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Thursday, September 7th | The Doctrine of Prayer

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
September 8, 2023 3:00 pm

Thursday, September 7th | The Doctrine of Prayer

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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September 8, 2023 3:00 pm

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Today is Thursday, September the seventh. I'm Ryan Hill.

I'm John Galantis. And you're listening to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at If you have any questions for Dr. Shah or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5028, or you can email us at contact at

That's right. You guys can help us keep this conversation going by supporting the show. You can share it online with your friends and family. Leave us a good review on iTunes or Spotify.

Absolutely nothing less than five stars. I don't like that. It's mean to me.

We're going to leave a link in the description of this podcast so you can do just that. And today's verse of the day is coming to us from Luke 6-28. It says, Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who spitefully use you. So those people who leave one-star reviews, you've got to bless them. You have cursed me.

I cannot do it. You've got to bless them. You've got to pray for them.

You've got to uplift them. Hey, listen, don't trip. The Lord ain't through with me yet.

No, I'm just joking. No, I love this, though, because it completely turns the law on its head. You hear the eye for eye, tooth for tooth, whatever happens to you, you do to somebody else. But this flips it on its head, and it doesn't make sense to us as people, because we're created in the image of God.

We have this innate sense of justice and injustice. But Jesus here is saying, Do the opposite of what is natural to you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who spitefully use you. And in doing so, you will communicate God's love and mercy toward them.

That's right. Outside of Jesus, this command really doesn't make any sense at all. But He shows us the importance of leaving our destiny, leaving what happens to us in the hands of God, because it shows our trust in Him. I can easily, easily take revenge on someone, or bless somebody out, or just take matters into my own hands. But then I'm on that path that I've created for myself. Rather than saying, Lord, I'm just going to pray for this person, I'm going to leave that situation in your hands.

It's not that I'm now weaker, or I'm now more passive. It's that I'm showing and displaying my trust in God. Yeah, you're absolutely right. Speaking of loving people, and praying for those who curse us, spitefully abuse us, you know we've got to talk about some people on the gripe vine today. It's time for the gripe vine. Welcome to the gripe vine. These gripes are going to be sweet. Oh, these are going to be some sweet tasting gripes, because I can't stand it.

This is a ripe gripe. When I log onto social media, now Facebook is bad about this. A lot of people in my generation are still kind of on Facebook. The younger generation, they're not really there no more. So listen up, because this may be what drove those young people away.

When people don't do their own research, they just post an open forum question on Facebook. Oh, yeah. Hey everybody, in-laws are coming to town. Best pizza within a five mile radius, and they always go, go.

Like it's a fun game I'm supposed to be participating in. Let me weigh in on this. Yeah, need a haircut for a wedding tomorrow.

Best place that's not too expensive, go. You have the wealth of human knowledge literally at your fingertips. Any moment of the day you can be like, what are the best pizza places near me? Siri would be like, oh, I'd be happy to help you.

Or Alexa, or Google Assistant, or Cortana, whatever AI you use. Also, this is kind of localized, but this is a small town. We live in a small town.

There's like five pizza restaurants total. We don't need to take a poll on Facebook to see where you should eat dinner. I'm sitting there and I'm seeing this guy that I went to high school with, and I'm like, oh my, oh my, Ellie. Ellie, get in here. Hey, look, he's trying to eat supper. Quick, we've got to help.

No, let's get in on this. What do you think people are doing? What do you think people got the time to worry about where you're going to get your haircut?

What's the best place to get a suit for my brother's wedding? Go. This actually brings out an important distinction.

I heard somebody talk about this one time. The difference between asking people for information versus looking it up yourself. That is a clear divide on where you were born in the developmental cycle of technology. If you were born before the advent of search engines, or before you grew up before they became popular, you are more apt to do things like that, like ask people for things. Hey, can you recommend a blah, blah, blah? I am not going to do that. I'm not going to ask for your recommendation.

If I know you very well, I might say, what's your favorite blah, blah, blah? But I'm going to look it up. I'm going to search it. Google, tell me this. I'm looking this up, I'm figuring out myself. It is cost frustration between me and my parents. My mom's like, you don't ever ask me for things.

You don't ever ask for advice. I'm like, well, no. I just look it up.

I just research it myself. It's kind of one of those things, too, when you're a teenager and you get a job, and you just start buying stuff that you want, and your parents are like, where did you get the money for that? It's like, I worked. I earned it.

I'm like, I don't like that. You need to save that. I earned it. This is my money.

I earned it. It's kind of the same thing. You start taking that liberty. Something else, this is not related to people who don't do their own research, but it is some people who contribute nothing on social media. When someone posts something, like a meme or something, and then they just comment this, I hate that more than I hate almost anything else online. That one doesn't bother me quite as much. Really? Yeah.

Really? Someone posts something you agree with, and you just respond this. What is that?

What the heck is that? You haven't contributed anything. This. All of this. Everybody, all of this. Literally every ounce of this.

I need every bit of this. A piping hot bowl of this. Oh, I hate that. That doesn't bother you? Golly. No. I understand the annoyance behind it better. I wonder if people do this in the academic world.

They're just like, hey, what are y'all's thoughts on the passage in Ephesians 5? Go. I highly doubt that's happening. I can't imagine Dr.

Shot ever scrolling through research posts and being like, can we make it back to the original text? Go. I don't think that happened.

Alexandrian or Byzantine priority? Go. Yeah, I'm not seeing that happening. We're going to bring Dr.

Shot in a second. I'm interested to know what the scholarly take is. Is there a scholarly version of that? Is there something that scholars say? They take research very, very seriously. You have to.

There's doctrine and lots of important things on the line when you do that. We're going to grab Dr. Shot, and we're going to ask him that question in just a second. Text in and let us know what your thoughts are on the Facebook debate. Send in your thoughts. Go.

252-582-5028. We just lost a lot of subscribers. Oh, no.

I hate to hear that. No, come back. Come back.

Visit us online at We'll be right back. Hey there, listeners. I'm Jon Galantis. And I'm Ellie Galantis.

And we just want to take a quick second and talk to you about Dr. Shot's and Nicole's book, 30 Days to a New Beginning, daily devotions to help you move forward. You know, this is actually the second book in the 30 Days series. And the whole point of this devotional is to help us get unstuck from the ruts of life. You know, when it comes to running the race of life, it matters how you start. But a bad start doesn't ultimately determine how you finish the race. You can have a good finish, even with a bad start. And that's where this book comes in. No matter who you are or where you are in life, you're going to get stuck.

Instead of going out and buying some gadget or some planner, like I know I've done several times. I know that's right. 30 Days encourages you to find your fresh start in God's word. Hey, life doesn't have a reset button. But our God is a God who does new things.

His mercies are new every day, which means every day is a new chance for you to start over. You can grab 30 Days to a New Beginning on We're going to leave a link in the description box below. And if you already have the book, let us know what you think about it.

That's right. Send us a text, 252-582-5028. Share what God has done in your life through this devotional. Hey, maybe we'll even read your story on the air. Ellie, you ready to get back to the show?

Let's do it. Welcome back to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadan Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at If you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text at 252-582-5028. That's right.

If today's your first time ever visiting us here on the Clearview Today Show, we want to welcome you, let you know exactly who's talking to you today. Dr. Abbadan Shah is a Ph.D. Testament textual criticism professor, a Carolina University author, full-time pastor, and the host of Today Show. You can find all of his work on his website, If you're interested in that work, it is research. You spend a lot of your time researching different manuscripts. Ph.D. is a research degree. We talked earlier about how people won't even research what restaurant to eat.

Oh, yeah. They won't even research how to fix their phone. I don't know if you ever see this, but people will post on Facebook like, Hey guys, my family's coming into town. What's the best place to eat in Henderson? Go!

Or sometimes it's not even that much grammar. It's like, best methods for getting stains out of white t-shirts. Go! Best Netflix documentary about McDonald's. Go! Why is your social media profile your research engine?

What is happening? Now, let me ask you this. Does that happen in the world of academics?

No. When you have a Ph.D. I'm talking about a Ph.D. that is accredited, not bought on the internet or sent in a couple of things and they send you the Ph.D.

They send you some cereal box tops and stuff. Ph.D. Purchasing your domain. I'm not minimizing people who have gotten doctorates like Doctor of Ministry and things like that, because they still had to do some work. I'm not here to talk down about anybody, but just talking about Ph.D. as a degree. It's a research degree, especially when it's coming from an accredited institution.

I view myself as a physician. When I am looking at a passage or an issue or some topic, I am going to research it. My research is not just Google and Wikipedia.

Right. My research has to be very reputable, which means I'm going to get on university research sites, advanced research, and that's when I'm going to plug in information and then look through journal articles. These are peer-reviewed journal articles. I'm going to not just find the most popular book on the subject.

I'm looking for the most academic, reference-oriented book on the subject, and then I glean my information to know where I'm at. Some subjects I already know, because I've been delving in it for a long time, or it is my subject like textual criticism. But I think understanding that and understanding the importance that research and even just understanding what doctrine is. We've been talking about that a lot on the show, the importance of good, sound doctrine. We're thinking today how we've been talking so hard about prayer. What is prayer?

Why do we do it? Even in the area of prayer, it is a discipline, but it's a doctrine that underlines it. There's a doctrine at the foundation of that, and I think a lot of times, as is the case with most things, our doctrine is faulty when it comes to prayer. You've got to think, we say God knows the heart. God knows everything. He knows your innermost thoughts.

There's no need for me to talk to him and be engaged in it. There's a doctrine behind why we pray. You said this a while ago, Dr. Shah. This really made me think about this. The way we pray reflects what we believe about God.

Absolutely. Prayers reflect our understanding of God's providence. What is providence? How God is in control, how God is working actively in our lives, in this world, to build his kingdom. In other words, our understanding of how much God is in control and how much free will we have will directly impact how and how much we pray.

Yeah, that's true. I've noticed that when my faith is weak, I either don't pray or my prayers are very shallow. I'm going to pray for my immediate needs and really nothing else matters. I'm not going to pray for my church or my friends or my family or even my wife. I'm just praying for what I want right here and now.

You always try to follow that template of the Lord's prayer, like, I want to give you glory, I want to give you honor. None of that is happening. Lord, I need this right here and now. You can deliver it to my house by six. That would be great.

Very shallow and short-sighted. The passage that comes to my mind is 1 John 5.14, where it says, Now this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. People don't have the confidence to pray or people do not pray is because they don't have the confidence.

Right, that's right. It's one of those things that you feel like you almost don't need confidence to pray, but you do, because when you don't have it, you notice. And those long stretches of time goes on.

At least for me, I know, I can say, It's been like days. I haven't even prayed once. But I don't ever attribute it to lack of confidence.

But that's exactly what it is. A lot of times what I've seen in people too, and Dr. Shaw, I mean, you've seen this no more than I have, is people who will pray and give God a back door. Like, they pray, but I want to pray in such a way that if God says no, I can still believe in him.

Like, what if he says no? What if he doesn't answer my prayer the way that I want? Lord, if it's your will, forgive me for even asking, forgive me for even approaching you. Let your will be done.

I'm just going to stand over here and not take up space. Yeah. And that betrays what they believe about God's sovereignty. So the question now is, what does it mean that he is sovereign? Does that mean he controls every aspect of life? And I know some people may want to say yes.

And I do want to say yes. But at the same time, there's another doctrine which talks about man's responsibility. And I know that in certain streams of theology, man's responsibility is absolutely unnecessary because God is sovereign. He's in control.

He makes things happen. So my question is, why do you pray? Well, then they will say something very trite like, well, prayer doesn't change things. Prayer changes you. People say that?

Oh, yeah. That our prayers ultimately don't matter in the grand scheme of what happens? They change you. So because God is in control, you cannot change his mind. But then we have to ask another question. Well, what does that mean that God doesn't change his mind? What is in his mind regarding this world, regarding day-to-day activities, regarding free individuals?

What is his will? So when you begin to really dig into this, that's when we realize a lot of our presuppositions are just knee-jerk or just taken from some doctrine or some theological system. And we have just sometimes even piecemeal putting together. Here's a little Calvinism. Here's a dash of Arminianism. And many times a little bit of Unitarianism. So everything is coming together. You've just got this doctrine gumbo.

Yeah. And then we live by it and forget about the Bible. Forget about prayer. We just came up with a system that sort of soothes our soul and makes us feel good when it's really pseudo. I like having these types of discussion about doctrine, though, because I think I think I've lived, since I've been saved, I got saved at 15. So I've been saved 16 years, but I think I've lived a very narrow-minded, not only narrow-minded, but I've been listening to good biblical foundational preaching for most of that time.

Ten years of it, I've been here. And so I don't really register that people think these crazy, far-out things like, baptism saves you. That's 100% what they think. It's when you go in that water, it saves you. And now, prayers, they don't do anything. They just make you a better person.

Right. But what kind of person am I? Am I a better Christian because I pray? Am I more saved somehow?

Am I more faithful to God? They will say that prayer is like a relationship. You're talking to the person. Okay, I get it.

I get it. But, biblically speaking, what do those passages say? They're not just saying, hey, you need to pray because it builds your relationship with God. It says, ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be open.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. But you have to take the context or you have to take some other passage and bring it together to help you understand what that means when you say, ask and you shall receive and seek you shall find and knock and the door shall be open. So they try to mitigate the true meaning of that text taken in its context.

They try to mitigate that by bringing something else because they want to, like you said, Ryan, they want to give God a way out. My challenge to people is, first, do biblical theology and then do systematic theology. Biblical theology will help you get to the root and the heart of what that text is about. Again, taking into account the immediate context, the book context, the genre context, and even the Old and the New Testament context and the biblical context.

Do the biblical theology, but then also do systematic theology and then let the systematic theology help guide your biblical theology and let your biblical theology inform systematic theology and work them back and forth until you have something very pure coming from the text, taken in its context, and yet not contradicting other passages. Do you think people don't do that? Because no, I'm not doing that. That's too hard.

That's too much. I'm not a scholar like you. I'm going to rely on what I see and what I know. And what I see is evil in the world, prayers getting unanswered, having to face real life, suffering, loss, praying. Therefore, I'm coming to the conclusion prayer doesn't change anything. It just changes me. Or reading somebody's book, right?

Somebody who's written a very popular book on prayer and they have a certain idea about prayer and they're good at communicating that, or the publishing house is very good at promoting that. Either way, now you're going to latch onto that book, that author, that way of thinking, also throw that in the mix. Right. Yeah.

Wow. And I guess it's easier to do that, to be told what to think about prayer by someone else than doing all of that exegesis from the actual text. Yeah. Do this balance of biblical theology and systematic theology. My approach is you have to do that.

Yeah. Biblical and systematic, side by side. It's almost like taking a scale and put the biblical put the systematic on the other side and see what happens. And if it begins to go lopsided or biblical takes it down or systematic, then you begin to add, subtract enough to bring it to a level.

Because I believe ultimately it will be level where both of those theological or the sciences of biblical theology and systematic theology will sort of balance the truth. That's what I want to do. Yeah. As you're talking about that, it just strikes me, it's kind of the comparison in my mind between one of my kids with technology versus my parents with technology. Like my parents will look at technology and for the most part they do okay, but a lot of times they're like, I don't want to touch that. I'm going to mess it up. I don't want to get in there and pick it apart at all.

So I'm just not going to get involved with that. And my kids, I mean, they've grown up with screens around them, so they're just pick it up and navigate and here's this menu and blah, blah, blah. Yeah, they might get a few things off kilter, but most of the time they figure out how to fix it. And even a step further with the kids who start taking things apart and learning how they work and rewiring them, I feel like a lot of times that's our study with theology, biblical theology and systematic theology.

Those who are intimidated are just, they just kind of sit back like, I don't want to mess anything up. I'm worried if I pick apart my faith and I really am just going to start to unravel things. But those who really dig in, I mean, their faith is bolstered and made stronger because of it. And you become more in line with what the word of God is saying exegetically as well as systematically.

And that's what I want to do. Every message we preach here, every lesson you teach here, Ryan, or in our Sunday school, we try to do that, bring out biblical theology and right next to it is systematic theology. That's right. And applying that to the doctrine of prayer is so critical because prayer is a very personal thing. You know what I mean? It kind of, it mixes that almost science and that art of the Bible with the very personal and intimate act of praying. And to say that it does serve a purpose in the world around us, I think makes all the difference in the world. Because if it is just something that just changes me, but nothing outside of me changes, then why should I care that much about just changing me?

You know what I mean? Like at a certain point, I want things to happen for my family. I want things to happen for my church. If I pray for the wellbeing of my church, I want to know and have assurance that God is hearing and doing that, rather than just, hey, I'm praying for the wellbeing of my church.

My church is doomed, but I'm a better person because of the way I pray. You know, I don't want that. Yeah. It's an act of submission. Okay. I get it.

It should be. And you should be changed by prayer. And yes, you should be in an active relationship with God, but then there is something about prayer. And that says that right here in 1st John 5, 14. Now this is the confidence. Let's begin with biblical theology. Let's start exegeting this passage. The word is parasia, which can be translated as openness, confidence, boldness, and frankness. Wow. So this is the frankness we have.

This is the boldness we have. So prayer is not just me trying to get myself purged or cleansed or sanitized. Prayer is more than just me growing in my conversation with God and getting to know him.

Although all those two things can be correct. Prayer does cleanse me. Prayer does draw me closer to God, but prayer brings a level of boldness, frankness, openness. When I come to God, It's funny because I remember a standup bit that I heard one time, I guess I'll get to that in a second, but this is so contrary to, I think what a lot of people think that this is the frankness that we have, that if you ask, he's going to answer, you can be sure of it. And so you should ask because that's what he wants you to do. I heard a standup bit one time that God has a list of titles. He's got a big list of titles and you got to go through every single one of those titles before you deign to ask for anything. Like, like father, we come before you, the bright and the morning star, the alpha and the mega, the beginning of the end, hair like bronze.

And so he's like, you got to go through all those titles. Then you get to ask for what you want, which I'm not saying you don't honor God in your prayers and you don't glorify him, but John is saying almost the opposite. Like ask with boldness, ask with conviction that, because it's also saying that you trust him that much. Like I don't have to, if I were to come to you and be like, or if your kids were to come to you, or I guess maybe your kids, but your kids still ask for love, like, Hey dad, can I just get like $10 to eat lunch with my friends? They don't have to be afraid to ask that because of course you're going to, you're going to give them what they need. In fact, that statement is part of what Jesus used to teach people about prayer.

He said, which of you, when you, if your son were to ask you for bread, we'll give him a stone. Right. Right.

I mean, this is this exactly the information or example that Jesus used in teaching on prayer. That's right. That's a good point.

I hadn't thought about that. Yeah. So, okay.

Well then let's deal with that. So why confidence? Because in life, life has a way of jarring our confidence in God.

That's true. Life has a way of making us feel that either God is too above and beyond, or he doesn't care about what we are going through, or he's not going to answer. So that's also a doctrine, what the damage life does to us.

Yeah. It's almost like life sort of not makes us lose faith in God, but it almost takes away that reality that God will do something because we keep seeing these instances. I'm putting this in air quotes for the radio, Austin, where he didn't do anything. And so he's not going to cruelly not do it. Prayer just must not do anything.

And I see how someone can arrive at that. That was never how prayer was designed, is I guess what they would say. Yeah. Prayer is just ineffective in that regard.

Right. Well, it's like maybe they're doubting what they thought prayer was supposed to be. Like, they had the right idea of prayer, and it still is what it was, but they've now seen, okay, all these things keep happening. God's clearly not doing anything. Maybe this is never what prayer was supposed to be. Or, or maybe God is incapable or powerless to handle that situation. So all this is doctrinal.

Yeah, that's true. So there's a great book out there, by the way, there are a lot of books on prayer. There's a book called Providence and Prayer by Terence Thiessen. And in this book, he looks at the idea of Providence and prayer from several different perspectives.

And it's a great book to have. And it answers questions like, is God timeless or is He bound by time just as we are? Because that also makes a difference. Because if He's in the same boat as we are, then how can He really be prepared for what is coming around the corner? Yeah, that's true.

That's true. Does God know the future? How much does He know about the future?

If He does know the future, why doesn't He do something about the bad, evil things in life? See, all this is connected to prayer. But you see how you have to kind of take piece by piece, a part of this, this subject. And that's when you begin to see there are a lot of doctrines that are interconnected here. That's something I think is interesting, too, because you've said that before, like, when we get to these places where we have to confront these problems, a lot of times scholars and pastors will say, you're asking the wrong questions.

It's not, let me shift the focus over here to a different argument. It's that what you're asking is very complex. There's lots of things that we have to tackle first.

Yeah. And so don't give up. Stay with it. Study it. Just like I had to do.

And I'm still doing it. So questions like, statements like God's providential control, providential control, that God is in control, is comprehensive, detailed, capable, loving, and best. That's right.

That's exactly right. Which means God is completely in control and He cares about what He's controlling. Secondly, people act freely within God's overall will. So He has a will, but then there is human freedom. I know there's certain streams of theology that will completely deny that and say there are no freedoms. Okay. But then there are many, many passages that now you have to explain to us.

What do you do with those? Right. And I'm not from a moment saying that I'm an Arminian. You say, well, whether you say it or not, you are.

No, I'm not. Because Arminianism as a system talks about losing salvation, diminishes the sovereignty of God, and I am not for that. Arminianism as a system also gets, sometimes gets into Unitarianism. I'm not saying every Arminian is like that, but it has a tendency to go towards Unitarianism.

So I do not want to be part of that. So people act freely within God's overall will. That's another important truth about this subject.

Something else. God works in us to bring us in partnership with His will and He uses prayers as a major means. And one more, providence, prayer, and everything else are ultimately connected to our salvation through Jesus Christ. So prayer is not just I pray over here and you pray over there and this is my view of prayer and that's your view of prayer. No, ultimately it is connected to the person of Jesus Christ. Ultimately it is connected to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.

That's right. So helpful for us. If you guys enjoyed today's episode, if you have questions or suggestions, maybe you'd like some helps in your prayer life, send us a text at 252-582-5028. Or you can visit us online at And don't forget, you can partner with us financially on that same website. Every gift that you give goes not only to building up this radio show, but countless other ministries for the gospel of Jesus. We love you guys. We'll see you tomorrow on Clear View Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-08 16:20:33 / 2023-09-08 16:33:22 / 13

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