I am reading a short book on prayer, entitled “How to Pray” originally enough. It is yet another definitive answer to the problem of prayer which scripture clearly tells us we don’t know how to do. The book is written by R. A. Torrey, who I believe is the Torrey which was big at Moody Bible Institute. I was hoping for something pretty good, not sure I’m getting that. Like most books on prayer, it is very confusing and contradictory. Here’s an example.

He brings up a lady who gave up on Christianity because she couldn’t trust the promises of the Bible. He asked her which one gave her difficulty. Her answer was the promise that if we ask anything we shall receive it. So he turned her to the verse 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”

So he asked her if she had kept His commandments, she admitted that she had not. Well, clearly then, that’s why your prayers aren’t being answered.

Here’s my problem–the solution then is that our works impress God to the point that He will listen to us, which puts the emphasis of answered prayer on us. Yet, I am a sinner, the only way I can do anything good is through faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. How then, pray tell, can I allow the Holy Spirit to produce something good in me? By asking Him, duh. OK, so then I have to pray to be allowed to do something good through the Holy Spirit but then my prayer won’t be answered unless I do something good, but I can’t do something good unless the Holy Spirit does it in me and He won’t work for me if I don’t impress Him by doing something good. Hmm, oh well, guess we don’t know how to pray as we ought.

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