QUESTION: Dear madam I have a few questions for you
Are there any studies on the affect on others as well as the mind of others? I have read studies on how Prayer changes our minds when one prays as well as the health of others.
Also may I ask what hell is and how long it likes.
Also does God change people through prayer?
ANSWER: Hello Raul;
There are scientific studies out there attempting to measure prayer's effectiveness. Some studies conclude that prayer doesn't do anything and might make things worse for some people, other studies conclude that prayer helps, sometimes quite a lot. Trying to perform a scientific study on whether prayer works is like the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment.
In order to help people understand quantum mechanics Erwin Schrödinger presented a scenario in which a cat hidden in a box is both alive and dead. Even though you open the box to find out if the cat is alive or dead, if you find that the cat is dead, you still have no conclusive results because the act of opening the box could have killed the cat--the cat was alive until you opened it--or the cat was dead the whole time, you just don't know. Of course, if the cat is alive, then it is alive.
Trying to test prayer and receive a definitive answer is a lot like Schrödinger's cat thought experiment. Just because it seems to arrive dead, doesn't mean that it wasn't working until you checked to see. A confusing concept in quantum mechanics is the idea of "entanglement." Prayer is an example of entanglement. A prayer made on the other side of the world can have an effect in your town and vice versa. Entanglement is when something happens here and the results show up over there without a followable connection in between. And someone looking at the events, both the prayer and the result, may not see a connection.
Prayer does change people. Faith is the primary thing you need if you want your prayers to be answered. Faith is nothing more and nothing less than believing God: believing what He has promised in His Word, believing He hears you and that He will respond. In the Bible book of James we learn that sometimes God doesn't answer a person's prayer because he has the wrong motivation. Sometimes God can't answer a prayer because the person begins in faith, but then speaks doubt. For example, s person might pray, "Lord, please heal me of this head cold." but then turn around and tell his friend, "Man, I have this terrible head cold." What he has just done is agree with the head cold he has a head cold rather than agree with the Bible which says, "By Jesus wounds I have been healed" (I Peter 2:24). What he should say is, "I thank God He is healing me." This puts him speaking faith, believing God and in agreement with the Bible and his own prayer.
But answered prayer can't be done according to a formula because prayer is a connection between a human being and God. Prayer must come out of a relationship. A relationship between God and a human is based on the human's understanding of God's love for him and for others. The better a human comprehends God's love, the more of that love he can access. God's love for us begins when we understand why Jesus came to earth, why He walked among us, why He died on the cross and what His resurrection means. From there a deepening relationship can develop. The more a person understands God's love the more he is changed into a good, kind and courageous being.
Jesus said hell was a place of burning and gnashing of teeth, Luke 13:28. In His story about Lazarus, Abraham and the rich man, Lazarus was a beggar who sat outside the rich man's gate. They both died. Lazarus ended up with Abraham in the waiting place next door to hell where believers went until Jesus could die and pay for their sin and the rich man ended up in hell. The rich man longed for just one drop of water on his tongue and asked Lazarus to bring him that drop, but Abraham pointed to the chasm that separated them and the fact that Lazarus could not cross it. (See Luke 16:19-31.) From this story we learn that nothing good exists in hell--it is suffering with no end.
Jesus compared hell to the trash fire pit that existed outside the city. Day and night this pit burned with all the refuse from town. It smoldered or flared, but it never stopped burning. http://biblehub.com/topical/g/gehenna.htm
I saw a video interview with a man who had been to hell. He said that God had sent him there so he could tell others what it was like. He said that the agony was so great that a person cannot remember anything--not what life on earth was like, not their name, nothing. All they can think of is the stupendous, overwhelming agony they are in. If you've ever burned your hand, in that brief instant when the pain is the worst, you know what he's talking about--you can't think of anything but how awful you hurt. In hell, the burning never ends.
Before Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, all human beings went to hell or Sheol as it is called in the Old Testament, but after He was killed, Jesus descended into hell and released the captives (those who believed in God) held there and they finally were able to go to Heaven. (They had to go there until Jesus could pay the price because humans by default went there, like being in a hock shop). Now only those who have rejected Jesus are in hell. Hell was originally created as a prison for the devil and the other fallen angels, Matthew 25:41, but after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they switched all humanity from being default God's allies to default the devil's allies and thus assigned to his prison along with him. A person must consciously choose Jesus as Lord and Savior to change his affiliation. It has to be Jesus because He is the Person of God who came here and paid the price and rose from the dead; He's the one who walked into the hock shop and paid in blood to redeem whoever would believe. All human beings exist in opened cages, all they need to get out is believe Jesus paid the price and say aloud, "Jesus is Lord," Romans 10:9. This is the change in affiliation from default belonging to the devil to default belonging to God.
Before Jesus people did not really understand what hell was. Jesus gives us the clearest picture we have. http://biblehub.com/topical/h/hell.htm
Once in hell, the person is there forever, Matthew 25:46.
There are people who have died and gone to hell. "To Hell and Back," by Dr. Maurice Rawlings is a doctor's investigation into the subject of hell. He was not a believer, but when he brought a heart attack patient back from the dead, the man begged to be told how he could avoid the awful place he'd just visited. Rawlings didn't believe in God at all, but he repeated the salvation story which he'd heard many times to the man who immediately died again. This time when he was revived he complained because he didn't want to come back to this life because the place where he had been was wonderful beyond comprehension. This is when Rawlings decided he had better investigate. By the way, Rawlings became a believer.
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QUESTION: I've had interesting experiences with prayer. I've prayed on and off to be healed from stress. Finally at 26 I met a doctor who gave me new meds that helped greatly. I also met a lot of great people who are kind to me. Usually I do t meet so many people who have been nice to me. I'm lucky to meet 1 yet I've met MANY. I still suffer from stress especially now but am trying to fight it.
Prayed for ulcer cure and found one, I just never took it.
Prayed to lose weight, and have lost 80 pounds. Sometimes goes up but it returns to 220.
Prayed for books once I think and met a helpful person. Never saw them again
Prayed to move to L.A. This prayer had really interesting results. I never went there, but met a not so nice guy from there who was an expert in the field of study I wanted.
I feel like a completely different person, from extreme introvert, to a good dose of extroversion. I try not to burden my friends with my problems and thus I don't get as angry and such.
Right now I am praying for something important. I get very discouraged, and get a message during these times that someone has prayed for me. I sometimes find a post that says, don't give up, or keep praying. These come in messages left on a Facebook or something. But maybe these are just coincidences. They are not directed to me personally
Some say they are coincidences and say that messages even about God are just griefitti. Or that meeting someone who talks to me about prayer for there own problems is not a miracle or Gods intervention. Of course the guy sold religious things, yet he had the scar to prove his incident
At times while going through prayer requests I also find people leaving posts amount the needy saying God is listening or something like that.
I came from the Catholic Church which believes in many miracles. I then went to a non denominational church which be,ives in zero miracles, tongues, modern prophecy, or gifts of the Spirit.
My problem with doubt thus is fueled by my own peoples lack of faith. I've heard often in my church that we must do it ourselves. Yet these same people who claim no modern miracles pray for headings, and blessings, and to understand the Bible. such people are usually quick to judge others at times there own family. They doubt that people can change, yet preach repentance. I'm glad I left
Do not be discouraged, the Lord is with you and He will not leave you alone.
If anything good, any encouragement comes your way, you can be certain it came either directly or indirectly from God. "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows," James 1:17. Nothing good comes either directly or indirectly from the enemy--nothing. Therefore, rejoice, in countless small and large ways, the Lord is actively working in your life.
The enemy is constantly whispering whatever words he can think of to make us fail.
"As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient," Ephesians 2:1 & 2.
The "ruler of the kingdom of the air" flies above us dropping his thoughts on our heads, murmurs of doubt, slandering God, whispers of resentment or defeat or whatever negative thoughts that fall into a person's mind. Many of the negative thoughts that pelt us day by day do not originate in our own minds, but because they appear there, we think that they are our own thoughts. Some of us get into bad habits of repeating those bad thoughts and believing them.
God gave human beings two things which set us apart from other living things: the power to reason and the power to speak--these are characteristics we share with Him and are the primary, easy to identify markers that show we are created in His Image. To be victorious we need to control and master two things: 1) we must monitor and control our thoughts and 2) we must control our words.
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ," II Corinthians 10:3-5.
Habits can be good or bad and either kind of habit is formed in the same way: by repetition. Therefore, we must be ready to do the hard work of changing what we repeat to a new pattern. Every time you catch yourself thinking a doubt thought or a self-critical--by this I don’t mean analysis, but putting yourself down or remembering a failure--take those thoughts captive as soon as they start.
Even before you become a believer in Jesus as Lord and Savior, you were the beloved of God, John 3:16. But after you became a believer in Jesus as Lord and Savior the Bible says you become a king and a priest, Revelation 1:6. You may not feel like a king and priest, but that doesn't matter. How we feel about it has little to do with the truth. You have a kingdom that kingdom is made up of the people you know and interact with which includes the grocery store clerk you may only see once in your life, you can influence for good, not influence anyone at all or you can influence for evil, either by repeating a negative thought or by doing nothing when the Holy Spirit is nudging you to act. Your kingdom also includes the material blessings God has given you, but those are not eternal--only the people you interact with and your relationships with them are eternal. The first duty of the Christian king and priest is the ministry of reconciliation, which is the call God has placed on every believer.
"Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others...For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
"So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God," II Corinthians 5:11, 14-21.
Our number one job is to help people find reconciliation in all areas of their lives beginning with their relationship with God.
You are joint-heir with Christ. "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us," Romans 8:16-18. As a joint-heir, that means you have a rightful claim to everything Jesus has beginning with His access to the Father; His Mind; His Faith; His Love; His Power; His Hope; His Peace--and all the fruit of the Spirit. These are all yours.
God does not see you as a failure, even if you fail; He doesn't see you as useless, even if in a given situation you may feel useless; He doesn't see you as worthless, even if someone else says you are or even if you are convinced you are--whatever negative label you've ever heard or said about yourself, they are all lies. You are a new creation! When you are IN Christ, He gives you His perfection, thus it doesn't matter what we would call "reality," there is a higher reality and that is Christ.
When you are IN Christ and God looks at you, He sees you as if He were looking at Jesus instead--you are IN Christ. You are a new creation, a recipient of Jesus’ Righteousness in place of your sinfulness. Joseph Prince showed a video in which a small bar of gold had been dropped into the mud. The gold was covered in mud, but it was still gold. The mud was washed away and the gold remained. This is how it is with us, because of Jesus we have been made pure and perfect and He washes away sin moment by moment so that we are constantly being cleansed and we are gold because He has given us His purity. It is the thankfulness and joy that we feel when we understand this that helps give us the power to be transformed. As a child of God He will do for you, in you and through you exceedingly beyond anything you can imagine, "Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us," Ephesians 3:20.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need," Hebrews 4:15 & 16. IN Christ you walk boldly into God's throne room and make your requests and Jesus intercedes for you. You can rest in the knowledge that God hears you and will answer you, I John 5:15.
Most of us are willing to believe Jesus has saved us in the beginning, but we think that new screw-ups mean we have somehow lost His Grace and have to start over feeling worm-like and confessing our sins and begging for forgiveness. When we think and act this way we add back in the Law, hooking it onto the glory of Grace and rendering Grace futile. Grace is about what Jesus did; Law is about what we do. We just can't believe that Grace means what it actually means: we are utterly, totally and forever forgiven and cleansed and liberated from the power of sin forever and ever.
Grace does not mean that we will not sin, not at all, what it means is that we are forgiven, cleansed and liberated moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. Jesus has taken the entirety of all our sin and removed it by taking it into Himself and receiving the punishment for it, in return we receive His righteousness, His standing with God, His Mind, even! What an exchange, He loses everything and we gain sonship with God! If we really believed this we would be joyful all day no matter what was going on.
When God gives us Grace, we must not add back in the Law, we must not chew ourselves out for failure or think we must obey this commandment or that one--no, Jesus died to set us free from the Law of sin and death, Romans 8:2. It is not our consciousness of how we break the law that frees us and transforms us, if that were the case the most self-loathing person among us would have the greatest freedom from sin. Romans 8:1, "There is no more condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." If there is no more condemnation, then anything or anyone that condemns us is a telling lies--including our own selves if we do it. Therefore, a focus on our sin is an announcement to God that we do not receive His Grace, but instead prefer to be condemned! Grace and a set of rules and regulations are not compatible, they cannot co-exist, one cancels the other and which one is doing the canceling depends on what we believe and what we confess with our mouths.
Scroll down to the bottom of this page, http://www.josephprince.org/podcast/
, and watch the message titled: "Boast of the Lord's Love for You, Not Your Love for Him."
This link http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=knowing_who_i_am_in_christ
contains passages that explain to us who we are as Christians, search them out, read them passages and think and concentrate on them. Copy them down on note cards, each day carry one with you and read it aloud every time your mind thinks a thought that is contrary to the truth of who you are in Christ. In this way you simultaneously defeat the enemy who wins victories over us by making us think we are fools, or worms, or idiots, or defeated boneheads, etc. etc. etc. and you will retrain your mind to see yourself as you truly are in Christ.
One day I was discouraged. I went on my morning walk and noticed the beer bottles in the ditch and the fast food wrappers. This day there was even the body of a dead dog that someone had thrown into the ditch and tried to burn! I stared at the dog’s body and a bird stopped on the fence and sang, I looked at him. He made me smile. From there I looked at the sky where the clouds were beautiful and a flock of birds sang their praises to God. Then I realized that victorious living has little to do with the road where our feet tread and everything to do with where our eyes are fixed! If we are looking at our feet, of course we will stumble, but if we are looking at Jesus, we can walk anywhere. From that day onward I have resolved to fix my eyes on Jesus who loves me and gave Himself up for me and supplies my every need.
Not only do our thoughts need to line up with the truth, but so do our words. We need to speak words that are in agreement with the truth. In Mark 11 Jesus gives us a lesson on the importance of our words. The fig tree Jesus had cursed earlier is now dead and the Apostles were astonished. Jesus tells them, “Have faith in God,” or “ Have the faith of God. Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” You notice He tells them to believe, speak and then think of it as a done deal--a finished project.
This is how God gets things done also. He speaks and believes He receives it and it’s done, Isaiah 55:10 & 11. As kings and priests, joint heirs with Jesus we have this same power available to us.
When you are standing in faith to receive something from God, remember, not every doubt-filled feeling that pops into your head originates with you! Many if not most originate with the enemy who would like nothing better than to see you defeated. In your heart you actually believe God can do anything, but then these doubt-filled feelings come into your mind. It’s all too easy to fall into old habits and let those thoughts stick around and then to even speak them out loud! If you speak them out loud, then you run the risk of canceling the very thing you just believed and spoke to receive.
Here’s where your note cards come in handy again. Jesus defeated the enemy by quoting God’s Word to him, you can defeat him in the same way. Write down the promises from the Bible upon which you are basing your request before God. If you would like a list of God's promises, please ask. Keep a few of these Scriptures in your pocket along with one or two of your thought-changing Scriptures. When the enemy puts a thought into your head that God isn’t going to answer your prayer, read Scripture to him and praise God. The devil can’t stand praise, even little children can force the devil to run away by praising God, Psalm 8:2. And don't give up. The enemy makes a lot of noise, especially if he thinks you may be getting somewhere and about to defeat him. He's testing to see if you will stick to your new program, if he can trip you up, he wins that round. If he wins a round, remember who you are in Christ and get back up and try again. It's not over until you win!
And finally, to be victorious praise for God should never be far from your mouth or you mind. David had a heart of thankfulness toward God, he constantly reminded himself of what God had done for him. You have a good trend going by listing what God has done for you--keep it up.
Faith, Hope and Love are the strongest forces in the universe.