Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us.
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-25
I recently saw a T Shirt on FB disrespecting prayer. It exalted science and indicated that it was the only way to get to the truth. Let me start by declaring I am not anti-science. I am an amateur naturalist. My interest is in native and invasive reptiles in the USA. We are called Herpers and I have been one since I was 7 and I am now 61. I read extensively on the subject and am a member of several FB groups dedicated to the study of these creatures. Multiple sciences have helped bring to light much new information about them and I am grateful for all the work done by the researchers in those fields. Many of my friends think I am crazy to like reptiles but I find them fascinating.
Science strictly deals with the material world and that which can be determined by our 5 senses, experimentation and reason. Once you step outside of the long established scientific method you then are dealing with a philosophy and faith based system called Scientism. Scientism is a term generally used to describe the cosmetic application of science in unwarranted situations not covered by the scientific method.
Once someone enters the realm of Scientism, they have in essence entered into the arena of philosophy, religion, and faith.
Science cannot explain the immaterial. It cannot explain such concepts as beauty, mercy, love, goodness, kindness, faith etc. It may well render a number of observations from the physical realm about what may cause us to perceive such concepts but they are at most varied opinions.
One of the erroneous preconceptions about prayer on the T shirt is that prayer is all about getting an answer to a question or request. While that is certainly a goal of prayer it is, in fact, a secondary reason to pray. The first and foremost reason we pray is to the draw closer to our heavenly Father and to fellowship with and worship him.
If any of you have prayed for any length of time, you understand what it is like to get a prayer answered. It’s a remarkable faith affirming experience. You are grateful that your heavenly Father has answered and you are drawn closer.
But if we are honest we have also had many experiences where we did not get our prayers answered in the way we asked. Some can be a heartbreaking disappointment.
In 1982 my first wife and I lost our 4-month-old son Robbie to SIDS. He was on life support for about 3 days after being found blue and unresponsive by his baby sitter. A lovely Christian couple stood with us as we went through the battery of test to determine if he was brain dead. We, this couple, our church and 1000s of Christians all over the world were praying for his life. Yet in the end, after we knew he was gone, we turned off the life support systems and within minutes, while my mom held him, all his bodily functions ceased. He was with Jesus. Painful does not even come close to the emotions a parent experience when they lose a child regardless of the age that they pass.
God’s answer to all these prayers was no. He took Robbie to be with him. Why? I cannot answer that question. I won’t have a satisfactory explanation until I am reunited with him around Gods glorious throne and by then it really won’t matter. We will be with Jesus never to be separated again.
I have to admit it has taken years of prayer and many more experiences with the Lord to help put such a loss in perspective. The Lord has blessed my faith to not have to have an answer to everything that happens, but to continue to trust him in spite of the many unanswered questions we all have in common. Why do I trust him? Because over and over again in things great and small, he has proven his faithfulness to me and countless others in my life.
I am also grateful that the Lord has on occasion used my experiences with the loss of Robbie to help others going through the same painful process. It has been a blessing to be of some help to those hurting people. To a small degree, it helps give me a reason for this loss.
Prayer is as vital to the Christian life as breathing is to our physical life. The more we can pray, the more we seek to know the Lord by his words of eternal truth and in the fellowship of prayer, the more of his life we carry within us to bless others with his love, mercy, grace, and goodness. All these concepts modern science cannot explain.
It is not unscientific to pray. Many of the great pioneers in science were Christians trying to understand the cosmos that they believed God had created. There have been struggles between science and faith in history when one or the other seeks to dominate a culture. I for one would never turn my back on scientific advances in medicine,