Originally posted by epiphinehas
I don't see anything wrong with giving praise where praise is due. And Nicksten never claimed that prayer is just about asking for things—that's an unfair interpretation of his comments, IMO.
I see a lot wrong with it. First, the Scriptures, while teaching God's covenantal commitment of prosperity to his chosen people, equally teaches that the path to God involves suffering and hardship. Take, for example, the wandering of the Israelites in the desert, the sufferings of Job, the passion of Christ (and his statement, Thy will be done
), or St Paul's teaching that each must be tested through fire. It is certainly true that Jesus teaches his disciples to ask for what they need, Give us this day our daily bread
, but I can't imagine Jesus instructing his disciples to pray for salary rises -- this is the same Jesus who asked his disciples to give up everything, let the dead bury the dead
Second, I think it's contemptible to think of God as praiseworthy simply for bestowing material wealth. If you read the Church Fathers, for example, God's praiseworthiness derives from His nature, as something beautiful and good in itself. I think it's kind of shallow to praise God simply because of an increased pay unless there really were some higher need for money. Perhaps Nicksten can explain that.