Wednesday, 27 February 2013

How Prayer Works

A Thought Prompted by the Book of Tobit

Fairly recently someone asked me if I read the Bible and to my answer of 'Yes' they replied 'Including the Apocrypha?'  Now they were teasing me but it did make me think about why I hadn't read it.  For those of you who don't know the Apocrypha is the bit of the Bible written between the Jewish exile and birth of Jesus which isn't in the Jewish scriptures and was removed from the Bible by the protestant reformers because it appeared have been written in Greek and not Hebrew - although they may have just disagreed with its theology.  I had owned a copy of the Bible with the Apocrypha since the early 1960's when my grandparents bought us all a copy of the brand new translation - The New English Bible - although I suspect this has had something to do with my not reading the Apocrypha as I find the NEB even harder to read than the KJV.

Having armed myself with a more readable translation and an introduction to the Apocrypha I started reading it with no clue to what I would make of it.  So far I have read Tobit and for a story about a devout man blinded by sleeping under a nest of sparrows, a woman who is haunted by a devil that has killed 7 men who married her as soon as they got into the wedding bedroom and the angel Raphael I found at least one thing that made it worth reading.  Raphael has been acting in disguise and towards the end of the story he reveals who is and says:

So now when you (Tobit) and Sarah prayed, it was I who brought and read the record of your prayer before the glory of the Lord, ... God sent me to heal you and Sarah your daughter-in-law. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ready and enter before the glory of the Lord.
(I've left part out or I'd have to include most of the preceding 11 Chapters)

What I want you to notice is that when Raphael brings their prayers before God the only thing God does is to tell Raphael to go and sort it out.  This made me wonder about how often we pray to God about situations when what we should be doing is sorting it out.  I know this isn't always the case, e.g. when praying for a sick friend, but I suspect it is true more than we would like to admit.

So there you have it, a lesson from the Apocrypha.


Anonymous said...

Hugh, sorry this isn't a comment but just info: it appears my blog has been hacked and I'm currently shut out, if I don't get access/or am not confident we have got rid of the bug it may never reappear not as Sheilasfeelgood blog anyway. I will keep you updated if I create a new blog, meanwhile don't send any comments to the old one, Sheila

Anonymous said...

Hello, I'm back now, so apologies for sending a panic email and not a comment. I think this is a good point even over some things we pray for healing for: for example, I might ask people to pray for my ankle to be healed but if I'm not prepared to do the physio exercises I'm not exactly helping.
(ps I'm almost certain my blog is safe now)