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home : religion : religion January 19, 2019

12/9/2018 12:05:00 AM
Opposing Prayers
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'


Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church


I know many people who were praying fervently this week that it would not snow because they had special holiday plans and didn’t want them interrupted. I know many others who were praying just as hard that it would snow so they could stay home in their pajamas and binge watch football or movies. This difference in prayers about the weather came up in Bible Study this week and we had a lively discussion about how God answers prayers like this. Would God stop the snow for those who wanted to keep their holiday plans? Would God send the snow for those who wanted a day off at home?

These seem like silly questions, but it became a serious discussion. Is it ok to ask God for what we want when it comes to the weather or even the outcome of a football game? Football fans from both teams can be seen praying in the stands, but only one team can win. How does God hear the opposing prayers of his people, and how does he answer them? God’s people pray for opposing things all the time on issues much more important than a snow storm or football championship. Can we really pray for the things we want?

Jackie D.

Jesus seems to be saying we can in Mark 11:22-24:

22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

This is a good example of how we should not let any one passage stand alone because no matter how sincerely we pray, it can’t snow and not snow at the same time. Both teams can’t win the football game. Many other serious issues have God’s people praying in opposition to each other, so what does this mean about prayer? Jesus clarified this dilemma by giving his disciples a sample prayer in Matthew 6:9-13: 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Jesus clearly tells us to pray for what we need according to His will. Does this mean we should only pray for our needs and not our wants? Do the outcomes of snow storms and football games on God’s people matter to God?

When I posed the dilemma of opposing snow prayers to an elder of our church, Becky said “I pray that He will help me receive whatever He sends”. God can answer opposing prayers for everyone in this way no matter what we are praying for. Maybe we can pray for what we want as long as we also pray that God will help us receive what he sends according to His will.

Rev. Susan Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church www.emanuelreformedchurch.com


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