Prayer ‘is not a list of requests’

2011-03-02 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Praying in terms of requests to God doesn’t work, believes Dominee Albert Cruywagen of the NG Church Riebeeck Park in Kempton Park.

That is why he says the church should reconsider the issue of prayer as it does other issues of faith.

As an example, Cruy­wagen mentioned the prayer that God should protect you in your car on the road.

“It doesn’t work like that,” he said, as he knows of three families who prayed to God to protect their children and each of these three families have lost two of their children in road accidents.

In the same way it doesn’t make sense to him to pray for rain.

He doesn’t believe that God interferes in the weather system. There are huge natural forces which determine the weather.

Cruywagen pointed out that this doesn’t mean he wants to stop praying, but rather that these prayers should be supplemented and supported with other content.

“If you go onto the road,” he explained, you have to be alert. “That is why you must pray that the Lord will make you careful. Actually I’m therefore talking to myself,” said Cruywagen. Prayer is to him inherently a discussion between the self and God as the listener.

Seen like this, prayer is very meaningful to him. In the same way as the Eastern tradition of meditation, he believes people should spend more time alone with God.

Prayer is to him one of many religious concepts which need new interpretation “in a way that works”.

At the heart of the matter is the way in which people understand God. He has stepped away from the traditional theistic view of God, which many religious people still hold, and has called his approach a new theistic view.

Cruywagen does not think, however, that he is undermining the church; on the contrary, whereas some people see his views as the Trojan horse within the NG Church, he thinks of them as the knight on the white horse coming to the rescue the church.

For instance, he knows young people who want nothing to do with the church, but in a different way want to hold on to God. They can relate to his way of thinking.

But he said he still however stands by the Bible as the word of God and the confession of faith.

 

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