Providence & Prayer: How Does God Work in the World?   -     By: Terrance L. Tiessen
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Providence & Prayer: How Does God Work in the World?

Inter-Varsity Press / 2000 / Paperback

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Product Description

If God has already decided how things will turn out, what use is it to pray? On the other hand, if our freedom limits God's ability to achieve his wishes all the time, how much could he do even if we asked for help? How much does God know about the future, and how does this factor into the way our prayers affect the outcome? And how does God's relationship to time enter into the whole question? With such questions in mind, Terrance Tiessen presents ten views of providence and prayer and then wraps things up with his own proposal. The result is a book that puts us at the intersection between theological reflection and our life and conversation with God. It prods and sharpens our understanding, making us better theologians and better prayers.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 2000
Dimensions: 9 X 6 (inches)
ISBN: 0830815783
ISBN-13: 9780830815784
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

Recipient of an Honourable Mention in the 2001 God Uses Ink Contest! "Lord, please give me a parking space!" That prayer sounds right on your third time around the block, frustrated and late for an appointment. But is it consistent with how God works in the world? Does prayer change God's mind or only our feelings? Does God do things because we ask him to? Or do we ask him because he prompts us to do so? How much control does God really have in the world, anyway? If he has given us free will, can he always guarantee that things will happen as he intends or wishes? Is our need for parking spaces important enough to bother God, or is he only concerned about things that advance his program of salvation? If God has already decided how things will turn out, what use is it to pray? On the other hand, if our freedom limits God's ability to achieve his wishes all the time, how much could he do even if we asked for help? How much does God know about the future, and how does this factor into the way our prayers affect the outcome? And how does God's relationship to time enter into the whole equation? With such questions in mind, Terrance Tiessen presents ten views of providence and prayer--and then adds an eleventh, his own. He describes each view objectively and then tackles the question, If this is the way God works in the world, how then should we pray? The result of his investigation is a book that puts us at the intersection between theological reflection and our life and conversation with God. It prods and sharpens our understanding, making us better theologians and better prayers.

Author Bio

Terrance Tiessen is Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology and Ethics at Providence Theological Seminary in Otterburne, Manitoba. He has written and

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Author/Artist Review

Author: Terrance Tiessen
Located in: Kleefeld, Manitoba, Canada
Submitted: April 26, 2000

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I am Professor of Systematic Theology at Providence Theological Seminary, in Manitoba, Canada.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  During many years of teaching theology I have noticed that the way my students pray often does not agree with the theological position that they hold. They often ask God to do things that he could not do, given their theological understanding. So, I thought it would be helpful to lay out models of the doctrine of providence and to demonstrate how petitionary prayer works in each model. I encountered and have expounded 10 of these models. I then present my own understanding of Scripture on this matter.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I hope that people will be helped to form a coherent understanding of the way God works in the world and that they will pray consistently with that understanding and effectively. Their practice of prayer might be changed by a more intentional study of their doctrine of providence. On the other hand, they might find that their practice is what they really believe about God and will then need to reformulate their theological understanding.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  My own model is labelled "middle knowledge Calvinist" and I have been most influenced by John Calvin and those who have followed his general understanding of Scripture. Middle Knowledge (God's knowledge of what would happen in all possible situations) has generally been used by non-Calvinist theologians but I argue that it does not really work for them and that it is at least implicitly assumed in the Calvinist understanding of God's plan and work in the world.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  This is not a particularly easy book because the issues involved are complex and often philosophical - the nature of human freedom, God's relationship to time etc. However, I believe that careful study of the matter will reward those who seriously want to understand the way God works in the world and pray effectively.

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