Q&A Questions on Prayer from HomeGroups rev..docx
A Dozen Questions on Prayer from the CBC Home Groups: Seeking & Hearing God’s Voice in our Daily Lives
- When I pray for direction, after a decision has been made, I often second guess myself as to whether it was God’s voice I heard, or my own desire. How can I know for sure?
- In John 10 Jesus said that His sheep hear his voice. What does hearing God’s voice look like? How do I know it is Him I am hearing?
- How does one pray without ceasing?
- Some have described prayer as two-way communication between man and God. I know that I can talk to God in prayer, but does God speak to me apart from His Word? Would God speaking to me be considered prayer?
- How do you pray without sounding like a broken record?
- If I have prayed for someone, whether it’s for their salvation or for God to intervene in their life, is it really necessary to pray more than once?
- Since God is all powerful and sovereign and does what He wills, do my prayers really make a difference?
- You’ve mentioned that you have a list of people in your Bible you pray for. What does that look like in your life, as I imagine you have quite a list?
- If prayer is so important to the Christian walk, why do so few see it as necessary?
- Since we are taught by Christ in Matthew 6:5-7 not to be like the hypocrites who love to pray in front of others. He tells us rather to go into our closets to pray – to pray in secret, what is the place for corporate prayer? Isn’t it a setting for the flesh to become proud, or to judge others as they pray?
- We are told in Scripture that if we ask anything according to His will that He hears us and that “we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” (I John 5:14-15). Since God is not willing that any should perish and that all should come to repentance, can we with confidence pray knowing that our prayer will be answered? On the other hand, God being sovereign and choosing whom He will, seems to contradict that promise. Can I be sure He will answer my pray for someone’s salvation or other things stated in Scripture as His will?
- Other than a prayer of repentance leading to salvation, is there anything in Scripture that would indicate God answers the prayers of unbelievers?
- Sometimes when I pray, I intellectually agree that God is able, but in my heart I’m not sure He will answer my prayer. Since the Bible states that without faith, it is impossible to please God, is that uncertainty on my part considered “unbelief” and if so, is that prayer impacted by my “lack of faith”?
Jesus said Beware
1 Cor. 14:37
2 Peter 1:19
Matthew 12:38-39 Beware of craving a voice.. Jesus warned about craving a sign more than listening just to His sure voice. We have all four Gospels and all of the Epistles, if we need more than that it equals demanding a sign.
How Many Times Does God Talk to Peter & Paul?
Peter heard the voice of God in Acts 10, 12, Matthew 17, any others?
Paul heard God’s voice at conversion in Acts 9; 23:11 on the ship; in Acts 18 “I have many in this city”; at stoning?
Unleash the powerful truths of the Doctrine of Prayer (our personal communication with God), which teaches us, among other things, that “Prayer changes the way God acts”. Prayer is personal communication with God.
This amazing doctrine is portrayed in these Scriptures: James 4:2; Luke 11:9-10; Ex. 32:9-14.
God Wants Us To Pray. In prayer God allows us as creatures to be involved in activities that are eternally important. When we pray, the work of the kingdom is advanced. In this way, prayer gives us opportunity to be involved in a significant way in the work of the kingdom and thus gives expression to our greatness as creatures made in God’s image. If we were really convinced that prayer changes the way God acts, and that God does bring about remarkable changes in the world in response to prayer, as Scripture repeatedly teaches that he does, then we would pray much more than we do. If we pray little, it is probably because we do not really believe that prayer accomplishes much at all.
Prayer Changes the Way God Acts. James tells us, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (James 4:2). He implies that failure to ask deprives us of what God would otherwise have given to us. We pray, and God responds. Jesus also says, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10). He makes a clear connection between seeking things from God and receiving them. When we ask, God responds.
Our Choices Matter. Augustine’s statement also says that we have “self-determination.” This is simply affirming that our choices really do determine what will happen. It is not as if events occur regardless of what we decide or do, but rather that they occur because of what we decide and do. No attempt is made in this statement to define the sense in which we are “free” or “not free,” but that is not the really important issue: for us, it is important that we think, choose, and act, and that these thoughts, choices, and actions are real and actually have eternal significance. If God knows all our thoughts, words, and actions long before they occur, then there must be some sense in which our choices are not absolutely free.
Prayer is Vital. If we were really convinced that prayer changes the way God acts, and that God does bring about remarkable changes in the world in response to prayer, as Scripture repeatedly teaches that he does, then we would pray much more than we do. If we pray little, it is probably because we do not really believe that prayer accomplishes much at all.
Listening to God’s Voice Means Trusting God
So, how would a life nourished on the Word of God handle that series of terrible events? By trusting God. What does that mean?
First, God is Good: that means everything He does is good, kind, and helpful. Second, God is Wise: that means that He chooses the best way, the right timing, and the best means to accomplish everything in our lives.
Third, God is All-Powerful: that means nothing can stop, hinder, thwart, or disrupt His plan.
Finally, God is Everywhere-Present: that means He is totally everywhere we are at all times.
So what does it mean to trust a Good, Wise, All-Powerful, and Everywhere-Present God in the situation above, just described?
- God’s Word Trumps Any Experience (1:19 “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts”).
The first main point is that the word of prophecy is a surer confirmation of God’s truth than the voice from Heaven.
Peter points out that the written words of the Old Testament are more convincing than an audible voice.
He is saying, “Although I was an eyewitness to the life of the Messiah, although I was an eyewitness to the events of the Transfiguration, although I was an eyewitness of the majesty of the Son of Man and I heard with my own ears the voice of God the Father, all this does not guarantee the truth of my experience.”
- The Bible is the very Word of God (1:19a “And so we have the prophetic word).
The “prophetic word” refers not just to the OT major and minor prophets, but to the entire OT. Of course, all of the OT was written by “prophets” in the truest sense, since they spoke and wrote God’s Word, which was the task of a prophet, and they looked forward, in some sense, to the coming Messiah (cf. Luke 24:27).
- The prophetic word (Scripture) is more complete, more permanent, and more authoritative than the experience of anyone (1:19b “confirmed”).
This translation could indicate that the eyewitness account of Christ’s majesty at the Transfiguration confirmed the Scriptures. However, the Gr. word order is crucial in that it does not say that. It says, “And we have more sure the prophetic word.”
That original arrangement of the sentence supports the interpretation that Peter is ranking Scripture over experience.
The prophetic word (Scripture) is more complete, more permanent, and more authoritative than the experience of anyone.
More specifically, the Word of God is a more reliable verification of the teachings about the person, atonement, and second coming of Christ than even the genuine first hand experiences of the apostles themselves.
- Because of false teachers always around us, we must carefully understand God’s Word (1:19c “which you do well to heed”).
Peter was warning believers that since they would be exposed to false teachers, they must pay careful attention to Scripture.
The Word of God is not verified by any individual’s experience. Rather, experience is to be judged by the Word of God. Peter is saying that he is strongly convinced, not because he heard the voice from Heaven, but because Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of the Old Testament.
The word of prophecy from the Old Testament is a surer confirmation of God’s truth than the voice from Heaven. When put together with New Testament revelation, the written Word of God is more convincing than anyone’s personal experience.
- God’s Word is the only light that can shine in the great darkness of spiritual error (1:19d “as a light that shines in a dark place”).
The murky darkness of this fallen world keeps people from seeing the truth until the light shines. The light is the lamp of revelation, the Word of God (cf. Ps. 119:105; John 17:17).
How does Peter explain the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture (1:19–21)?
Scripture, claims Peter, is not of human origin. Neither is Scripture the result of human will (1:21). The emphasis in this phrase is that no part of Scripture was produced solely because men wanted it so. The Bible is not the product of sheer human effort.
The prophets, in fact, often wrote what they could not understand (1 Peter 1:10–11), but they were nevertheless faithful to write what God revealed to them. Instead of relying on their own purposes, men were “moved by the Holy Spirit” (1:21) to write. Grammatically, this means that they were continually carried or borne along by the Spirit of God (Luke 1:70; Acts 27:15, 17).
The Holy Spirit thus is the divine author and originator, the producer of the Scriptures. In the Old Testament alone, the human writers refer to their writings as the words of God over 3,800 times (Jeremiah 1:4; 3:2; Romans 3:2; 1 Corinthians 2:10).
Though the human writers were active rather than passive in the process of writing Scripture, God the Holy Spirit superintended them so that, using their own individual personalities, thought processes, and vocabulary, they composed and recorded without error the exact words God wanted written. The original documents of Scripture are therefore inspired (God-breathed, 2 Timothy 3:16), and inerrant (without error, John 10:34–35; 17:17; Titus 1:2). Peter here has described the process of inspiration that created an inerrant original text (Proverbs 30:5; 1 Corinthians 14:36; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Does God Verbally Speak to Me?
July 16, 2014 by John Piper Topic: The Bible Series: Ask Pastor John
God stands forth from his inspired Word as we reads it prayerfully and dependently. And, I would add this: that the Word in the Bible is more sure than anything you can hear outside the Bible.
1 Corinthians 14:37 You can call yourself spiritual and be tuned in to God, but if anything you say doesn’t accord with what I say, you are not recognized, which means that outside the Bible we have fallible, uncertain impressions and messages.
It seems to me to be folly to crave the lesser authority and the lesser riches outside the Bible than the riches and the greater authority that we have barely tasted, let alone digested inside the Bible.
I don’t see anything in the Bible that would say God can’t communicate with us in extraordinary ways outside the Bible. He can. And if he does, we should test it by his infinitely authoritative risen Word and we should commend it to those whose lives show a deep, long wisdom in Christ.
Beware, Ryland, beware of craving the sensations of a voice. Jesus warned against those who seek a
It means that the voice of Jesus Christ the Son of God wasn’t adequate. They needed something more. They needed to feel more, touch more, see more. They wanted more. And Jesus wouldn’t give it to them. And I think we are in a situation today not unlike that.
We hear more of the Son of God than anybody in Jesus’ day ever heard, because we have all four gospels and those people got it in snatches. Therefore we have the wholeness of the revelation that Jesus meant to communicate and it is speaking to us every time we read the Bible.
And if we turn away from that and say: But I need a sign. I need a voice. I need a tree to fall down in the woods when I am talking. I need something. We are putting ourselves in the position of those who demanded a sign.
 All definitions are quoted from: Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 168). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.