Olli Dürr Society Modern and conservative view on prayer

Modern and conservative view on prayer

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Prayer to God is a fundamental part of Christianity. As society has changed, prayer has not lost its importance, but consideration of purpose and, above all, goal has.

Goal of prayer – difference in around 150 years

How differently prayer can be weighted and how this can be explained to people is shown by a comparison of the “modern” view of Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Bavarian State Bishop and former Council President of the Evangelical Churches in Germany (EKD), and the “conservative” view of Ellen G. White (1827 – 1915). She was a co-founder of today’s Seventh-day Adventist Free Church, which is also represented in Germany, and was an author from numerous books.
Bedford-Strohm’s quotes are from his October 2019 post in “Chrismon“, taken from a portal of the Evangelical Church of Germany. The quotes from Ellen G. White are excerpts from her book “Prayer“.

Other weightings are clearly evident


Modern and conservative perspective on prayer

Bedford-Strohm sees prayer as a help that is better than any advisor. According to the regional bishop, regular prayer can help “take a confident and grateful attitude towards life”. So a kind of help for a better life. Ellen G. White recognizes in prayer a necessity for a relationship with God and for one’s own salvation after recognizing one’s own sinfulness.

Below are the individual quotes in alternating order with the same or similar topic in the field of prayer.

Bedford-Strohm on “Power and Soul”

Prayer has more power because it touches us in the depths of our existence. And where we cannot find our own words, we can borrow words that others before us have had deep experiences with. The Psalms in the Bible are such words. “Praise the Lord, my soul, and do not forget what good He has done for you.” Anyone who reads these words from Psalm 103 regularly, traces them and thinks about them, will notice how they seep into the soul and open up new sources of gratitude, joie de vivre and confidence for one’s own life and for the world as a whole.

Ellen G. White on the subject of “salvation”

The very first out-breathing of the soul in the morning should be for the presence of Jesus. “Without Me,” He says, “ye can do nothing.” It is Jesus that we need; His light, His life, His spirit, must be ours continually. We need Him every hour. And we should pray in the morning that as the sun illuminates the landscape, and fills the world with light, so the Sun of Righteousness may shine into the chambers of mind and heart, and make us all light in the Lord. We cannot do without His presence one moment. The enemy knows when we undertake to do without our Lord, and he is there, ready to fill our minds with his evil suggestions that we may fall from our steadfastness; but it is the desire of the Lord that from moment to moment we should abide in Him, and thus be complete in Him. (My Life Today, 15. {PR 232})

Bedford-Strohm on forgiveness (for the neighbour)

Happiness researchers tell us how important it is to learn to forgive. Many relationships could still exist if not only our minds but also the heart understood it. The Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus gives his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, helps us: “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” Anyone who prays this regularly and wholeheartedly opens himself up to the power of forgiveness.

Ellen G. White on forgiveness (own recognized sins)

All who come to Christ today are to remember that His merit is the incense that mingles with the prayers of those who repent of their sins and receive pardon and mercy and grace. Our need of Christ’s intercession is constant. Day by day, morning and evening, the humble heart needs to offer up prayers to which will be returned answers of grace and peace and joy. “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifice God is well pleased.”(SDA Bible Commentary 6:1078 {PR 21.1})

Bedford-Strohm on piety

Yes, there is such a thing as religious shame. For many, piety is something very intimate. Carrying them in front of you is wrong. But it doesn’t have to be kept secret either. It is worth rediscovering what we call “piety”, i.e. to quietly trace God, to talk to him, to let him tell you something, to listen to old and new texts that speak of God in our hearts encouraged to worship with others. From many conversations I know that many people wish to be able to live gratefully and confidently. Being thankful is something you can do. However, it does not find its way into the depths of one’s own soul through intention alone.

Ellen G. White on Piety

You need to watch, lest the busy activities of life lead you to neglect prayer when you most need the strength prayer would give. Godliness is in danger of being crowded out of the soul through over-devotion to business. It is a great evil to defraud the soul of the strength and heavenly wisdom which are waiting your demand. You need that illumination which God alone can give. No one is fitted to transact his business unless he has this wisdom. (Testimonies for the Church V, 560. {PR 25.1})

Neither comment nor rating

The respective quotes compared here remain completely free of evaluation. Everyone can use the few short examples to form their own picture of the importance, meaning and purpose of prayer.

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