From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[PCUSANEWS] Speaker says prayer is risky

Date Mon, 28 Jun 2004 17:58:14 -0500

Note #8328 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:

Speaker says prayer is risky
June 28, 2004

Speaker says prayer is risky

Can't tell how God will respond, Blount says at Covenant Network lunch

by Erin Cox-Holmes

RICHMOND, June 28 - "Prayer is like strong medicine," Brian Blount told his
listeners at Monday's 7th annual Covenant Network dinner. "Read the label
carefully before resorting to it."

Blount, a New Testament professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, said his
parents' prayers were answered when he and his brother were awakened to the
power of God.

He struggled with prayer as a child, he said, because it seemed to him that
"God delivered on answering prayers with the same statistical reliability as
Shaquille O'Neal with foul shots." He thought praying was just as crazy as
talking to oneself.

But he had prayer models, he said: "My mom and dad crawled miles and miles on
their knees, uphill all the way, to get my brothers and me to the power of
God." He said he learned from them that "the only thing crazier than talking
to God is to start acting like you are talking to God and God is talking

Blount, now an expert on the Gospel of Mark, continued: "In Mark, prayer is
connected with the power of belief - God has the power to transform hopeless
situations into hopeful ones. Prayer is about the foreboding suspicion that
the disciple who prays might be changed by praying. Prayer could change the
world, or someone else - but it could just as easily blow up in your face,
and turn around and transform you."

It's as powerful as alcohol, he said, commenting: "We need commercials
reminding us to pray responsibly. When you pray responsibly you don't pray
angry. You don't pray stupid. You don't pray trivial. You don't pray crazy.
You don't pray like people - like Peter asking Jesus to turn away from

In real prayer, he said, the kind that Jesus practiced - the kind that can
drive out the most malignant of demons - you can't pray and then tell God how
to answer, but must simply unleash the prayers and trust God, even if God
chooses to transform ourselves and our world in ways we could hardly bear.

The Rev. Joanna Adams, co-moderator of the Covenant Network, introduced two
new resources: Turning Points: Stories of Life and Change in the Church, an
hour-long video documentary about Presbyterians fighting to change the
denomination's ordination standard and Far From Home, a book of stories by
Alice Anderson about people rethinking their church membership because of the
current ban on the ordination of non-celibate gays and lesbians.

The Covenant Network, founded in 1997, is committed to removing that
prohibition from the Book of Order.

This story and many others may have photos, media, video clips that can be
found at

To subscribe or unsubscribe, please send an email to or

To contact the owner of the list, please send an email to

Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home