The Prayer-Obedience Relationship - page 5

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From the Winter 2008 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

The Prayer-Obedience Relationship

by W. Bingham Hunter, Ph.D.
Vice President and Academic Dean, Phoenix Seminary

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1. Unless marked otherwise, Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2000, 2001 by Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers. Other translations cited: New American Standard Bible (NASB), Updated Edition, copyright ©1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation; and The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV), ©1973, 1978, 1984 by the New York International Bible Society.
2. Prayer promises using words like, “whatever you ask” or “anything you ask,” are either found in, or logically linked to, biblical contexts from which they cannot be removed. These contexts are invariably detailed statements of the moral and ethical characteristics describing an obedient disciple of Christ. The “ask, seek, knock” prayer promises of Matthew 7:7-11, for example, are made to those disciples of Jesus who “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” who both “teach and obey God’s commandments,” who see God as their “Treasure in heaven” and who serve Him as “Master” in every aspect of their lives. The petition: “we want you to do for us whatever we ask” (Mark 10:35), is an expression of selfishness and ignorance.
3. C.S. Lewis, “Petitionary Prayer: A Problem without a Solution,” in W. Hooper, ed., Christian Reflections, (Grand Rapids, MI, Eerdmans, 1967, pp. 142-51.
4. The goal of Christian prayer is the glorification of God through Christ (John 14:14) in the accomplishment of His will and growth in our understanding of and relationship with God (James 4:8).
5. The NIV translators rightly make it clear the last clause of Romans 12:2, “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will,” is the result or consequence of the actions directed in 12:1-2. See on this: James H. Moulton and Nigel Turner, A Grammar of New Testament Greek: Syntax, Vol. 3 (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1963), p. 143.

W. Bingham Hunter is the author of The God Who Hears and Praying When Life Hurts. He joined Phoenix Seminary after six years of pastoral ministry, having served 24 years as Professor and Academic Dean of Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE:  Knowing & Doing is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.
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