spirit is no less subject to law than the realm of matter. Scripture and experience, moreover, alike testify that in answer to prayer events take place in the outward world which would not have taken place if prayer had not gone before.
According to this second theory, God feeds the starving Elijah, not by a distinct message from heaven but by giving a compassionate disposition to the widow of Zarephath so that she is moved to help the prophet. 1Kings 17:9 ? ?behold, I have commanded a widow there to sustain thee.? But God could also feed Elijah by the ravens and the angel (1Ki.17:4; 19:15), and the pouring rain that followed Elijah?s prayer (1Ki.18:42-45) cannot be explained as a subjective spiritual phenomenon. Diman, Theistic Argument, 268 ? ?Our charts map out not only the solid shore but the windings of the ocean currents and we look into the morning papers to ascertain the gathering of storms on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains.? But law rules in the realm of spirit as well as in the realm of nature. See Baden Powell, in Essays and Reviews, 106-162; Knight, Studies in Philosophy and Literature, 340-404; George I. Chace, discourse before the Porter Rhet. Soc. of Andover, August, 1854. Governor Rice in Washington is moved to send money to a starving family in New York and to secure employment for them. Though he has had no information with regard to their need, they have knelt in prayer for help just before the coming of the aid.
(c) Nor by maintaining that God suspends or breaks in upon the order of nature, in answering every prayer that is offered. This view does not take account of natural laws as having objective existence, and as revealing the order of God?s being. Omnipotence might thus suspend natural law, but wisdom, so far as we can see, would not.
Those who see in nature no force but the all working will of God might well hold this third theory. But the properties and powers of matter are revelations of the divine will, and the human will has only a relative independence in the universe. To desire that God would answer all our prayers is to desire omnipotence without omniscience. All true prayer is therefore an expression of the one petition: ?Thy will be done?
( <400610>Matthew 6:10). E. G. Robinson: ?It takes much common sense to pray and many prayers are destitute of this quality. Man needs to pray audibly even in his private prayers to get the full benefit of them. One of the chief benefits of the English liturgy is that the individual minister is lost sight of. Protestantism makes you work and in Romanism the church will do it all for you.
<- Previous Table of Contents Next ->
Was this article helpful?