Info

Tyndall (see reference above), while repelling the charge of denying that God can answer prayer at all, yet does deny that he can answer it without a miracle. He says expressly ?that, without a disturbance of natural law quite as serious as the stoppage of an eclipse or the rolling of the St. Lawrence up the falls of Niagara, no act of humiliation, individual or national, could call one shower from heaven or deflect toward us a single beam of the sun.? In reply we would remark:

A. Negatively, that the true solution is not to be reached:

(a) By making the sole effect of prayer to be its reflex influence upon the petitioner ? Prayer presupposes a God who hears and answers. It will not be offered, unless it is believed to accomplish objective as well as subjective results.

According to the first view mentioned above, prayer is a mere spiritual gymnastics ? an effort to lift ourselves from the ground by tugging at our own bootstraps. David Hume said well, after heating a sermon by Dr. Leechman: ?We can make use of no expression or even thought in prayers and entreaties which does not imply that these prayers have an influence.? See Tyndall on Prayer and Natural Law, in Fragments of Science, 35. Will men pray to a God who is both deaf and dumb? Will the sailor on the bowsprit whistle to the wind for the sake of improving his voice? Horace Bushnell called this perversion of prayer a ?mere dumb bell exercise.? Baron Munchausen pulled himself out of the bog in China by tugging away at his own pigtail.

Hyde, God?s Education of Man, 154, 155 ? ?Prayer is not the reflex action of my will upon itself, but rather the communion of two wills, in which the finite comes into connection with the Infinite and, like the trolley, appropriates its purpose and power.? Harnack, Wesen des Christenthums, 42, apparently follows Schleiermacher in unduly limiting prayer to general petitions which receive only a subjective answer. He tells us that ?Jesus taught his disciples the Lord?s Prayer in response to a request for directions how to pray. Yet we look in vain therein for requests for special gifts of grace, or for particular good things, even though they are spiritual. The name, the will, the kingdom of God ? these are the things which are the objects of petition.? Harnack forgets that the same Christ said also: ?All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them? ( <411124>Mark 11:24).

(b) Nor by holding that God answers prayer simply by spiritual means, such as the action of the Holy Spirit upon the spirit of man. The realm of

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment