An Answered Prayer: Duane W.H. Arnold

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23 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    If this is true…and I think it is…we are striving for something already finished…that we fail to even acknowledge…

  2. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    I think you are right…

  3. Shawn says:

    As I read this wonderful post two things came to mind:

    1) Could it be that the reason we consider it unanswered, or at least by all appears the evidence points towards that conclusion, is because we have a fundamental misunderstanding of what unity looks like or even is? Maybe there is too much weight placed on the idea of complete or absolute unity. Could an essential component of unity, humanly speaking, be the process instead of the finished product. In the process things are often messy. In the process disunity must be worked through and solved, often I might add with much conflict and great pain.

    This also has me wondering where is this place with say the passage in which the disciples are arguing over who will be greatest in the Kingdom and all there other shenanigans? What I am getting at is that this prayer began amongst those who are no different than we are as it extends across the days, months, years, decades, centuries, and millenia to us.

    Plus there is this idea that the Godhead itself is distinct but unified along with the ancient adage “unity in divesity.” I do think that last one probably needs clarification especially as there have been not only conceptual but substantive changes to what these words can and should mean.

    2) Just how lax I have become in my own prayer life. It seems I spend more time frustrated and asking why my body does not work like it used to and why is everything so hard? I am glad that most of these moments when I yell, slam, and throw things are shared with God. As far as I know no other human sees or hears this sad display of faith. Then to stop for a moment and read this article and consider that when Christ prayed that prayer, as the weight of his crucifixion was nearing even knocking on the door, it was for me. It was not only for me but it was nonetheless for me.

    “Lord Awaken my heart to the wonders of your Spirit may I commune and be one with you not only for my own benefit but for your body. I have many deep wounds that need healing. If only I could touch the hem of your garment…”

    “I am out of balance in so many ways, physiologically and spiritually, bring me back into balance. Forgive my frustration and unbelief. Give me compassion and grace with my brothers and sisters in the faith every working in the trenches of unity. May we in our love for one another be the expression, even the answer, to your prayer. Thank you for this day and Duane’s article, amen.”

    Considering myself an answer to Christ’s prayer is a tough pill to swallow but God can’t be wrong can He? As much as it pains me to admit it I know deep inside He is not but this does not make it any less mysterious.

  4. Duane Arnold says:

    Shawn

    Many thanks for your reflection… he prays for us…

  5. Linn says:

    Thank you, Duane!

  6. Officerhoppy says:

    OK. I ha e questions about this…don’t crucify me! But What is the effect of Christ praying for me?

    So much of Christianity is based upon symbolism that represent something concrete (like the discussion on the Eucharist). Or theologically ideas that simply have to be believed in faith But I don’t know that I experience anything truly concrete because of Christ’s prayer for me. I know I should be moved by the notion but in truth I am not.

    So any thoughts on the practicalness of. Christ’s prayers for me would be helpful

  7. Officerhoppy says:

    I don’t necessarily se the effectiveness of my own prayers much less, Christs’

  8. Linn says:

    Officer Hoppy,

    These thoughts come to mind:
    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. I John 2:1
    He is our advocate before the Father when we sin.

    Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Rom 8:34
    He intercedes on our behalf before the Father.

    Also, Hebrews 7:24-25, 1 Timothy 2:5, and my personal favorite Hebrews 4:14-16

    These verses help me appreciate how much Jesus understands me and that he is always interceding for me before the Father. That’s an encouragement!

  9. Duane Arnold says:

    Linn

    You got it…

  10. Officerhoppy says:

    Thanks for taking the time to respond, Linn

  11. Officerhoppy says:

    So, it should create a sense of personal encouragement?

    Sounds like the value we give metaphysical things is what we give it. Like carrying a rabbits foot in your pocket, or posting a horse shoe with corks down. Wearing rally hats at a baseball game. To one person these things have meaning. But in reality, it’s just superstition and in reality has no impact.

    I tend to think that a lot of what we do in Christianity has value and meaning if we give it value an meaning.

  12. Linn says:

    Officer Hoppy,

    I think God’s Word itself gives it value and meaning, even when I don’t feel or “get” it. As I spend more time in the Word and prayer, the meaning becomes more significant to me. I may have an emotional response, but if I depended on that alone, I would have given up on prayer ages ago. Believing that God’s Word is true gives prayer significance, while my emotions can be all over the place like an elusive blob of mercury.

  13. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    I find your words disturbing…but I may be wrong.
    You seem to believe that anything worth practicing must have a pragmatic, temporal effect.
    That…is not the Christian faith.

    The scriptures speak of another realm and unseen forces, things that are only apprehended by faith.

    “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
    (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

    I taught on this last weekend…biblical faith is not just believing in God, but believing God…even when there is no pragmatic reason to.

    “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.”
    (Hebrews 11:13 ESV)

  14. Michael says:

    There are many things I do not understand…things that cause me much pain and deep grief.
    seemingly unanswered prayers, unmitigated sufferings, wrong roads taken when I thought the signs were clear…there is a long list.

    I almost gave up…but I choose to pray “I believe, help my unbelief’…I still don’t understand, but I know Him.

  15. Officerhoppy says:

    Michael
    I appreciate your comments. I haven’t given up on prayer but unfortunately, while I am a follower of Christ I don’t have a great track record when it comes to prayer. I feel like it’s just a religious exercise that Christian’s do. People ask me to pray for healing, and as a pastor, I do. But i don’t think God is going to answer that prayer.

    I wish it weren’t that way and that somehow, I felt some connection with Him when I pray, but after 52 years of following Christ, I’ve kinda given up on praying with any earnest.

  16. pstrmike says:

    There is so much more to prayer than praying for other’s or our own needs. Intercession and petition are a part of prayer, but that is one aspect of it. I think what we often fail to admit that when we pray for God to do something in our’s or another’s life, we are really looking for sign and wonders. We rarely call it that, unless of course you are charismatic and into renewal, but that I believe is the spiritual reality of what we are doing when we pray such prayers. We further forget that “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Mat 17:21).

    Joan Chittister, OSB, commenting of Chapter 9 of The Rule of Benedict notes that in the Night Office , there are four elements of prayer : the versicle, the doxology, responsories, and explanations of Scripture. “This develops in us a “prayer life grounded in faith, witness, attention, and serious study. Here is a prayer life that is serious, not superficial,; concentrated not comfortable; full of witness, full of faith.” When this takes place, the miracle is that unity with God and therefore others within the Body of Christ that the OP spoke about.

  17. Duane Arnold says:

    At the heart of Christianity is ‘mystery’… the mystery of salvation, the mystery of the Eucharist, the mystery of the Holy Trinity and, yes, the mystery of prayer. Mysteries in the strict sense, since they concern realities of the divine order, are beyond the comprehension of any created intellect. This special obscurity comes from the fact that they have to do with an eternal God. In this sense mystery may be defined as “A hidden reality or secret. More specifically, in the theology of revelation, a truth that human beings cannot discover except from revelation and that, even after revelation, exceeds their comprehension.”

    To have a problem in understanding prayer is part and parcel of Christian faith. Denying the efficacy or reality of prayer owing to our lack of understanding is something else altogether…

  18. Duane Arnold says:

    “The very question “Does prayer work?” puts us in the wrong frame of mind from the outset. “Work”: as if it were magic, or a machine—something that functions automatically. Prayer is either a sheer illusion or a personal contact between embryonic, incomplete persons (ourselves) and the utterly concrete Person. Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine. In it God shows Himself to us. That He answers prayers is a corollary— not necessarily the most important one— from that revelation. What He does is learned from what He is.”

    C.S. Lewis

  19. Officerhoppy says:

    To be clear, I pray and I pray often. But not with the effect I’ve been led to expect. Unfortunately, is is more of a religious thing to do.

    Duane
    Regarding the “mystery” aspect of God, I agree with your comment. No thinking person can read the scriptures and not come to that conclusion. But I wonder if some place too much emphasis in that quality. There is a lot of freedom in interpreting the mystery. And that scares me.

    Sometimes it sounds like God doesn’t know what he is doing. Something I don’t believe

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    “But not with the effect I’ve been led to expect…”

    That’s what Lewis was addressing…

  21. Dread says:

    I just found time to pause and reflect on this… and to revisit Jn 17… wonderful insight

    Our unity is impossible apart from our union with the Triune God…

    Thank you Duane… this puzzling call reframed lessens our sense of failure and increases our desire to revisit the matter … Once again this unity was to be manifested in our participation in ONE table

    This is a hopeful call. We have a unity of and in the Spirit. I see this manifested when I travel internationally and meet believers in other lands….we immediately know one another … and share a bond greater than we share with those outside our faith …

    Ok I have to reflect more lest I miss it… like looking in a mirror we have it until we turn away

  22. Duane Arnold says:

    Dread

    Many thanks…

  23. Officerhoppy says:

    Dread
    We are the beneficiaries of your contemplations upon this matter

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