07, 2021, 08:20:49 AM
My experience with these type of events whether hosted by Democratic, Republican, or independent (as in the military) leaders is that they inevitably fall far short of any serious theological substance. If you don't like it, stay away. Or, at least, go to church regularly and vote your choice knowing God blesses that choice.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2021, 08:45:05 AM
I do not look for theological profundity (or any other profundity for that matter) in the political arena, but I do long for at least the theological acumen shown in the AA Twelve Steps, especially from one who has made a point of accentuating his Catholicism. 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: RDPreus on May 07, 2021, 08:47:02 AM
I don't know if it is deliberate, but the National Day of Prayer falls in the week before Rogate Sunday.  Here's an opportunity for everyone to hear what Jesus has to say about prayer.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on May 07, 2021, 09:10:30 AM
RD, the National Day of Prayer is always the first Thursday in May.  This year it happens to precede Rogate Sunday, but other years . . .
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2021, 09:13:00 AM
Ah, Pastor Fienen but in the language of the 12 step recovery programs that phrase “God, as we understand him,“ is important. Recovery literature makes it clear that “God,“ need not be the “God“ that many people reference. Often “higher power” is used.
And in today’s largely secular culture, the word designating a deity may indeed be a little bit vague. But it is not vague in the mind of one who chooses to have a national day of prayer or to recognize the need for a higher power in recovery uses it.
Peter’s gripe is, in my not so humble opinion, argumentative. Serves no purpose except to swipe at the president.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: RDPreus on May 07, 2021, 09:22:13 AM
Thank you, Mike.

What better way for us to evaluate the National Day of Prayer than in light of these words of our Savior?

St. John 16:23 30 
"And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father." His disciples said to Him, "See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God."
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2021, 09:25:58 AM
No, PastorvPreus, the better way to evaluate a call for a national day of prayer is to recognize that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2021, 09:32:21 AM
Ah, Pastor Fienen but in the language of the 12 step recovery programs that phrase “God, as we understand him,“ is important. Recovery literature makes it clear that “God,“ need not be the “God“ that many people reference. Often “higher power” is used.
And in today’s largely secular culture, the word designating a deity may indeed be a little bit vague. But it is not vague in the mind of one who chooses to have a national day of prayer or to recognize the need for a higher power in recovery uses it.
Peter’s gripe is, in my not so humble opinion, argumentative. Serves no purpose except to swipe at the president.
I recognize that in any such proclamation by a governmental official in anything like his official position, the reference to God or a higher power will be vague. Without a official state religion invoking the God of a specific religion could be divisive. But I suppose it would be too much to have had Pres. Biden acknowledge that prayer is anything more than an inward looking spiritual exercise directed at nothing outside the one who prays.


As for taking a swipe at the president, I bow to the expertise of one who has practiced that craft extensively and relentlessly over the past four years.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2021, 09:37:41 AM
If you try to make a parallel between President Biden and the hyper-lying scoundrel who formally held that office, and who still contends that he ought to be in that office, Constantly lying about how it was stolen from him, you do that. But I won’t buy it.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 07, 2021, 09:40:25 AM
I'll admit that I've never given any attention to the National Day of Prayer during my ministry.  I really can't see the purpose of it, especially since it comes from a government proclamation.  In the church every time we gather for worship is a "day of prayer."  If someone hadn't highlighted it here I might not have even known it occurred. 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: RDPreus on May 07, 2021, 09:42:39 AM
No, PastorvPreus, the better way to evaluate a call for a national day of prayer is to recognize that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.

We all know that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.  Is this not good reason for us to evaluate the National Day of Prayer in light of what our Lord Jesus says?  Or should we not consider what Jesus says about prayer?  Rev. Austin, what is your point?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 07, 2021, 09:43:36 AM
We went through a fairly heated partisan election in 2020, and it was certainly reflected on this discussion board, to the point we had to work hard to pull back from it and install new protocols.  I think that deliberate disrespectful attacks on a past president could be avoided in this forum for the sake of what we hope might be a less partisan-inflicted environment in which we work harder to discuss issues impacting the church. Can we just leave this stuff out?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2021, 09:54:41 AM
Charles, not everything is about Trump and the alternatives to Trump. My point is that prayer has to have an object. Of course Americans disagree about to whom or what we pray. So does AA. In that sense it like the phrase "under God" in the pledge. It doesn't matter so much what God we're talking about so long as we're acknowledging that our country/government/constitution is at best penultimate in our allegiance, and it doesn't matter for recovery purposes what an addict thinks God is so much as the addict know he cannot overcome his addiction on his own but that sobriety is not therefore impossible. But in both cases it does matter that there be an object. The effort to avoid one is fraught, and in this case there was a clear effort to ascribe power to prayer rather than to any object of prayer.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2021, 10:06:43 AM
If you try to make a parallel between President Biden and the hyper-lying scoundrel who formally held that office, and who still contends that he ought to be in that office, Constantly lying about how it was stolen from him, you do that. But I won’t buy it.
Both men were duly elected to the office that they held, your contention that you should determine for the rest of us who should be accorded the respect due the office and be above criticism notwithstanding.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Jeremy Loesch on May 07, 2021, 10:35:54 AM
I'll admit that I've never given any attention to the National Day of Prayer during my ministry.  I really can't see the purpose of it, especially since it comes from a government proclamation.  In the church every time we gather for worship is a "day of prayer."  If someone hadn't highlighted it here I might not have even known it occurred.

Completely agree.  I don't pay attention to it either.  I just don't see much purpose in it, as prayer is something that is done every day by the Christian. 

And I think that some people are shocked when I say that I am opposed to prayer in public schools.  When I then highlight the diversity in the classroom and the pressure placed on the teacher and the theology of prayer, then it becomes a little more understandable. 

Jeremy
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Norman Teigen on May 07, 2021, 10:51:32 AM
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Michael Slusser on May 07, 2021, 10:54:54 AM
I'm not one for "National Day . . ." (much less "World Day of . . .") either, but in this case it is Congress that is responsible. Here is this year's actual proclamation:
Quote
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a “National Day of Prayer.”

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2021, as a National Day of Prayer.  I invite the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I join all people of faith in prayers for spiritual guidance, mercy, and protection.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

If, like me, you didn't even learn of it till today, you and I are already too late.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2021, 11:20:10 AM
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage)
Interesting article and I find it on the whole quite credible. I would note, however, that the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided. How much traction has the notion gained that Donald Trump did not believe that Covid 19 was a real threat and did little to combat it or prepare for mass vaccination? This despite the effort that he sponsored to develop a vaccine in the face of mockery that such a program would at best take years to produce a vaccine.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 07, 2021, 11:40:14 AM
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage)
Interesting article and I find it on the whole quite credible. I would note, however, that the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided. How much traction has the notion gained that Donald Trump did not believe that Covid 19 was a real threat and did little to combat it or prepare for mass vaccination? This despite the effort that he sponsored to develop a vaccine in the face of mockery that such a program would at best take years to produce a vaccine.

I agree that "the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided."  But in the highly charged partisan environment in which we now live, fueled by this powerful engine of social media, it often comes down to whoever 'shouts' the loudest. 

But "divisions" in this forum are sustained by more than misinformation and so-called 'fake news.'  There are true and honest differences among us which are informed not by false information, but by differing interpretations of the good information we use.  Case in point is our ongoing debates on the Word of God itself.

Unfortunately in the highly charged partisan environment of our times, disagreeing without being disagreeable seems to be a quickly disappearing art. Emotions often overcome reason and our words reflect our anger and frustration more than they do our desire to have an honest discussion.  So we plant our partisan flags and shout from across the street at our 'enemies' on the other side.  And if the emotions rise to a high enough pitch, we take that a step further.  Which is why some people I know have disengaged almost entirely from both watching the news and from social media. 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 07, 2021, 12:02:13 PM
No, PastorvPreus, the better way to evaluate a call for a national day of prayer is to recognize that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.

We all know that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.  Is this not good reason for us to evaluate the National Day of Prayer in light of what our Lord Jesus says?  Or should we not consider what Jesus says about prayer?  Rev. Austin, what is your point?

Whatever it is, it misses Peter's point. I.e., that it is misleading to talk about prayer "without acknowledging an object of prayer," that is that one prays to someone. Okay, as one understands that someone, but we acknowledge an object of prayer rather than leading one to conclude that there is power in prayer itself.

It looks like someone still suffering from TDS is looking to pick a fight.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2021, 12:18:26 PM
My point, Pastor Preus , is that given the reality of our national civic and religious situation, I see no point in fussing about a Day of prayer because the words do not meet your particular definition of the theology or pious practice of prayer. As noted above, I thought Peter’s comment was  simply as a snarky remark about the presidents words concerning the national Day of prayer.
And, Pastor Fienen, The man who formally occupied the White House is no longer the president. He does not deserve 1 ounce of my respect, especially as he is spreading the absurd, disproven and seditious lies about the political situation in our country. We’ve already seen what this has done to his followers who attacked the capital on January 6.
His words fuel the attack on voting rights. His words potentially fuel actual physical attacks on our civic leaders, possibly the governors of states. His grip of the republican party is leading that party some very dangerous directions. They are now at the point of saying in some places, “if we lose an election, it must be because of a fraud.“
These are very dangerous things, these things that are going on in the republican party at his direction.
And if you don’t think so, I worry.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2021, 12:28:29 PM
I think, Peter, that you and others are just itching for a fight. “See! Democrats can’t even say ‘God!’” Let it go. Prayer outside our narrow, isolated “church” circles is rarely a theologically nuanced as our beloved systematics. Why not just be glad for the reference?
People in recovery pray all the time, seeking help in their life struggles. But not necessarily in LCMS ways.
The 11th step of AA’s 12 says “we sought through  prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.“
AA has also adopted the famed “serenity prayer.”
“God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
That’s talking to God.
Why pick a fight over the president’s proclamation?
I suppose, Charles, that you're especially sensitive to those who might pick a fight over the current occupant of the White House having vigorously done just that for the last four years. Your example of the AA 11th Step pointed out precisely what was objectionable in President Biden's proclamation. By not acknowledging that prayer by its very nature is to someone however the prayer understands God, LCMS, Catholic, or Great Spirit of Progressivism, he subverted the very nature of prayer. What he specifically did not do is talk about talking to God.


We've had this discussion before. Most (but not all) agreed that our God is able to hear the prayers that are addressed to other gods.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2021, 12:32:34 PM
I'll admit that I've never given any attention to the National Day of Prayer during my ministry.  I really can't see the purpose of it, especially since it comes from a government proclamation.  In the church every time we gather for worship is a "day of prayer."  If someone hadn't highlighted it here I might not have even known it occurred.

Completely agree.  I don't pay attention to it either.  I just don't see much purpose in it, as prayer is something that is done every day by the Christian. 

And I think that some people are shocked when I say that I am opposed to prayer in public schools.  When I then highlight the diversity in the classroom and the pressure placed on the teacher and the theology of prayer, then it becomes a little more understandable. 


I agree with you about prayer in public schools. In addition, there is nothing to stop Christians from praying in school privately.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2021, 12:45:19 PM
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage)


I'm thinking that Maslow's hierarchy of needs might fit into this discussion, too: belonging and love needs vs. cognitive needs.


There's also John Westerhoff's stages of faith in Will Our Children Have Faith. Movement from the "affiliative faith" stage comes through the "searching faith" stage.


He writes:


It appears, regretfully, that many adults in the church have never had the benefit of an environment which encouraged searching faith. And so they are often frightened or disturbed by adolescents who are struggling to enlarge their affiliative faith to include searching faith. Some persons are forced out of the church during this state and, sadly, some never return; others remain in searching faith the rest of their lives. In any case, we must remember that persons with searching faith still need to have all the needs of experienced and dependent faith met, even though they may appear to have cast them aside. And surely they need to be encouraged to remain within the faith community during their intellectual struggle, experimentation, and first endeavors at commitment. (p. 97)




Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2021, 12:46:20 PM
My point, Pastor Preus , is that given the reality of our national civic and religious situation, I see no point in fussing about a Day of prayer because the words do not meet your particular definition of the theology or pious practice of prayer. As noted above, I thought Peter’s comment was  simply as a snarky remark about the presidents words concerning the national Day of prayer.
And, Pastor Fienen, The man who formally occupied the White House is no longer the president. He does not deserve 1 ounce of my respect, especially as he is spreading the absurd, disproven and seditious lies about the political situation in our country. We’ve already seen what this has done to his followers who attacked the capital on January 6.
His words fuel the attack on voting rights. His words potentially fuel actual physical attacks on our civic leaders, possibly the governors of states. His grip of the republican party is leading that party some very dangerous directions. They are now at the point of saying in some places, “if we lose an election, it must be because of a fraud.“
These are very dangerous things, these things that are going on in the republican party at his direction.
And if you don’t think so, I worry.
Is "prayer" another of those words that has been cast loose from it's standard meaning to take on a new meaning so that it can no longer be used in its original sense? I'm not talking about a narrow sectarian meaning that would theoretically restrict prayer to what I as an LCMS Lutheran would call a proper prayer, but prayer as a activity of addressing supplications, thanksgiving, praise, or other thoughts to an external entity considered in some way superior to oneself. Many people of many religions pray to whatever they believe functions as what we would call God and whether it is a Christian praying to the Triune God, a Muslim praying to Allah, a Hindi praying to Brahma, or what it is prayer, a devotee praying to the one he worships. But in Pres. Biden's proclamation, prayer becomes just a spiritual exercise that the person finds enriching. The idea of praying to someone or something drops out.


As for taking a swipe at the President, you didn't used to find that at all objectionable. I will note that contesting the results of an election and persisting in claiming that the wrong person was elected was not invented by Donald J. Trump. Partisan violence was not invented by Trump followers but has been a feature of American politics since the beginning and in the last decade has been practiced also by those on the Left and by followers of Democrats. Violence in the streets and against governmental, even Federal, buildings has been committed not just by people on the Right but also by people on the Left.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2021, 12:47:25 PM
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage)
Interesting article and I find it on the whole quite credible. I would note, however, that the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided. How much traction has the notion gained that Donald Trump did not believe that Covid 19 was a real threat and did little to combat it or prepare for mass vaccination? This despite the effort that he sponsored to develop a vaccine in the face of mockery that such a program would at best take years to produce a vaccine.


What did Trump do as president to cause the development of the vaccine to happen faster than it would have if he had done nothing?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2021, 12:48:04 PM
I'll admit that I've never given any attention to the National Day of Prayer during my ministry.  I really can't see the purpose of it, especially since it comes from a government proclamation.  In the church every time we gather for worship is a "day of prayer."  If someone hadn't highlighted it here I might not have even known it occurred.

Completely agree.  I don't pay attention to it either.  I just don't see much purpose in it, as prayer is something that is done every day by the Christian. 

And I think that some people are shocked when I say that I am opposed to prayer in public schools.  When I then highlight the diversity in the classroom and the pressure placed on the teacher and the theology of prayer, then it becomes a little more understandable. 


I agree with you about prayer in public schools. In addition, there is nothing to stop Christians from praying in school privately.
It has been noted, and I think correctly, that they will never be able to completely eliminate prayer in school until they eliminate tests.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 07, 2021, 12:56:11 PM
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage)
Interesting article and I find it on the whole quite credible. I would note, however, that the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided. How much traction has the notion gained that Donald Trump did not believe that Covid 19 was a real threat and did little to combat it or prepare for mass vaccination? This despite the effort that he sponsored to develop a vaccine in the face of mockery that such a program would at best take years to produce a vaccine.


What did Trump do as president to cause the development of the vaccine to happen faster than it would have if he had done nothing?
He initiated Project Warp Speed that among other things provided money for research that allowed various vaccine developers to proceed with vaccine development without having to be concerned with the financial risk usually associated with the high cost of vaccine development with no assurance of success. It brought together private and public resources in unprecedented ways that resulted in useable vaccines in under a year that normally takes a number of years to happen.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2021, 12:59:53 PM
Pastor Fienen writes (and this is why I worry):
As for taking a swipe at the President, you didn't used to find that at all objectionable. I will note that contesting the results of an election and persisting in claiming that the wrong person was elected was not invented by Donald J. Trump.
I comment:
Doesn't matter. This is now. The election was not stolen. This is true. His lying words are fueling sedition.

Pastor Fienen:
Partisan violence was not invented by Trump followers but has been a feature of American politics since the beginning and in the last decade has been practiced also by those on the Left and by followers of Democrats.
Me:
So what? Generally wrong, no matter who does it.

Pastor Fienen:
Violence in the streets and against governmental, even Federal, buildings has been committed not just by people on the Right but also by people on the Left.
Me:
This is why I worry. Focus. Focus! It is not the left claiming that the election was stolen. I was not the left that threatened death to our Senators and members of Congress on January 6. It was not the left that planned to kidnap the governor of Michigan. It is not the left trying to restrict voting rights. It is not the left continuing the spread the lie about the 2020 election. It is not the left who elects QAnon crazies to Congress.
It is not the left who is seizing vicious control of the Republican Party and purging those (Romney, Cheney, et al.) who do not join the cry of lies and the cult of personality.
Do you not see any danger in all of this? Or is you only response the wussy-weak "well, golly gee, I think others have done this, too!"?
Trumpublicans are in a full-out assault on our democracy. Those of you who do not see this, or accept certain things just because you think he is with you on an issue or two are doing great damage.
Oh, and OK, he got the vaccine research underway and can be credited with that. That does not excuse his other deadly blunders concering COVID-19.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2021, 01:06:23 PM
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage)
Interesting article and I find it on the whole quite credible. I would note, however, that the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided. How much traction has the notion gained that Donald Trump did not believe that Covid 19 was a real threat and did little to combat it or prepare for mass vaccination? This despite the effort that he sponsored to develop a vaccine in the face of mockery that such a program would at best take years to produce a vaccine.

I agree that "the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided."  But in the highly charged partisan environment in which we now live, fueled by this powerful engine of social media, it often comes down to whoever 'shouts' the loudest. 

But "divisions" in this forum are sustained by more than misinformation and so-called 'fake news.'  There are true and honest differences among us which are informed not by false information, but by differing interpretations of the good information we use.  Case in point is our ongoing debates on the Word of God itself.

Unfortunately in the highly charged partisan environment of our times, disagreeing without being disagreeable seems to be a quickly disappearing art. Emotions often overcome reason and our words reflect our anger and frustration more than they do our desire to have an honest discussion.  So we plant our partisan flags and shout from across the street at our 'enemies' on the other side.  And if the emotions rise to a high enough pitch, we take that a step further.  Which is why some people I know have disengaged almost entirely from both watching the news and from social media.


A distinction that seems to have been lost is that between an opponent and an enemy. Lawyers may be opponents in the courtroom, but friends after the trial. Athletes are opponents in the field or on the court, but friends after the competition. Members of congress may be opponents on a particular issue (and allies on other issues,) and friends outside of the chambers. (At least it used to be that way.)


I'm thinking that in some ways, Christians (at least some) have gone the other way. Old Lutheran materials were much more negative towards non-Lutherans. I remember one catechism course that stated that no Lutheran should want to marry a Roman Catholic. Inter-marriage shouldn't be an issue, because they shouldn't happen. When I went to seminary, the Lutheran (at Wartburg) and Roman Catholic students (at Aquinas Institute of Theology) and Presbyterians (at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary) had classes together. A generation earlier, the Roman Catholic students and Lutheran students were not supposed to socialize with each other. The professor who told us this and who was a student back then said that some didn't listen and there were secret meetings off the campuses between students.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2021, 01:14:08 PM
Pastor Fienen writes (and this is why I worry):
As for taking a swipe at the President, you didn't used to find that at all objectionable. I will note that contesting the results of an election and persisting in claiming that the wrong person was elected was not invented by Donald J. Trump.
I comment:
Doesn't matter. This is now. The election was not stolen. This is true. His lying words are fueling sedition.

Pastor Fienen:
Partisan violence was not invented by Trump followers but has been a feature of American politics since the beginning and in the last decade has been practiced also by those on the Left and by followers of Democrats.
Me:
So what? Generally wrong, no matter who does it.

Pastor Fienen:
Violence in the streets and against governmental, even Federal, buildings has been committed not just by people on the Right but also by people on the Left.
Me:
This is why I worry. Focus. Focus! It is not the left claiming that the election was stolen. I was not the left that threatened death to our Senators and members of Congress on January 6. It was not the left that planned to kidnap the governor of Michigan. It is not the left trying to restrict voting rights. It is not the left continuing the spread the lie about the 2020 election. It is not the left who elects QAnon crazies to Congress.
It is not the left who is seizing vicious control of the Republican Party and purging those (Romney, Cheney, et al.) who do not join the cry of lies and the cult of personality.
Do you not see any danger in all of this? Or is you only response the wussy-weak "well, golly gee, I think others have done this, too!"?
Trumpublicans are in a full-out assault on our democracy. Those of you who do not see this, or accept certain things just because you think he is with you on an issue or two are doing great damage.
Oh, and OK, he got the vaccine research underway and can be credited with that. That does not excuse his other deadly blunders concering COVID-19.
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2021, 01:16:41 PM
The responses in this thread demonstrate the divisions that exist in this Forum and in the society at large.  I have been trying to understand this for some time.  Here is an idea:  "Belonging is Stronger Than Facts."   See today's NY Times.  https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/07/world/asia/misinformation-disinformation-fake-news.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage)
Interesting article and I find it on the whole quite credible. I would note, however, that the sharing and believing of false information and fake news is not one sided. How much traction has the notion gained that Donald Trump did not believe that Covid 19 was a real threat and did little to combat it or prepare for mass vaccination? This despite the effort that he sponsored to develop a vaccine in the face of mockery that such a program would at best take years to produce a vaccine.


What did Trump do as president to cause the development of the vaccine to happen faster than it would have if he had done nothing?
He initiated Project Warp Speed that among other things provided money for research that allowed various vaccine developers to proceed with vaccine development without having to be concerned with the financial risk usually associated with the high cost of vaccine development with no assurance of success. It brought together private and public resources in unprecedented ways that resulted in useable vaccines in under a year that normally takes a number of years to happen.


While this report (https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-21-319#:~:text=Operation%20Warp%20Speed%20(OWS)%E2%80%94,vaccine%20development%20and%20mitigate%20risk.) highlights what Operation Warp Speed [OWS] did, there is no mention of money for research.


While it's impossible to know what might have happened if OWS had not existed. The different mechanisms to stimulate an immune response were already in development. (Our son works for a company that has been doing research on RNA for medical purposes.) It's possible that Trumps OWS got results in months that would normally have taken years. It's also possible that all of his rhetoric about OWS made little difference in the speed that the drug companies were working at creating a virus. I don't think OWS made any difference in the way the CDC gave special authorization for the use of the vaccines once they had been through their testing.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 07, 2021, 01:19:42 PM
Pastor Fienen writes (and this is why I worry):
As for taking a swipe at the President, you didn't used to find that at all objectionable. I will note that contesting the results of an election and persisting in claiming that the wrong person was elected was not invented by Donald J. Trump.
I comment:
Doesn't matter. This is now. The election was not stolen. This is true. His lying words are fueling sedition.

Pastor Fienen:
Partisan violence was not invented by Trump followers but has been a feature of American politics since the beginning and in the last decade has been practiced also by those on the Left and by followers of Democrats.
Me:
So what? Generally wrong, no matter who does it.

Pastor Fienen:
Violence in the streets and against governmental, even Federal, buildings has been committed not just by people on the Right but also by people on the Left.
Me:
This is why I worry. Focus. Focus! It is not the left claiming that the election was stolen. I was not the left that threatened death to our Senators and members of Congress on January 6. It was not the left that planned to kidnap the governor of Michigan. It is not the left trying to restrict voting rights. It is not the left continuing the spread the lie about the 2020 election. It is not the left who elects QAnon crazies to Congress.
It is not the left who is seizing vicious control of the Republican Party and purging those (Romney, Cheney, et al.) who do not join the cry of lies and the cult of personality.
Do you not see any danger in all of this? Or is you only response the wussy-weak "well, golly gee, I think others have done this, too!"?
Trumpublicans are in a full-out assault on our democracy. Those of you who do not see this, or accept certain things just because you think he is with you on an issue or two are doing great damage.
Oh, and OK, he got the vaccine research underway and can be credited with that. That does not excuse his other deadly blunders concering COVID-19.
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.

Thank you.  I am biting my tongue, aware that we were going to avoid this whole political bickering and swiping.  Part of me is so tempted to dive in, but I realize it's that old, dark pit from which little good comes.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2021, 01:20:26 PM
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.


Can Lutherans in the U.S. come together for prayer? Will LCMS clergy gather to pray with ELCA clergy? What restrictions might be in place? A report (whether true or not, I don't know) was that when the District President of Kansas was to receive an award from Bethany College (an ELCA school,) he was allowed to participate if it wasn't a worship service; specifically, as the story goes, no vestments and no candles.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 07, 2021, 01:25:16 PM
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.


Can Lutherans in the U.S. come together for prayer? Will LCMS clergy gather to pray with ELCA clergy? What restrictions might be in place? A report (whether true or not, I don't know) was that when the District President of Kansas was to receive an award from Bethany College (an ELCA school,) he was allowed to participate if it wasn't a worship service; specifically, as the story goes, no vestments and no candles.

I suppose part of the answer lies in what one means by "come together for prayer."  In my understanding that is a call for worship.  When people specifically come together for prayer they are coming for a time of worship.

And for what purpose would ELCA and LCMS clergy specifically come together "for prayer"?  That might also answer your question. 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 07, 2021, 01:34:52 PM
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.


Can Lutherans in the U.S. come together for prayer? Will LCMS clergy gather to pray with ELCA clergy? What restrictions might be in place? A report (whether true or not, I don't know) was that when the District President of Kansas was to receive an award from Bethany College (an ELCA school,) he was allowed to participate if it wasn't a worship service; specifically, as the story goes, no vestments and no candles.

I suppose part of the answer lies in what one means by "come together for prayer."  In my understanding that is a call for worship.  When people specifically come together for prayer they are coming for a time of worship.

And for what purpose would ELCA and LCMS clergy specifically come together "for prayer"?  That might also answer your question.


When I finished up my college at Western Washington (after two years at Concordia Portland,) there were a group of Christians who gathered around the flagpole for prayer. The purpose was to pray and to show a highly secular campus and state (only about 30% churched at the time) something about Christian unity. Growing up in the highly unchurched Pacific Northwest, there was a greater sense of Christians vs. non-Christians than one denomination vs. other denominations that I experienced in the more highly churched midwest.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2021, 01:43:23 PM
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.


Can Lutherans in the U.S. come together for prayer? Will LCMS clergy gather to pray with ELCA clergy? What restrictions might be in place? A report (whether true or not, I don't know) was that when the District President of Kansas was to receive an award from Bethany College (an ELCA school,) he was allowed to participate if it wasn't a worship service; specifically, as the story goes, no vestments and no candles.
Lutherans come together for prayer all the time across denominational lines. When I get together with non-Lutheran clergy at conferences there is generally some sort of opening prayer. What we don't do is have joint leadership of a service. If I attend a Catholic Mass, I still pray.   
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Eugene Crowner on May 07, 2021, 01:48:43 PM
As to elections, the retirement center where I live had a simple ballot about food choices.

At a later meeting with the Executive Director, one woman was very upset that no one had been watching the ballot box.

Later, I mentioned the discussion to a fellow resident, born and raised in Chicago.  His wry comment was that the woman must be from Chicago.

Eugene Crowner
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: prsauer on May 07, 2021, 06:16:49 PM
My experience with these type of events whether hosted by Democratic, Republican, or independent (as in the military) leaders is that they inevitably fall far short of any serious theological substance. If you don't like it, stay away. Or, at least, go to church regularly and vote your choice knowing God blesses that choice.

Peace, JOHN

We hosted a National Day of Prayer event here at Parks Reserve Forces Training Area. The local Assemblywoman that we had scheduled to talk about her family's experiences as refugees from the Holocaust and how that has shaped her public life and service was unable to attend at the last minute. In her place we read President Biden's Proclamation, Ronald Reagan's final proclamation as president (https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/archives/speech/proclamation-5767-national-day-prayer-1988) and in my remarks on the history and purpose of the day I quoted from former president Barak Obama:

"When we pray, we are reminded that we are not alone -- our hope is a common hope, our pain is shared, and we are all children of God. . . In the face of tremendous challenges, prayer is a powerful force for peace, justice, and a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow.  Today, as we join together in fellowship, we seek to see our own reflection in the struggle of others, to be our brothers' and sisters' keepers, and to keep faith -- in one another, in the promise of our Nation, and in the Almighty.”

What struck me and some of the other attendees was how flat President Biden's Proclamation was from a rhetorical perspective. Perhaps the contrast was heightened by our use of two of the better "story telling" presidents in recent history, but President Biden's proclamation wasn't very aspirational or hopeful.

I don't expect or want my president to be a theologian - which is why I am not a big fan of the National Day of Prayer anyway. Mainly, I hope for more hopeful words in a world that is increasingly becoming dystopian for many.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 07, 2021, 06:35:45 PM
I would prefer it if Presidents did not proclaim any national days of prayer.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 07, 2021, 06:41:57 PM
My experience with these type of events whether hosted by Democratic, Republican, or independent (as in the military) leaders is that they inevitably fall far short of any serious theological substance. If you don't like it, stay away. Or, at least, go to church regularly and vote your choice knowing God blesses that choice.

Peace, JOHN

We hosted a National Day of Prayer event here at Parks Reserve Forces Training Area. The local Assemblywoman that we had scheduled to talk about her family's experiences as refugees from the Holocaust and how that has shaped here public life and service was unable to attend at the last minute. In her place we read President Biden's Proclamation, Ronald Reagan's final proclamation as president (https://www.reaganlibrary.gov/archives/speech/proclamation-5767-national-day-prayer-1988) and in my remarks on the history and purpose of the day I quoted from former president Barak Obama:

"When we pray, we are reminded that we are not alone -- our hope is a common hope, our pain is shared, and we are all children of God. . . In the face of tremendous challenges, prayer is a powerful force for peace, justice, and a brighter, more hopeful tomorrow.  Today, as we join together in fellowship, we seek to see our own reflection in the struggle of others, to be our brothers' and sisters' keepers, and to keep faith -- in one another, in the promise of our Nation, and in the Almighty.”

What struck me and some of the other attendees was how flat President Biden's Proclamation was from a rhetorical perspective. Perhaps the contrast was heightened by our use of two of the better "story telling" presidents in recent history, but President Biden's proclamation wasn't very aspirational or hopeful.

I don't expect or want my president to be a theologian - which is why I am not a big fan of the National Day of Prayer anyway. Mainly, I hope for more hopeful words in a world that is increasingly becoming dystopian for many.
This dovetails with my thoughts. Not a big fan of the day anyway, and not expecting profound theology from a politician, but hoping for something that doesn't make our default civil religion even more vapid. I don't think Biden writes his own stuff, so I think the generally insipid nature of his remarks probably stem from speechwriters' sensing a greater and greater disconnect between traditional religious practice and modern politics. People are okay with prayer as a therapeutic exercise that has power as such, but not as an appeal to an actual higher power. The advent of people actively saying/tweeting that they don't want anyone's prayers after some tragedy (usually a shooting) is something that never could have happened even a decade or two ago. 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: RDPreus on May 08, 2021, 11:08:19 AM
Rev. Austin, I wrote above that the National Day of Prayer falls in the week before Rogate Sunday and that this was an opportunity for everyone to hear what Jesus has to say about prayer.  I posted the Gospel Lesson for Rogate Sunday and said, “What better way for us to evaluate the National Day of Prayer than in light of these words of our Savior?”  To this you replied, “No, Pastor Preus, the better way to evaluate a call for a national day of prayer is to recognize that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.”  I responded, “We all know that not everyone in our country prays to Jesus.  Is this not good reason for us to evaluate the National Day of Prayer in light of what our Lord Jesus says?  Or should we not consider what Jesus says about prayer?  Rev. Austin, what is your point?”  You replied, “My point, Pastor Preus , is that given the reality of our national civic and religious situation, I see no point in fussing about a Day of prayer because the words do not meet your particular definition of the theology or pious practice of prayer.”

I talked about what Jesus has to say about prayer.  I cited from the Bible what Jesus says about prayer.  I said that we should evaluate the National Day of Prayer in light of what Jesus says about prayer.  You disagreed.  You wrote, “I see no point in fussing about a Day of prayer because the words do not meet your particular definition of the theology or pious practice of prayer.”  My “particular definition of the theology or pious practice of prayer” is to listen to what Jesus says about prayer.  How can a Christian oppose evaluating our “national civil and religious situation” in light of what the Lord Jesus says?  Why do you identify what Jesus says with my “particular definition of the theology or pious practice of prayer”?  Don’t you believe what Jesus says about prayer?

I am opposed to syncretism in all of its forms and therefore I oppose such things as the National Day of Prayer or prayer in the public schools.  I oppose such things because I believe what Jesus says in the Bible about prayer and what he says cannot be made to agree with prayers to a generic deity who neither begets nor is begotten.  It doesn’t matter whether Ronald Reagan or Joe Biden is president.  The very idea that Americans of different religions can nevertheless join together in prayer contradicts what the Lord Jesus Christ clearly teaches.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 08, 2021, 11:18:06 AM
Pastor Preus:
I am opposed to syncretism in all of its forms and therefore I oppose such things as the National Day of Prayer or prayer in the public schools.
Me:
Good for you. Me, too; but the National Day of Prayer doesn’t bother me that much.
Syncretism, as you use the word, is a wooly word. Do you believe God hears the prayers of Jews or Muslims? Or should?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Weedon on May 08, 2021, 11:29:38 AM
Pr. Austin,

How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: RDPreus on May 08, 2021, 01:01:52 PM
Pastor Preus:
I am opposed to syncretism in all of its forms and therefore I oppose such things as the National Day of Prayer or prayer in the public schools.
Me:
Good for you. Me, too; but the National Day of Prayer doesn’t bother me that much.
Syncretism, as you use the word, is a wooly word. Do you believe God hears the prayers of Jews or Muslims? Or should?

Hears, as you use the word, is a wooly word.  Yes and no.  Yes, in that God hears everything.  He is God, after all.  No, in that there is no true prayer apart from faith in Christ, for it is only through faith in Christ that we can know God as our loving Father who hears and answers our prayers.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dave Benke on May 08, 2021, 01:33:32 PM
A)  I'm walking down the street in the spring in New York.  The air is filled with pollen, and I sneeze.  A Muslim person, walking by, calls out "God bless you."  Am I blessed through his prayer?

B)  I'm preparing to sing  "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple next to us are Jewish.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I not be singing at all, and go grab a beer instead?

B+)  I'm preparing to sing "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple on the other side of us are Presbyterian.  And the three people in the row in front of us, as we found out earlier in the game, are from the ELCA.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I leave the game entirely because this syncretistic fiasco is really not blessing anybody, and could in fact be placing souls in danger,  and head home to watch the end of the game in a specifically Missouri Synod Lutheran setting?

C)  I pay for my dollar meal at McDonald's with a five, and the Hindu kid in the window gives me four singles, all of which say "In God We Trust."  Should I accept the change, coming from him, or has the money been tarnished?  What do I do with the burger, which has been handed to me by someone who believes a cow is sacred?

Syncretistically and Unionistically yours,

Dave Benke

Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 08, 2021, 01:49:11 PM
Pr. Austin,

How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?


I believe that the Johannine writings make a distinction between "God" and "Father." No one can have a relationship with God as "Father" without the Son. It's significant that Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through me, rather than no one can come to God except through me. Without Jesus, we cannot know, or be in relationship with God as Father. Without the Son, there is no Father. That doesn't preclude God from being God, the authority and creator of all peoples on earth.


When we confess that God created me and all that exists; we are acknowledging that God has created Muslims and Jews and atheists, even if they don't acknowledge their dependency on God. Nor can they recognize their relationship as children of the divine Father.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 08, 2021, 01:54:27 PM
B)  I'm preparing to sing  "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple next to us are Jewish.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I not be singing at all, and go grab a beer instead?

B+)  I'm preparing to sing "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple on the other side of us are Presbyterian.  And the three people in the row in front of us, as we found out earlier in the game, are from the ELCA.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I leave the game entirely because this syncretistic fiasco is really not blessing anybody, and could in fact be placing souls in danger,  and head home to watch the end of the game in a specifically Missouri Synod Lutheran setting?


We often forget that "God Bless America" was not written by a Christian. Irving Berlin (aka Israel Beilin) would not have been writing about the Triune God. Can a Christian even sing it without entering a syncretic relationship with Jews?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 08, 2021, 02:21:30 PM
Pr. Austin,

How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?


I believe that the Johannine writings make a distinction between "God" and "Father." No one can have a relationship with God as "Father" without the Son. It's significant that Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through me, rather than no one can come to God except through me. Without Jesus, we cannot know, or be in relationship with God as Father. Without the Son, there is no Father. That doesn't preclude God from being God, the authority and creator of all peoples on earth.

And the Christological/Trinitarian confusion/error rears its ugly head yet again. 

"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." John 14:9. "I and the Father are one." John 10:30
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 08, 2021, 02:21:48 PM
Pastor Weedon:
How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?
Me:
Nope. I’m not denying the father when I  participate in such a service, or when I offer an invovacation  or benediction at a memorial day service, or on the Fourth of July or on Veterans Day.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 08, 2021, 02:25:27 PM
Pastor Preus:
Yes and no.  Yes, in that God hears everything.  He is God, after all.  No, in that there is no true prayer apart from faith in Christ, for it is only through faith in Christ that we can know God as our loving Father who hears and answers our prayers.
Me:
So God has cut off the Jews, abandoned the covenant, and disowned those who once were God’s people? All the prayers at Passover Seders or Yom Kippur services allover the world the world do not reach God’s ears. I get that.
But you know, I don’t think God does. 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: RDPreus on May 08, 2021, 02:35:30 PM
A)  I'm walking down the street in the spring in New York.  The air is filled with pollen, and I sneeze.  A Muslim person, walking by, calls out "God bless you."  Am I blessed through his prayer?

B)  I'm preparing to sing  "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple next to us are Jewish.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I not be singing at all, and go grab a beer instead?

B+)  I'm preparing to sing "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple on the other side of us are Presbyterian.  And the three people in the row in front of us, as we found out earlier in the game, are from the ELCA.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I leave the game entirely because this syncretistic fiasco is really not blessing anybody, and could in fact be placing souls in danger,  and head home to watch the end of the game in a specifically Missouri Synod Lutheran setting?

C)  I pay for my dollar meal at McDonald's with a five, and the Hindu kid in the window gives me four singles, all of which say "In God We Trust."  Should I accept the change, coming from him, or has the money been tarnished?  What do I do with the burger, which has been handed to me by someone who believes a cow is sacred?

Syncretistically and Unionistically yours,

Dave Benke

Dave, I am happy to answer your very thoughtful and serious questions.

A)   I'm walking down the street in the spring in New York.  The air is filled with pollen, and I sneeze.  A Muslim person, walking by, calls out "God bless you."  Am I blessed through his prayer?

Answer: No, you are not.


B)  I'm preparing to sing  "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple next to us are Jewish.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I not be singing at all, and go grab a beer instead?

Answer: God can bless people through pain, so perhaps all of your singing may be the occasion for God blessing somebody.  Don’t grab a beer because it’s bad and overpriced.

B+)  I'm preparing to sing "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple on the other side of us are Presbyterian.  And the three people in the row in front of us, as we found out earlier in the game, are from the ELCA.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I leave the game entirely because this syncretistic fiasco is really not blessing anybody, and could in fact be placing souls in danger,  and head home to watch the end of the game in a specifically Missouri Synod Lutheran setting?

Answer:  First, ask yourself why you are so fixated on the blessings achieved by prayers.  Take out your worn copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, read it for the hundredth time, and repeat one hundred times: "Everything Peale says about prayer is wrong."  If you pray with a Presbyterian (or any other Calvinist) don't wear your Some Lives Matter T shirt.


C)  I pay for my dollar meal at McDonald's with a five, and the Hindu kid in the window gives me four singles, all of which say "In God We Trust."  Should I accept the change, coming from him, or has the money been tarnished?  What do I do with the burger, which has been handed to me by someone who believes a cow is sacred?

Answer: First of all, you should not eat anything at McDonalds.  You’re not getting any younger and that stuff will kill you.  Second, if you wanted to avoid syncretism on coins and currency you couldn’t use cash money.  Third, by all mean you should buy meat from Hindus and liquor from Muslims.  It’s a wonderful confession of Christian freedom!
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 08, 2021, 02:38:00 PM
Oh, I think God gets it.

"No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also." 1 John 2:23
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 08, 2021, 02:44:28 PM
This is a pointless argument. Neither Rolf nor Charles can command God as to how He will respond to prayers. Rolf cannot forbid God's actions nor can Charles force them. God will do what He wants to do. God has promised to respond lovingly and powerfully to the prayers of Christians. For those who pray who have repudiated the Christ whom He sent to them in fulfillment of His promises, that is up to God. That He hears and knows the prayers of everyone should be apparent from His omniscience and omnipresence. He will respond according to His wisdom, love, and purpose. That is enough for me. Personally, I am not at all anxious to meet in prayer or in person the Holy God without Christ the Redeemer as my advocate. But He promised to be my advocate. That is all I really need to know. How He will respond to those who have repudiated the Christ, ignore Him, or never heard of Him is His business not mine.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 08, 2021, 02:55:14 PM
Pastor Fienen:
God has promised to respond lovingly and powerfully to the prayers of Christians.
Me:
And God does not always do so.
God also made promises to the Jews. Have those promises been rescinded?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 08, 2021, 03:00:33 PM
This whole discussion begs any number of theological questions, but some that haven't really been fully addressed.

What exactly is prayer?  I hear language of being "blessed through prayer."  Prayer is, as the longer explanation in the catechism states, "speaking to God in words and thoughts."  It is not, as we know, a "means of grace." We are blessed through the Word of God and through the sacraments. In what sense, therefore, is a person technically "blessed through prayer"?  Blessed in the sense that someone cares enough to remember them in prayer?  Or are we assuming they receive something spiritual through our act of prayer?

We also have discussion going on about the prayers of people who believe in the true God, people who believe that Jesus is not true God, and people who believe in multiple deities, among others.  We also have people praying who deny that some with whom they are praying with are validly baptized, along with other important differences of faith and belief.  Do we see prayer as a way to pull together all of these disparate threads of spirituality in some sense of general unity of thought or faith?  Is prayer a way to express unity, and if so, what kind of unity? Impartial unity? Hoped for unity?  Something else?

Does God care what people believe about Him when they attempt to pray?  Or does He settle for whatever people want to believe about Him, even if it's false or incomplete?

What are we trying to say about prayer? 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 08, 2021, 03:08:57 PM
God also made promises to the Jews. Have those promises been rescinded?

I think of those promises not as rescinded, but as fulfilled.  Fulfilled in Christ. 

We pray that Israel, that is God's people, chosen to bear the promise and through which would come the Savior, would yet be saved by coming to a knowledge of the truth through faith in Christ.
Romans 10:1-4
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 08, 2021, 03:14:54 PM
Pastor Fienen:
God has promised to respond lovingly and powerfully to the prayers of Christians.
Me:
And God does not always do so.
God also made promises to the Jews. Have those promises been rescinded?
Au contraire, Charles, I fervently believe that God always lovingly and powerfully answers the prayers of Christians, He just does not always answer the way that we want Him to but in His love, wisdom, and knowledge answers in the way that is best for us and for everyone else. When God tells us , "No" in response to prayer He does not do so because He doesn't love us enough or isn't powerful enough to give us a good answer to our prayer. He sometimes knows better than we do how things should go. And out of faith, trust, and love I accept, sometimes grudgingly, His answer as for the best. I may not understand why He answers as He does and may never understand but accepting His answer as better than the one I wanted is part of faith.


It's like I assure people that God always brings healing to His people. Sometimes His healing is to take away the illness or disability, sometimes His healing is to give us the resources and strength to live with the illness or disability, and sometimes His healing is to recall us to our heavenly home where we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. But healing is always there for us.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: jebutler on May 08, 2021, 03:23:23 PM
This thread is about the national day of prayer. If you're going to emphasize the need to focus, focus on that.

Can Lutherans in the U.S. come together for prayer?

That would depend on which Lutherans. The WELS has a unit concept of fellowship, so I wouldn't expect to see them present. But I've been in many situations with other Lutherans and have had no problem with it.

Will LCMS clergy gather to pray with ELCA clergy? What restrictions might be in place?

I've done it several times. No one has ever placed any restrictions on me. Wouldn't know why any would be.

Historically, Walther and the boys had several "free conferences." Each day, those meetings began with Matins and ended with Vespers. This was the practice until the Presdestinarian Controversy at which time the LCMS moved to a unit concept of fellowship. That was one of the issues that the ALPB argued against--and one they wound up winning.

A report (whether true or not, I don't know) was that when the District President of Kansas was to receive an award from Bethany College (an ELCA school,) he was allowed to participate if it wasn't a worship service; specifically, as the story goes, no vestments and no candles.

This whole scenario sounds weird to me. The only way it makes any sense is if he was the commencement speaker and they planned to give him a honorary degree (or something like that). That's the only time anyone who receives an award from a college also participates in the ceremony itself. Otherwise, those being honored sit off to one side and come up when their name is called. I don't know why that would be an issue even if it took place in a service.

About 20 years ago, the ELCA church in Springfield, MA installed a new pastor. I, along with many other Springfield clergy, was invited to attend. I had gotten along quite well with his predecessor and I knew his brother via LTHRN-L. The bishop (who I knew from our New England Lutheran Dialog) asked me if I would mind saying a few words of welcome following his installation. I sat, unvested, but wearing a collar, with the congregation. He asked me to come forward. I welcomed him to Springfield. I said that I prayed for God's blessings on his ministry and I looked forward to working with him wherever I could. The bishop said he appreciated my words; I thanked him for his invitation, which I thought was quite gracious. No one had any problem with my "participation." I'd say the same thing would be true here.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dave Benke on May 08, 2021, 03:34:21 PM
A)  I'm walking down the street in the spring in New York.  The air is filled with pollen, and I sneeze.  A Muslim person, walking by, calls out "God bless you."  Am I blessed through his prayer?

B)  I'm preparing to sing  "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple next to us are Jewish.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I not be singing at all, and go grab a beer instead?

B+)  I'm preparing to sing "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple on the other side of us are Presbyterian.  And the three people in the row in front of us, as we found out earlier in the game, are from the ELCA.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I leave the game entirely because this syncretistic fiasco is really not blessing anybody, and could in fact be placing souls in danger,  and head home to watch the end of the game in a specifically Missouri Synod Lutheran setting?

C)  I pay for my dollar meal at McDonald's with a five, and the Hindu kid in the window gives me four singles, all of which say "In God We Trust."  Should I accept the change, coming from him, or has the money been tarnished?  What do I do with the burger, which has been handed to me by someone who believes a cow is sacred?

Syncretistically and Unionistically yours,

Dave Benke

Dave, I am happy to answer your very thoughtful and serious questions.

A)   I'm walking down the street in the spring in New York.  The air is filled with pollen, and I sneeze.  A Muslim person, walking by, calls out "God bless you."  Am I blessed through his prayer?

Answer: No, you are not.


B)  I'm preparing to sing  "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple next to us are Jewish.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I not be singing at all, and go grab a beer instead?

Answer: God can bless people through pain, so perhaps all of your singing may be the occasion for God blessing somebody.  Don’t grab a beer because it’s bad and overpriced.

B+)  I'm preparing to sing "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch at Citi Field.  The couple on the other side of us are Presbyterian.  And the three people in the row in front of us, as we found out earlier in the game, are from the ELCA.  Is the assembly blessed through my singing, their singing, our singing, or should I leave the game entirely because this syncretistic fiasco is really not blessing anybody, and could in fact be placing souls in danger,  and head home to watch the end of the game in a specifically Missouri Synod Lutheran setting?

Answer:  First, ask yourself why you are so fixated on the blessings achieved by prayers.  Take out your worn copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, read it for the hundredth time, and repeat one hundred times: "Everything Peale says about prayer is wrong."  If you pray with a Presbyterian (or any other Calvinist) don't wear your Some Lives Matter T shirt.


C)  I pay for my dollar meal at McDonald's with a five, and the Hindu kid in the window gives me four singles, all of which say "In God We Trust."  Should I accept the change, coming from him, or has the money been tarnished?  What do I do with the burger, which has been handed to me by someone who believes a cow is sacred?

Answer: First of all, you should not eat anything at McDonalds.  You’re not getting any younger and that stuff will kill you.  Second, if you wanted to avoid syncretism on coins and currency you couldn’t use cash money.  Third, by all mean you should buy meat from Hindus and liquor from Muslims.  It’s a wonderful confession of Christian freedom!

Nice answers!  I agree with one and a half.  I should add that normally we don't even have a beer at the ballpark.  We have something with Jim Beam in it, because Jim is the reigning king of bourbon for the Mets.  At home we favor Jack, although I received bottles of both Johnny (Black) and Glen (Fiddich) for my birthday.  People seem to think I drink a lot since I'm on a first name basis with my booze, which I don't, but there are always plenty of brown liquids available for friends on the back deck in summer, where the sounds of surf surge through the air - it's really the traffic on the Long Island Expressway, but a soothing sound nonetheless.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 08, 2021, 03:43:11 PM
God also made promises to the Jews. Have those promises been rescinded?

I think of those promises not as rescinded, but as fulfilled.  Fulfilled in Christ. 

We pray that Israel, that is God's people, chosen to bear the promise and through which would come the Savior, would yet be saved by coming to a knowledge of the truth through faith in Christ.
Romans 10:1-4

Aye.

Beautifully summarized in the Orthodox Hymn of the Little Entrance during Paschatide:

Quote

Bless God in the churches, the Lord from the fountains of Israel.

Save us, O Son of God,
risen from the dead.
We sing to You, Alleluia

Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 08, 2021, 06:25:19 PM
Pr. Austin,

How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?


I believe that the Johannine writings make a distinction between "God" and "Father." No one can have a relationship with God as "Father" without the Son. It's significant that Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through me, rather than no one can come to God except through me. Without Jesus, we cannot know, or be in relationship with God as Father. Without the Son, there is no Father. That doesn't preclude God from being God, the authority and creator of all peoples on earth.

And the Christological/Trinitarian confusion/error rears its ugly head yet again. 

"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." John 14:9. "I and the Father are one." John 10:30


Exactly. Jesus does not say, "He who has seen me has seen God." Nor, "I and God are one." As I stated above, for John there is a distinction between the word "God" and the use of the term, "Father."


Would you consider the phrase, "God bless America," (written by Irving Berlin, and sung by millions of people) to be the same God as in the phrase, "God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 08, 2021, 06:28:50 PM
This is a pointless argument. Neither Rolf nor Charles can command God as to how He will respond to prayers. Rolf cannot forbid God's actions nor can Charles force them. God will do what He wants to do. God has promised to respond lovingly and powerfully to the prayers of Christians. For those who pray who have repudiated the Christ whom He sent to them in fulfillment of His promises, that is up to God. That He hears and knows the prayers of everyone should be apparent from His omniscience and omnipresence. He will respond according to His wisdom, love, and purpose. That is enough for me. Personally, I am not at all anxious to meet in prayer or in person the Holy God without Christ the Redeemer as my advocate. But He promised to be my advocate. That is all I really need to know. How He will respond to those who have repudiated the Christ, ignore Him, or never heard of Him is His business not mine.


Boldface added. The question was asked if God hears the prayers of others. Your answer is Yes, God hears them. How God responds to them is up to God, not us.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on May 08, 2021, 06:32:58 PM
This is a pointless argument. Neither Rolf nor Charles can command God as to how He will respond to prayers. Rolf cannot forbid God's actions nor can Charles force them. God will do what He wants to do. God has promised to respond lovingly and powerfully to the prayers of Christians. For those who pray who have repudiated the Christ whom He sent to them in fulfillment of His promises, that is up to God. That He hears and knows the prayers of everyone should be apparent from His omniscience and omnipresence. He will respond according to His wisdom, love, and purpose. That is enough for me. Personally, I am not at all anxious to meet in prayer or in person the Holy God without Christ the Redeemer as my advocate. But He promised to be my advocate. That is all I really need to know. How He will respond to those who have repudiated the Christ, ignore Him, or never heard of Him is His business not mine.


Boldface added. The question was asked if God hears the prayers of others. Your answer is Yes, God hears them. How God responds to them is up to God, not us.

We are of the vintage to remember being scandalized by Southern Baptist Convention leader Bailey Smith asserting that "God Almighty does not hear the prayers of a Jew" ...a statement which he then nuanced by stating "unless it is the 'Sinner's Prayer'".

I am thankful that God's thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 08, 2021, 07:50:49 PM
Pr. Austin,

How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?

I believe that the Johannine writings make a distinction between "God" and "Father." No one can have a relationship with God as "Father" without the Son. It's significant that Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through me, rather than no one can come to God except through me. Without Jesus, we cannot know, or be in relationship with God as Father. Without the Son, there is no Father. That doesn't preclude God from being God, the authority and creator of all peoples on earth.

And the Christological/Trinitarian confusion/error rears its ugly head yet again. 

"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." John 14:9. "I and the Father are one." John 10:30

Exactly. Jesus does not say, "He who has seen me has seen God." Nor, "I and God are one." As I stated above, for John there is a distinction between the word "God" and the use of the term, "Father."

And the error continues.
 ::)

Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dave Benke on May 08, 2021, 07:58:03 PM
This is a pointless argument. Neither Rolf nor Charles can command God as to how He will respond to prayers. Rolf cannot forbid God's actions nor can Charles force them. God will do what He wants to do. God has promised to respond lovingly and powerfully to the prayers of Christians. For those who pray who have repudiated the Christ whom He sent to them in fulfillment of His promises, that is up to God. That He hears and knows the prayers of everyone should be apparent from His omniscience and omnipresence. He will respond according to His wisdom, love, and purpose. That is enough for me. Personally, I am not at all anxious to meet in prayer or in person the Holy God without Christ the Redeemer as my advocate. But He promised to be my advocate. That is all I really need to know. How He will respond to those who have repudiated the Christ, ignore Him, or never heard of Him is His business not mine.


Boldface added. The question was asked if God hears the prayers of others. Your answer is Yes, God hears them. How God responds to them is up to God, not us.

We are of the vintage to remember being scandalized by Southern Baptist Convention leader Bailey Smith asserting that "God Almighty does not hear the prayers of a Jew" ...a statement which he then nuanced by stating "unless it is the 'Sinner's Prayer'".

I am thankful that God's thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways.

Thanks for this remembrance and insight, Thomas.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 08, 2021, 08:06:10 PM
This is a pointless argument. Neither Rolf nor Charles can command God as to how He will respond to prayers. Rolf cannot forbid God's actions nor can Charles force them. God will do what He wants to do. God has promised to respond lovingly and powerfully to the prayers of Christians. For those who pray who have repudiated the Christ whom He sent to them in fulfillment of His promises, that is up to God. That He hears and knows the prayers of everyone should be apparent from His omniscience and omnipresence. He will respond according to His wisdom, love, and purpose. That is enough for me. Personally, I am not at all anxious to meet in prayer or in person the Holy God without Christ the Redeemer as my advocate. But He promised to be my advocate. That is all I really need to know. How He will respond to those who have repudiated the Christ, ignore Him, or never heard of Him is His business not mine.


Boldface added. The question was asked if God hears the prayers of others. Your answer is Yes, God hears them. How God responds to them is up to God, not us.
You have,accurately summarized my position.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: RDPreus on May 08, 2021, 10:27:01 PM
This is a pointless argument. Neither Rolf nor Charles can command God as to how He will respond to prayers. Rolf cannot forbid God's actions nor can Charles force them. God will do what He wants to do. God has promised to respond lovingly and powerfully to the prayers of Christians. For those who pray who have repudiated the Christ whom He sent to them in fulfillment of His promises, that is up to God. That He hears and knows the prayers of everyone should be apparent from His omniscience and omnipresence. He will respond according to His wisdom, love, and purpose. That is enough for me. Personally, I am not at all anxious to meet in prayer or in person the Holy God without Christ the Redeemer as my advocate. But He promised to be my advocate. That is all I really need to know. How He will respond to those who have repudiated the Christ, ignore Him, or never heard of Him is His business not mine.

Seeking the oh so reasonable synthesis between two opposing positions may (or may not!) be the means of facilitating productive discussion.  When one does so however, he should first make sure that he correctly identifies the opposing positions.  I would not dream of speaking for Rev. Austin, but I doubt he thinks he can force God to do anything and, speaking for myself, I do not think that I can forbid God to do anything.  So then, let's dismiss that little piece of foolishness and ask the question: Is the promise Jesus gives us Christians about prayer the basis for a sound theology of prayer that applies, not just personally to ourselves, but to everyone else as well?  Rev. Fienen, when you say that you ~personally~ are not anxious to meet God without Christ the Redeemer as your advocate are you saying that nobody in the whole world should want to meet God without Christ the Redeemer as his advocate?  I assume this is so.  If this is so, why do you plead ignorance about how God will respond to those who have repudiated Christ?  Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”  If I were to conclude from this that the Father will not favorably hear the prayers of those who repudiate Jesus, would you reply by saying that it’s up to God to make such a determination?  Hasn’t he already done so?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 09, 2021, 12:47:25 AM
Pastor  Preus:
 If I were to conclude from this that the Father will not favorably hear the prayers of those who repudiate Jesus, would you reply by saying that it’s up to God to make such a determination?  Hasn’t he already done so?
Me:
Maybe God has made a determination; maybe not. Maybe God‘s mind will change about the decision that was made. We don’t know.
I have said it here before. Anyone who gets into the presence of God in eternity gets there through Jesus, whether they knew it or not.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 02:44:36 AM
Pr. Austin,

How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?

I believe that the Johannine writings make a distinction between "God" and "Father." No one can have a relationship with God as "Father" without the Son. It's significant that Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through me, rather than no one can come to God except through me. Without Jesus, we cannot know, or be in relationship with God as Father. Without the Son, there is no Father. That doesn't preclude God from being God, the authority and creator of all peoples on earth.

And the Christological/Trinitarian confusion/error rears its ugly head yet again. 

"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." John 14:9. "I and the Father are one." John 10:30

Exactly. Jesus does not say, "He who has seen me has seen God." Nor, "I and God are one." As I stated above, for John there is a distinction between the word "God" and the use of the term, "Father."

And the error continues.
 ::)


What error? I pointed out the accuracy of your biblical quote.


You failed to answer my question: Would you consider the phrase, "God bless America," (written by Irving Berlin, and sung by millions of people) to be the same God as in the phrase, "God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"?


Or do you again think I'm making an error by asking that question?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 09, 2021, 05:14:28 AM
In my New Jersey male chorus, I stood next to a Jew as we sang "God Bless America" at civic events. So just what was going on in this singing? Prayer? Proclamation? Mere longing? A meaningless ritual?
Do the origin of the words matter? Does what is in his mind and what is in my mind as we sing matter?
Do civic prayers have to mention Jesus to be "real"? I have prayed at Memorial Day observances, ending with "in God's holy name, Amen." Does that count?
I heard a Reform rabbi pray to "Creator God," or "Holy One." Was it ok that I said "Amen" to that?
Or do I have to say "Jesus" in order to make the prayer "valid" and reject any prayer that does not mention - even by implication - Jesus?  Or when I know that the rabbi is not praying in the name of Jesus?
 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 09, 2021, 07:48:37 AM
Pr. Austin,

How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?

I believe that the Johannine writings make a distinction between "God" and "Father." No one can have a relationship with God as "Father" without the Son. It's significant that Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through me, rather than no one can come to God except through me. Without Jesus, we cannot know, or be in relationship with God as Father. Without the Son, there is no Father. That doesn't preclude God from being God, the authority and creator of all peoples on earth.

And the Christological/Trinitarian confusion/error rears its ugly head yet again. 

"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." John 14:9. "I and the Father are one." John 10:30

Exactly. Jesus does not say, "He who has seen me has seen God." Nor, "I and God are one." As I stated above, for John there is a distinction between the word "God" and the use of the term, "Father."

And the error continues.
 ::)


What error?

For Jesus to say "I and God are one" would be a nonsensical redundancy. Jesus is expressing the Holy Trinity.

"So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God...The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten."
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 09, 2021, 08:30:10 AM

Maybe God has made a determination; maybe not. Maybe God‘s mind will change about the decision that was made. We don’t know.
I have said it here before. Anyone who gets into the presence of God in eternity gets there through Jesus, whether they knew it or not.


That is a really disquieting opinion. Never mind the question of whether something is the Word of the Lord; even if it is we can't count on it according to you. There is a lot we don't know, but according to you there isn't anything we can know even if God tells it to us.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 09, 2021, 08:45:13 AM
It has been asked if the prayer has to be specifically in the name of Jesus to be valid.  I think that this misses the role that faith plays in prayer.  If prayer is the conversation of the believer with God, then anything without faith in the true God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) fails to really be a prayer.  It may contain familiar, biblical-sounding words, but they are still just words spoken apart from faith.

I think of Matthew 7:21 - “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

And what is this "will of God"?
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” - John 6:40

Can those who fail to believe in the Son truly pray to God?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 09, 2021, 09:05:28 AM
Peter:
That is a really disquieting opinion. Never mind the question of whether something is the Word of the Lord; even if it is we can't count on it according to you. There is a lot we don't know, but according to you there isn't anything we can know even if God tells it to us.
Me:
Now who has trouble reading? I have many times said that I confess that the faith of the Christian church is true, that it is something  we know. something reliable. something which carries the promises of God to us.
Where have I said in this exchange anything contrary to that? I’ve said that if anyone gets to the Father in eternity, it will be through Jesus, whether they know it or not.
Fantasy/comic scenario:
A somewhat shaken, dazed person stands in front of the heavenly throne. “Where am I?”
God the Father: in heaven before my eternal throne.
Dazed person: How did I get here? I wasn’t what you would call “religious.”
Jesus (stepping forward from his place to the right of the Father): I got you here. It’s a Long story. Don’t ask.
Dazed person: OK, gee, thanks! What about my good buddy, Fred?
Jesus: Another long story. Better not to ask.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 09, 2021, 10:22:51 AM
Peter:
That is a really disquieting opinion. Never mind the question of whether something is the Word of the Lord; even if it is we can't count on it according to you. There is a lot we don't know, but according to you there isn't anything we can know even if God tells it to us.
Me:
Now who has trouble reading?


I have many times said that I confess that the faith of the Christian church is true, that it is something  we know. something reliable. something which carries the promises of God to us.
Where have I said in this exchange anything contrary to that?
You wrote: Maybe God has made a determination; maybe not. Maybe God‘s mind will change about the decision that was made. We don’t know.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 09, 2021, 10:37:15 AM
We do not know in detail what God may do. How could we possibly know that? God has told us some things, but not everything. And we may have misunderstood a thing or two.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Dan Fienen on May 09, 2021, 12:10:46 PM
We do not know in detail what God may do. How could we possibly know that? God has told us some things, but not everything. And we may have misunderstood a thing or two.
But what you wrote, that God hasn't told us everything or we may have misunderstood. You said that God may have changed His mind. That is different.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 09, 2021, 12:46:18 PM
You said that God may have changed His mind. That is different.

Uh oh! Here it comes...  ::)
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 01:23:51 PM
Pr. Austin,

How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?

I believe that the Johannine writings make a distinction between "God" and "Father." No one can have a relationship with God as "Father" without the Son. It's significant that Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through me, rather than no one can come to God except through me. Without Jesus, we cannot know, or be in relationship with God as Father. Without the Son, there is no Father. That doesn't preclude God from being God, the authority and creator of all peoples on earth.

And the Christological/Trinitarian confusion/error rears its ugly head yet again. 

"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." John 14:9. "I and the Father are one." John 10:30

Exactly. Jesus does not say, "He who has seen me has seen God." Nor, "I and God are one." As I stated above, for John there is a distinction between the word "God" and the use of the term, "Father."

And the error continues.
 ::)


What error?

For Jesus to say "I and God are one" would be a nonsensical redundancy. Jesus is expressing the Holy Trinity.

"So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God...The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten."


Yet John pretty much says, Jesus is God.


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (1:1)


I'm still waiting for an answer to my question.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 01:25:14 PM

Maybe God has made a determination; maybe not. Maybe God‘s mind will change about the decision that was made. We don’t know.
I have said it here before. Anyone who gets into the presence of God in eternity gets there through Jesus, whether they knew it or not.


That is a really disquieting opinion. Never mind the question of whether something is the Word of the Lord; even if it is we can't count on it according to you. There is a lot we don't know, but according to you there isn't anything we can know even if God tells it to us.


What God tells us gets interpreted by us; thus we have the ELCA and the LCMS and many other Christians who interpret God's words in different ways.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Steven W Bohler on May 09, 2021, 01:26:58 PM

Maybe God has made a determination; maybe not. Maybe God‘s mind will change about the decision that was made. We don’t know.
I have said it here before. Anyone who gets into the presence of God in eternity gets there through Jesus, whether they knew it or not.


That is a really disquieting opinion. Never mind the question of whether something is the Word of the Lord; even if it is we can't count on it according to you. There is a lot we don't know, but according to you there isn't anything we can know even if God tells it to us.


What God tells us gets interpreted by us; thus we have the ELCA and the LCMS and many other Christians who interpret God's words in different ways.

And when God says "up" and you interpret that to mean "down", or He says "wet" and you take it as "dry", the problem is with God.  Or so you say.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 01:27:02 PM
Can those who fail to believe in the Son truly pray to God?


That wasn't the question. Rather, does the Triune God hear the prayers of those who do not believe in that God?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 01:29:05 PM

Maybe God has made a determination; maybe not. Maybe God‘s mind will change about the decision that was made. We don’t know.
I have said it here before. Anyone who gets into the presence of God in eternity gets there through Jesus, whether they knew it or not.


That is a really disquieting opinion. Never mind the question of whether something is the Word of the Lord; even if it is we can't count on it according to you. There is a lot we don't know, but according to you there isn't anything we can know even if God tells it to us.


What God tells us gets interpreted by us; thus we have the ELCA and the LCMS and many other Christians who interpret God's words in different ways.

And when God says "up" and you interpret that to mean "down", or He says "wet" and you take it as "dry", the problem is with God.  Or so you say.


And when I have interpreted "up" to mean "down"? I never offer an interpretation that isn't supported by a lexicon or two (either Greek-English or Hebrew-English). I don't make up the definitions.


There are some words that can have nearly opposing definitions. One that comes to mind is λαμβάνω.


It has an active sense of "to take (with or without force)." It also has a passive sense of "to receive."


It makes quite a theological difference if we understand the passages about "receiving Christ" (where we are passive recipients) vs. "grabbing Christ" (where we are the instigators of possessing Christ). Both are legitimate ways of understanding that word.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 01:31:27 PM
We do not know in detail what God may do. How could we possibly know that? God has told us some things, but not everything. And we may have misunderstood a thing or two.
But what you wrote, that God hasn't told us everything or we may have misunderstood. You said that God may have changed His mind. That is different.


Have you not read the biblical passages where it says God changed his mind?


And if God never changes his mind, why should we bother to pray and ask God to do something? If God's mind is already made up and nothing can change it, prayer is useless.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 09, 2021, 01:39:09 PM
We do not know in detail what God may do. How could we possibly know that? God has told us some things, but not everything. And we may have misunderstood a thing or two.
But what you wrote, that God hasn't told us everything or we may have misunderstood. You said that God may have changed His mind. That is different.


Have you not read the biblical passages where it says God changed his mind?


And if God never changes his mind, why should we bother to pray and ask God to do something? If God's mind is already made up and nothing can change it, prayer is useless.

Yup, right on cue.   ::)
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 09, 2021, 01:41:42 PM
Pr. Austin,

How do you understand the words of the holy Apostle? “ 1 John 2:23 (KJV) “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father.” Does it have any implication for a Christian’s participation in a national day of prayer?

I believe that the Johannine writings make a distinction between "God" and "Father." No one can have a relationship with God as "Father" without the Son. It's significant that Jesus says that no one can come to the Father except through me, rather than no one can come to God except through me. Without Jesus, we cannot know, or be in relationship with God as Father. Without the Son, there is no Father. That doesn't preclude God from being God, the authority and creator of all peoples on earth.

And the Christological/Trinitarian confusion/error rears its ugly head yet again. 

"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." John 14:9. "I and the Father are one." John 10:30

Exactly. Jesus does not say, "He who has seen me has seen God." Nor, "I and God are one." As I stated above, for John there is a distinction between the word "God" and the use of the term, "Father."

And the error continues.
 ::)

What error?

For Jesus to say "I and God are one" would be a nonsensical redundancy. Jesus is expressing the Holy Trinity.

"So the Father is God; the Son is God; and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods; but one God...The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created; but begotten."

Yet John pretty much says, Jesus is God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (1:1)

I'm still waiting for an answer to my question.

It looks like you're going to wait a long time. Your error is thinking that I'm obligated to answer your question.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 01:43:45 PM
We do not know in detail what God may do. How could we possibly know that? God has told us some things, but not everything. And we may have misunderstood a thing or two.
But what you wrote, that God hasn't told us everything or we may have misunderstood. You said that God may have changed His mind. That is different.


Have you not read the biblical passages where it says God changed his mind?


And if God never changes his mind, why should we bother to pray and ask God to do something? If God's mind is already made up and nothing can change it, prayer is useless.

Yup, right on cue.   ::)


Do you believe that prayer can cause God to change his mind? Was it futile for Abraham to try and find ten righteous men in Sodom to save the city from God's wrath? Is it futile for us to pray for healing? Or forgiveness?


You make comments that do nothing to further the discussion; nor do you answer the questions.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 01:45:13 PM
It looks like you're going to wait a long time. Your error is thinking that I'm obligated to answer your question.


I've grown accustom to your comments that answer no questions. I just assume that they are too difficult for you to answer; or that you might have to publicly agree with me.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 09, 2021, 01:54:33 PM
It looks like you're going to wait a long time. Your error is thinking that I'm obligated to answer your question.

I've grown accustom to your comments that answer no questions. I just assume that they are too difficult for you to answer; or that you might have to publicly agree with me.

And your comments typically confuse the issue or even espouse false doctrine.

You know happens when you assume.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 09, 2021, 02:00:50 PM
Can those who fail to believe in the Son truly pray to God?


That wasn't the question. Rather, does the Triune God hear the prayers of those who do not believe in that God?

I think this has already been answered, as far as I can see.  As an omniscient God one can hardly argue that God is unable to actually hear something said, whether it be in the form of a prayer or otherwise.  At issue, if I'm following correctly, is whether "hear" is equated with "answer."  And part of this, I submit, is how faith in the true God factors in. 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 09, 2021, 02:05:17 PM
Consider a judge hearing a petition. He can “hear” anyone who shouts anything from the gallery. That is not the same thing as granting a hearing.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 09, 2021, 02:18:48 PM
But, Pastor Engebretson, do we have to have faith in order for a prayer to be answered? If so, what kind of faith? How much Faith? What is the necessary content of that Faith?
imagine one who has no faith or very little faith or a totally unformed and unpracticed Faith reaching the depths of despair and then crying out to God in prayer.
I have heard people in recovery speak of reaching out from the  “bottom“ of their misery to a God they hardly knew and thoroughly misunderstood or a God they had rejected, and yet receive from that God what they need to start or continue their recovery.
And on one Holocaust remembrance day, I was proud to stand alongside and pray with someone who had survived Auschwitz. It was not my words nor was it my theology that shaped the prayer that day, but it was my prayer.
And I find Peter’s judicial image just upstream quite troubling. It suggests that one has to have “standing” in the court, or all petitions are just noisy shouts “from the gallery.”
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Weedon on May 09, 2021, 02:24:04 PM
Pr. Austin asks: “Do we have to have faith in order for a prayer to be answered?”

St. James writes: 1:6-7  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

And we confess in the Larger Catechism:

“This is nothing else than the word of undoubting faith, which does not pray on a dare, but knows that God does not lie to him. For He has promised to grant it. Therefore, where there is no such faith, there cannot be true prayer either.” LC III:120
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 02:25:25 PM
It looks like you're going to wait a long time. Your error is thinking that I'm obligated to answer your question.

I've grown accustom to your comments that answer no questions. I just assume that they are too difficult for you to answer; or that you might have to publicly agree with me.

And your comments typically confuse the issue or even espouse false doctrine.

You know happens when you assume.


Of course I know what happens. You do it all the time when you assume that my questions are statements. (Additionally, you assume that I don't want to hear (read) your answers.) If the shoe fits wear it.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: peter_speckhard on May 09, 2021, 02:35:06 PM
The problem stems from people seeking out uncertainty in order to imagine a God that actually does what God could in theory do. Our confidence ceases to be in a promise from God and starts to be in our own reasoning about God.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 09, 2021, 02:35:28 PM
But, Pastor Engebretson, do we have to have faith in order for a prayer to be answered? If so, what kind of faith? How much Faith? What is the necessary content of that Faith?
imagine one who has no faith or very little faith or a totally unformed and unpracticed Faith reaching the depths of despair and then crying out to God in prayer.
I have heard people in recovery speak of reaching out from the  “bottom“ of their misery to a God they hardly knew and thoroughly misunderstood or a God they had rejected, and yet receive from that God what they need to start or continue their recovery.
And on one Holocaust remembrance day, I was proud to stand alongside and pray with someone who had survived Auschwitz. It was not my words nor was it my theology that shaped the prayer that day, but it was my prayer.
And I find Peter’s judicial image just upstream quite troubling. It suggests that one has to have “standing” in the court, or all petitions are just noisy shouts “from the gallery.”

We can't quantify faith.  Jesus talked of the "faith of a mustard seed" moving mountains.  Jesus also talked about the simple faith of a small child.  Of such is the Kingdom of heaven. Faith is simply that Spirit-created trust in the true God as revealed in Jesus.

As to Peter's comment, the "standing" we have before the "court" (to continue the imagery) is that we stand before God "in Christ."  That is what grants us acceptability. I do not have a hearing before God because of who I am.  I am just a sinner. A helpless sinner.  But in Christ I am covered in his righteousness. 

I think that there is a fundamental difference between "no faith" and "faith" (again without qualifying or quantifying it as to strength or size, but simply locating that faith in Christ).  No faith assumes that someone has chosen to believe that there is no God.  Or if we are talking about  faith in another non-Christian religion, has chosen to believe in a god who is not the true God.  In which case he is talking to someone or something other than the true God.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 02:40:46 PM
Pr. Austin asks: “Do we have to have faith in order for a prayer to be answered?”

St. James writes: 1:6-7  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.


However, the preceding verse (boldface added):  But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask. (CEB)


Or, if you prefer:


Εἰ δέ τις ὑμῶν λείπεται σοφίας,
αἰτείτω παρὰ τοῦ διδόντος θεοῦ πᾶσιν ἁπλῶς
καὶ μὴ ὀνειδίζοντος,
καὶ δοθήσεται αὐτῷ.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Charles Austin on May 09, 2021, 02:41:18 PM
Pastor Weedon, A quote from James or the catechism will not solve the problem.  Proof texting with that verse makes God a cold, uncaring being, saying “I don’t know you, you don’t know me, get out of here” to someone in despair. Yuck.
Do you mean to say that one must have a Trinitarian, Lutheran confessional’s concept of God before true prayer is even possible?
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Brian Stoffregen on May 09, 2021, 02:47:10 PM
Can those who fail to believe in the Son truly pray to God?


That wasn't the question. Rather, does the Triune God hear the prayers of those who do not believe in that God?

I think this has already been answered, as far as I can see.  As an omniscient God one can hardly argue that God is unable to actually hear something said, whether it be in the form of a prayer or otherwise.  At issue, if I'm following correctly, is whether "hear" is equated with "answer."  And part of this, I submit, is how faith in the true God factors in.


It may depend on what is meant by "answer." Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-45


“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. [CEB]


Should a Muslim or Hindu farmer pray to their gods for rain, and God causes it to rain; is that an answer to prayer? Or is their prayers irrelevant? It was going to rain whether or not they prayed.


In these verses it seems that God treats believers and unbelievers; friends and enemies, the same - and so should we.
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: D. Engebretson on May 09, 2021, 03:17:58 PM
Can those who fail to believe in the Son truly pray to God?


That wasn't the question. Rather, does the Triune God hear the prayers of those who do not believe in that God?

I think this has already been answered, as far as I can see.  As an omniscient God one can hardly argue that God is unable to actually hear something said, whether it be in the form of a prayer or otherwise.  At issue, if I'm following correctly, is whether "hear" is equated with "answer."  And part of this, I submit, is how faith in the true God factors in.


It may depend on what is meant by "answer." Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-45


“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous. [CEB]


Should a Muslim or Hindu farmer pray to their gods for rain, and God causes it to rain; is that an answer to prayer? Or is their prayers irrelevant? It was going to rain whether or not they prayed.


In these verses it seems that God treats believers and unbelievers; friends and enemies, the same - and so should we.

God watches over His creation and His decision to grant rain is not contingent on faith or the lack thereof.  He does so not because a Hindu farmer prayed to a false god.  He does so because of his mercy. As Luther says at the end of the explanation of the First Article: "All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit  or worthiness in me."

Perhaps we should reframe this question.  It is clear that you and Pr. Austin believe that God hears and answers prayer whether it is offered in faith in the true God, or whether it is not. Prayers of Hindus (who pray to multiple deities), Muslims, Jews (both of whom openly deny the deity of Christ), et. al., are all valid prayers for you.  Prayer is something for you, it appears, that does not require faith. Our training and theology, it would appear, are, indeed, quite different.

And if all this is true, what motivation is there to even have any kind mission outreach of the church to those who do not believe?  It would seem rather irrelevant.  If, in the end, they are going to be saved because of Jesus, but not necessarily because of faith in Jesus, what is the point and purpose? 
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Weedon on May 09, 2021, 03:21:21 PM
Pastor Weedon, A quote from James or the catechism will not solve the problem.  Proof texting with that verse makes God a cold, uncaring being, saying “I don’t know you, you don’t know me, get out of here” to someone in despair. Yuck.
Do you mean to say that one must have a Trinitarian, Lutheran confessional’s concept of God before true prayer is even possible?

Why is it proof texting to allow the Scriptures to answer the question you asked? That Scripture passage speaks directly to your question. And that is NOT to ignore the prior verse. Of course, He is most giving but that does not obliterate what St. James says there, and what our Symbols bind us as Lutheran pastors to teach and confess (again, fully in conformity with the Scriptures). Nor is it that God is thus pictured, I’d argue, in a cold and unloving way. He WANTS to hear and answer the prayers which come to Him from faith in His Son. That is most gracious and kind on His part, for there’s not the first reason why He should give attention to the prayer of a single one of us. This is His universal love: It is given entirely in His Son. It is for all, but it is ONLY in His Son. In Him there is access to the Father; apart from Him there is no access. “No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Donald_Kirchner on May 09, 2021, 03:49:16 PM
Pastor Weedon, A quote from James or the catechism will not solve the problem.  Proof texting with that verse makes God a cold, uncaring being, saying “I don’t know you, you don’t know me, get out of here” to someone in despair. Yuck.
Do you mean to say that one must have a Trinitarian, Lutheran confessional’s concept of God before true prayer is even possible?

Why is it proof texting to allow the Scriptures to answer the question you asked? That Scripture passage speaks directly to your question. And that is NOT to ignore the prior verse. Of course, He is most giving but that does not obliterate what St. James says there, and what our Symbols bind us as Lutheran pastors to teach and confess (again, fully in conformity with the Scriptures). Nor is it that God is thus pictured, I’d argue, in a cold and unloving way. He WANTS to hear and answer the prayers which come to Him from faith in His Son. That is most gracious and kind on His part, for there’s not the first reason why He should give attention to the prayer of a single one of us. This is His universal love: It is given entirely in His Son. It is for all, but it is ONLY in His Son. In Him there is access to the Father; apart from Him there is no access. “No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”

Hey, I think I read about and preached on that today! You know, the three-year one with the less important lessons.   ;)
Title: Re: National Day of Prayer
Post by: Weedon on May 09, 2021, 04:07:52 PM
You mean on what a cold, uncaring being God is for promising to answer the prayers that we bring to Him in faith in His Son?  8)