American Heart Association Study on Prayer

American Heart Association Study on Prayer

What did it find? Intercessory prayer seems to have benefits. Although the confident Christian might answer, “Of course it works,” I wonder if such a study should be done. That is, there are so many presuppositions that guide the people who are studying. It seems even by the name of the study that it is seeking to show the positive effects of prayer for the mind. Can there be more said as regards prayer and healing?

Find the article here.

  • Christy
    Posted at 15:55h, 03 April Reply

    Hey Matt! I’ve been meaning to ask you…do you recommend any books on prayer? I listened to a talk by Talbot that your wife gave me and he talked a lot about God’s foreknowledge of things that are going on. I agree with this theology, but struggle now with how does my prayer fit into that picture? This is a condensed version of what goes through my mind, hopefully you understand where I’m coming from.

  • Matthew Wireman
    Posted at 19:54h, 03 April Reply

    Good question: So many people make the horrible assumption that because God knows what we are going to pray, why do it? The first book I would recommend is:
    Prayer & The Knowledge of God

    Another area this affects is evangelism. If God knows who he is going to save and there is a specific number and only he can change someone’s heart, why even share the Gospel? This book rocked my world: Evangelism & The Sovereignty of God

  • Matthew Wireman
    Posted at 19:56h, 03 April Reply

    By the way, Sproul has said that everyone is a Calvinist on their knees. True. When we ask God to do something – save someone – we are asking him to do something against the person’s will. They are God’s enemy, only a miracle will change their hearts. How someone holds to unfettered free will is beyond me when they are on their knees.

  • Jason
    Posted at 00:49h, 05 April Reply

    That’s kinda funny… because Catholics do a lot of kneeling ;-)

    I find the whole free will vs. predestination debate pretty boring. Let’s just admit that none of us can figure out why or how some people end up Christians while others don’t, or some Christians fall away. It’s a mystery, and that’s where I like to leave it.

  • Matthew Wireman
    Posted at 07:40h, 05 April Reply

    I believe there are a lot of mysteries, Jason, God’s sovereign control and salvation is not one of them. This is how some people are Christian and most are not – it’s not a mystery.

    Catholics and many others are on their knees…when people pray they are asking God to do something only a completely sovereign God can do. So, yes, if you are asking God to change someone’s heart, you are probably an inconsistent free willer.

  • Jason
    Posted at 18:11h, 05 April Reply

    Well, I see plenty of verses that indicate we have free will to choose or deny Christ and I also see verses that point towards predestination. Isn’t free will what Adam and Eve were given, enabling them to break God’s law?

    When I pray for others’ salvation, I’m asking God to soften their hearts to the Gospel, to influence them, to provide opportunities to witness to them, and for the courage to do so, but how can God make the decision for us? I do consider faith to be a gift from God, but the extremes of predestination or complete free will both feel like oversimplified ways of trying to squeeze God’s ways into our feeble minds.

  • Matthew Wireman
    Posted at 20:24h, 05 April Reply

    What verses are you thinking of? Better, how do you define “free will”?

    I see your issue, but when we ask God to soften an enemy’s heart, it is against their unregenerate will. With all this talk, I don’t want it to sound like God forces himself upon a person. Rather, I believe that the New Covenant spoken of in Jer 31 says we will receive a heart of flesh. This means that it will feel and desire the things of God. God must give us new desires…this is what I mean by God’s intervening work. I affirm that apart from God’s initiative, man will never be saved.

  • Jason
    Posted at 22:49h, 07 April Reply

    I define free will as the ability to make our own decisions. Free will is necessary to love. Had they been denied free will, Adam and Eve would never have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, but on the flip side mankind would be incapable of truly loving God because we never had the ability not to love God.

    God could soften their hearts, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll accept Christ. If man cannot be saved outside of God’s initiative, why doesn’t God make that initiative with everyone? (I know this question is asked a million times, but it’s clearly a difficult hurdle.)

    Here are some verses you asked about:

    In Genesis 4:7 God says to Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

    Philippians 2:12 “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”

    2 Timothy 2:11-13 “If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we wil also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.”

    1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we can imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.”

    Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”

    I feel like the message for us is clear that we can lose our salvation if we are spiritually undisciplined and allow sin to creep back into our lives.

    Hope this helps clarify my perspective.–>

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