What can you say to someone who says they pray, but never seem to hear from God?
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|Are there different types of doubt, or do all doubtful thoughts and feeling come from the same source? What steps does God give us in the Bible to help us deal with emotional types of doubts? Dr. Ankerberg’s guest, Dr. Gary Habermas answers these and many other questions about doubts in a Christian’s life.
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 4, Cat. No. DBT
Keywords: Dr. Gary Habermas, Dr. John Ankerberg, Christianity, Religion, Doubt, Salvation, Prayer, Grace, Faith, Gospel, Volitional doubt, emotional doubt, Factual doubt, discussion, Prayer, Prayer, John 14:13-14, John 17:15
- Ankerberg: I hear people say, “I’ve prayed in Jesus’ name. I really wanted something from God. I prayed a long time. I meant it. I lived right. Nothing.”
- Habermas: But God promised it, right? There are verses in the Old and New Testament that tell us, “Whatever you pray, pray in my name.” “Many things you’ll do and more.” In fact, probably the biggest concentration of these verses is John 14 to 16. “I’m sending the Holy Spirit. Whatever you do, pray in my name. Heretofore you’ve not done this. Do it. Your joy will be full. You’ll get what you want.” What to me is crazy about this interpretation is how we bring our cultural heritage, our baggage, to interpret these verses. Someone said to me recently that this is a Western thing. A Western thing says, “Get me from.” It’s our pushbutton society; it’s our fast-food society. The old Negro spirituals, when they were slaves, it’s “Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot. Help me through. Help me make another day.” It’s not taking me “from.”
- So I went back and started looking at some of these texts. And, John, one of the most incredible things in Scripture is this. If you go through the New Testament, every time Christians are in a tough situation where God could have done something – right in the New Testament – He leaves them in it more times than He takes them out of it. That should tell you there’s something wrong with that interpretation.
- So then secondly, I went back to those verses and I said, “What’s in the near context of these promises?” And in John 14 through 16, every time there’s a comment about, “Do this and you’ll receive this and you’ll receive this,” then He says a moment later, “But in this world you’ll have persecutions.” Wait a minute! I thought we were talking “from” those things?
- There are three comments in John 14 to 16 that you can have anything you pray for. And there are three comments that you are going to suffer in this world. And then in John 17, Jesus says, “I’m not praying for you [to God] I’m not praying for you to take them out of the world, I’m praying for you to be with them and keep them through it.” [John 17:15] And I thought, “Bingo!” That’s the interpretation. We’re mad at God because we think He should take us “from.” He never promised to take us “from.” Sometimes He does, and that’s His grace; but most of the time, He takes us “through.” And I think that is the scriptural promise. We get angry at Him for the wrong reasons. He never made that promise to take us from things all the time.