Ask Dr. Ron? Why do I need to pray?

FullSizeRenderIMG_7570_1024A client asked this curious question . . .

“Why do I need to pray since God already knows what’s best for me and knows the outcome?

The short answer is because God commands us to pray. Paul, says to the church at   Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” This is a command rather than a suggestion. Paul issues the command again in 1 Tim 2:8 – “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.” So, to discontinue praying because God already knows what’s best and the outcome of each of my prayers would be disobedient to His command to pray.

Another way to look at this question would be from God’s prospective. Since God knows everything and already knows what’s best for me, and knows the outcome, why would He command you and me to pray about anything?

(Let that percolate a little . . .)

First, God is all about relationship with each and every one of us. Our relationship with Him is “faith-based.” He wants us to have faith in Him and to trust Him. Part of that faith and trust involves talking to Him in prayer. Prayer involves telling Him things, asking Him for things, thanking Him for things, praising Him for things, and yes, confessing things we have done wrong. My relationship with my wife would not grow if I never spoke to her.

In like fashion, although God knows what’s best and knows the outcome of each of my prayers, He still wants me to share them with Him as it grows my relationship with Him.

Second, David, the man after God’s own heart seemed to think that prayer might change God’s mind in certain situations. You may remember that David’s adultery with Bathsheba produced a child. God told David that as part of the ramifications of his sin with Bathsheba would be that the child would die (2 Samuel 12:14). David began fasting and praying like crazy asking God to allow the child to live. Seven days later the child died. David cleaned up and requested some food to eat. His servants were confused but David responded in 2 Sam. 12:22, “. . . While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’

You see, even though David knew God knew the outcome, he still thought that if he fasted and prayed just maybe God might allow the child to live.

Third, Hezekiah, one of the kings in the Old Testament, became sick and got the following news from God’s prophet Isaiah,

“Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.'” 2 Kings 20:1. Here’s how Hezekiah responded, “Then he (Hezekiah) turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord. “Remember now, O Lord, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Return and say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life.” 2 Kings 20:2-6

Get the Point . . . Hezekiah received a death sentence from God . . . but he responded by praying. Instead of death, Hezekiah got 15 more years of life . . . Good reason to pray, uh?

Ask Dr. Ron – Where do miscarried babies go?

 

 

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Recently a person asked me this question:

“Where do ‘miscarried’ babies go when they die?”           

Thought provoking question to say the least.

First, let’s approach this question with some truth about how God feels about children in the first place . . .

And they were bringing children to Him (Jesus) so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. NASU (Mark 10:13-16)

Wow! Seems clear that children in general have a special place in God’s heart, doesn’t it? So what about the death of one of these little ones? A similar question is “Where do ‘aborted’ babies go?”

In the past, scholars have debated this question for centuries, and I imagine they will continue to do so in the centuries to come.

Foundational to this question is the fact that one of the attributes or qualities of God is that He is a Fair and Just God. (see Job 5:1ff )

Foundational to this question is also the fact that children are very “believing” in their acceptance of life experiences and people. That’s what Jesus is inferring when He said, “. . . whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”

The best example of where infants go in death is shared with us by the “man after God’s own heart,” David, in 2 Samuel 12:15-23. David is speaking to his servants in the last verse of this passage when he said, “But now he (baby) has died; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” NASU

Some argue that the reference to “go to him” is the grave. In other words, one day I will die too and go to the grave like he just did. I’m not sure that is what David had in mind when he said those words. I think they were words of the hope and expectation that David would be with and see his infant child again when he passes from this life to the next.

So, the answer to the question, “Where do miscarried, aborted babies, and infants go when they die?” can be summed up in one word . . . Heaven.