Prayer penetrates our DOMINION over this earth
GPS? There are two different kinds.
Only one of them is truly worth using.
WHY DO WE NEED TO PRAY? Since God is sovereign, can He not do anything He wants to do, any time He wants to do it?
As He created life on the earth, God said "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over...all the earth." (Genesis 1:26) "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" (Genesis 1:27-28) Also, Psalm 8 refers to humans as having been made "a little lower than God" and "made...to have dominion over the works of Your hands." The earth was completely given over to Adam as its manager or governor. According to pastor and Bible scholar Dutch Sheets, "so complete and final was Adam's authority over the earth that he, not just God, had the ability to give it away to another! ...So complete and final was God's decision to do things on earth through human beings that it cost God the Incarnation to regain what Adam gave away. ...Without question, humans were forever to be God's link to authority and activity on the earth." (Intercessory Prayer: How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth by Dutch Sheets, Ventura, California: Regal Books, 1996, p. 28)
In other words, Scripture could hardly be more clear in telling us that God limited Himself, in the affairs of earth, to working through human beings. This explains the necessity of prayer. We pray to penetrate the dominion over this earth given to us by our Creator. Because of our dominion, we must invite God to intervene in our lives. We must give Him permission to, in effect, break through the dominion barrier and take charge of the situation we are inviting Him into. Since we are asking God to move into the driver's seat, it is particularly important that we also allow Him to take over the GPS...to BECOME our GPS! (That's Godly Positioning System, if you don't use it yet. Never any errors, no "recalculating" messages in a strange computer voice, and never any software to up- date or batteries to buy.) When you use the top-of-the-line Super-G model, there's nothing to buy and nothing to plug in...just ask God to start positioning things, and then get out of His way!
Remember the Lord's Prayer as it was taught in the Bible by Jesus? (See Matthew, chapter 6.) "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Jesus specifically tells us to ask for God's will to be done in place of our own. Why? Because it is usually our own will that we want to see done, since we have dominion here. An extremely important part of becoming "born again" is to realize that we are usually in the habit of making poor choices; with true surrender to God, we will want to see His will done in our lives and His best choices come to pass in our lives. See the paragraph on "non-directed prayer" at the bottom of this page.
In one of the most compelling and best known studies on the effectiveness of prayer, Dr. Randolph Byrd, a California cardiologist, compared 393 patients at San Francisco General Hospital's coronary care unit. The patients were divided into two groups; one group was prayed for, and one group was not. This study was performed under tightly-controlled conditions. The results were impressive: the group receiving prayer needed significantly less medication, fewer surgical procedures, and experienced more rapid healing. In addition, in many other studies prayer has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
In another more recent study, women at an in vitro fertilization clinic had higher pregnancy rates when even total strangers were praying for them. This study, conducted in a hospital in Seoul, Korea, found a doubling of the pregnancy rate among women who received prayer. This randomized study involved 199 women who were undergoing fertility treatments in 1998 and 1999; all the women were selected for the study based on similar age and fertility factors. (See Journal of Reproductive Health, Sept. 2001.) Noteworthy is the fact that none of the women nor their medical caregivers knew about the study or that anyone was praying for them. In other words, the study was conducted under tightly controlled and unbiased conditions. The women in the "prayed for" group became pregnant twice as often as the women who did not receive prayer.
Another recent study involved 150 heart patients, all of whom were scheduled for angioplasty, in which doctors insert a little device called a stent into clogged heart arteries to keep them open. Patients who were prayed for during their procedure had far fewer complications, according to The American Heart Journal which published the study.
There have even been studies done involving nonhuman organisms such as enzyme cells, bacteria, plants, or animals. None of these could be affected by outside factors such as faith. Sometimes prayers were for growth of the organism, and sometimes prayers were reversed, against growth. Each time, the organisms responded according to the focus of the prayers.
Here are the details on the GPS part:
If "directed prayer" is to ask for a desired outcome in specific terms, then "non-directed prayer" is a "Thy will be done" kind of prayer in which we allow God to determine the best outcome. A prayer research organization called Spindrift has shown conclusively that while both types of prayer can be effective, non-directed prayer yields quantitatively greater results. You will never be sorry when you put your life in God's hands and allow Him to guide your path through life!
Regardless of method, prayer is not so much about getting what you want, but rather about com- municating with God and cultivating your capacity for love, gratitude, and enjoyment of life as you ask the Creator to take over as your Guide through life. (Jesus Himself was not willing to go through life any other way!)
(And one more thing: That top-of-the-line Super-G model mentioned above is the only GPS model God offers. God only wants the best for His family. If you still have any doubt about just how good God's GPS is, reread the story by Ken Gaub on our "Amazing True Stories" page.)
God is real, and prayer works!
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