Examples of miracle questions

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The Miracle Question The miracle question is a method of questioning that a coach, therapist, or counselor uses to aid the client to envision how the future will be different when the problem is no longer present. Also, this may help to establish goals.

A traditional version of the miracle question would go like this:

"Suppose our meeting is over, you go home, do whatever you planned to do for the rest of the day. And then, some time in the evening, you get tired and go to sleep. And in the middle of the night, when you are fast asleep, a miracle happens and all the problems that brought you here today are solved just like that. But since the miracle happened over night nobody is telling you that the miracle happened. When you wake up the next morning, how are you going to start discovering that the miracle happened? ... What else are you going to notice? What else?"

Whilst relatively easy to state the miracle question requires considerable skill to ask well. The question must be asked slowly with close attention to the person's non-verbal communication to ensure that the pace matches the person's ability to follow the question. Initial responses frequently include a sense of "I don't know." To ask the question well this should be met with respectful silence to give the person time to fully absorb the question.

Once the miracle day has been thoroughly explored the worker can follow this with scales, on a scale where 0 = worst things have ever been and 10 = the miracle day where are you now? Where would it need to be for you to know that you didn't need to see me any more? What will be the first things that will let you know you are 1 point higher. In this way the miracle question is not so much a question as a series of questions.

There are many different versions of the miracle question depending on the context and the client.

In a specific situation, the counselor may ask,

"If you woke up tomorrow, and a miracle happened so that you no longer easily lost your temper, what would you see differently?" What would the first signs be that the miracle occurred?"

The client (a child) may respond by saying,

"I would not get upset when somebody calls me names. "

The counselor wants the client to develop positive goals, or what they will do, rather than what they will not do--to better ensure success. So, the counselor may ask the client, "What will you be doing instead when someone calls you names?"

Scaling Questions Scaling questions are tools that are used to identify useful differences for the client and may help to establish goals as well. The poles of a scale can be defined in a bespoke way each time the question is asked, but typically range from "the worst the problem has ever been" (zero or one) to "the best things could ever possibly be" (ten). The client is asked to rate their current position on the scale, and questions are then used to help the client identify resources (e.g. "what's stopping you from slipping one point lower down the scale?"), exceptions (e.g. "on a day when you are one point higher on the scale, what would tell you that it was a 'one point higher' day?") and to describe a preferred future (e. g. "where on the scale would be good enough? What would a day at that point on the scale look like?")

Exception Seeking Questions Proponents of SFBT insist that there are always times when the problem is less severe or absent for the client. The counselor seeks to encourage the client to describe what different circumstances exist in that case, or what the client did differently. The goal is for the client to repeat what has worked in the past, and to help them gain confidence in making improvements for the future.

Coping Questions Coping questions are designed to elicit information about client resources that will have gone unnoticed by them. Even the most hopeless story has within it examples of coping that can be drawn out: "I can see that things have been really difficult for you, yet I am struck by the fact that, even so, you manage to get up each morning and do everything necessary to get the kids off to school. How do you do that?" Genuine curiosity and admiration can help to highlight strengths without appearing to contradict the clients view of reality. The initial summary "I can see that things have been really difficult for you" is for them true and validates their story. The second part "you manage to get up each morning etc.", is also a truism, but one that counters the problem focused narrative. Undeniably, they cope and coping questions start to gently and supportively challenge the problem-focused narrative.

Problem Free Talk Problem free talk is often over looked as a technique. In Solution focused therapy it is thought to be a useful technique for eliciting resources. Many people do leisure activities that relax them, or have experiences of being assertive, and many other useful resources that can help within the therapy. Solution focused therapists will talk about seemingly irrelevant life experiences; like leisure activities, meeting with friends, relaxing and managing conflict. The therapist can also gather information on the clients values and beliefs and their strengths. From this discussion during the therapy session the therapist can use these strengths and resources to move the therapy forward. For example; if a client wants to be more assertive it may turn out that under certain life situations they are assertive. This strength from one part of their life can then be transferred to the area with the current problem. Or if a client is struggling with their child because the child gets aggressive and calls the parent names and the parent continually retaliates and also gets angry, then perhaps they have an area of their life where they remain calm even under pressure; or maybe they have trained a dog successfully that now behaves and can identify that it was the way they spoke to the dog that made the difference and if they put boundaries in place using the same firm tonality the child might listen.

3 Miracle Question Examples to Use With Your Therapy Clients [Video]

"If a miracle occurred, what would your day be like?"

Imagine that tonight as you sleep a miracle occurs in your life. A magical momentous happening that has completely solved this problem and perhaps rippled out to cover and infinitely improve other areas of your life too…

Think for a moment and tell me… how is life going to be different now? Describe it in detail.

What’s the first thing you’ll notice as you wake up in the morning?

The miracle question, created by Steve de Shazer one of the pioneers of solution-focused therapy in 1988, is a great ‘thought experiment’ and a creative way to devise good therapeutic goals.

The miracle question basically asks people to make believe, however fantastical it may be in their particular circumstances, that their life has already dramatically changed for the better.

So instead of focusing exclusively on how insoluble their problem is, and how difficult life is because of it, it switches attention to what will happen after the problem is dealt with – focusing on the desired future rather than the undesired present. One of the pillars of solution focused therapy.

It jumps right over the mechanics of how, exactly, the problem will be solved into the mechanics of how will they live when it is solved.

It’s a neat and rather fun way of bypassing rigid constraints, black and white thinking, and unshakeable beliefs that “things can’t possibly change!”

Focus on the desired future rather than the undesired present #tipsfortherapists Click to Tweet

For more technique demonstration videos, see Uncommon Practitioners TV

1. Using the miracle question to find out more

If by some magic a miracle occurs tonight as you sleep, and when you wake up you no longer feel the need to be obsessively vacuuming, what, can you imagine now, will your day be like?

You can use the miracle question (or a suitable variation) to glean not just information about what this person really wants in their future but also very useful information about how their problem manifests right now.

For example, our OCD client might respond to the question above:

Well, I wouldn’t wake up with that dreadful knot of fear in my stomach.

Okay, so they still put this in negative terms, but they have nonetheless given you valuable information about what they have been experiencing. This gives you another marker against which to measure future progress – them waking up feeling more positive and calm.

So use the miracle question to find out about where they are now.

2. Using the miracle question carefully

No therapeutic technique is appropriate in all circumstances. And when we do choose to use any particular technique we should be able to adapt it to fit the character and circumstances of individual clients.

If people are grieving the passing of a loved one or are living with cancer, asking them about a miracle might elicit responses like:

Well, my husband would still be alive, wouldn’t he?


This cancer would never have happened!

The miracle question might not be such a great tactic in such circumstances. Instead you could ask simply:

What will be a sign that you’re feeling better in the days to come?

However, if someone is depressed and miserable because of the way they are living, then you can throw caution to the winds. They might tell you:

I’d have money… good friends… I’d be fitter and slimmer…

These are things you can genuinely start to help them work towards.

So it pays to remember to combine common sense with your miracle questions.

3. Using the miracle question imaginatively

We want people to feel the answer to the miracle question – to experience it and not just to think about it. This helps to make the imagined future more real to them, and not just a theoretical construct.

So rather than getting someone to answer straight away, get them to ‘go inside’ for a few moments and really ‘see and feel’ the miracle. Ask them to imagine the answer rather than tell you in words.

For example:

Okay, now, just using total fantasy here… If by some very real magic you were to go to sleep tonight and a miracle happened while you were sleeping, and when you wake in the morning you and your life are in an altogether happier place, as if the problem has been swept away… just imagine how that will feel now with your eyes closed… how will it be?… what will you do?

When you’ve given them some time to carry out this process, you can ask your client to tell you in detail what they have noticed and imagined. This will:

  • give them a flavour and a ‘blueprint’ for how things might be different
  • give you an idea of how to manage their expectations and develop a strategy for your future therapeutic work.

Using the miracle question is a wonderful way to bypass the usual worries about how things could change (which can be tackled later in the therapy) and switch to a motivational focus on what your client really wants changed.

Sometimes people need a little coaxing to enter into the spirit of miracle questioning. And sometimes we all need encouragement to see miracles that have already occurred or are happening right now…

About Mark Tyrrell

Psychology is my passion. I've been a psychotherapist trainer since 1998, specializing in brief, solution focused approaches. I now teach practitioners all over the world via our online courses.

You can get my book FREE when you subscribe to my therapy techniques newsletter. Click here to subscribe free now.

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What is a miracle? Miracles in Orthodoxy

5 Degrees of Faith

  • True miracles
  • Miracle, miracles Bible Encyclopedia archim. Nikifora
  • Miracle Brockhaus Bible Encyclopedia
  • Miracles Bible Dictionary
  • Miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ ep. Vasily (Preobrazhensky)
  • Miracles and parables of Christ Fr. Lev Liperovsky
  • Lanchanskoye miracle T. Reshetnikova
  • Shroud of Turin
  • About miracles and signs of St. Ignatius (Bryanchaninov)
  • About the miracle of the archpriest. Alexander Schmemann
  • In Defense of Miracles
  • Miracles Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics
  • Miracle: Christian faith in it and its justification by Met. Feofan (Tulyakov)
  • Miracle Clive Staples Lewis
  • Miracles of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Miraculous icons
  • Signs from icons at the end of the 20th century in Russia spiritual results
  • Signs of God from holy icons. 1991–1996 A.M. Lyubomudrov
  • Miraculous Icons of the Mother of God
  • Miracles from fallen spirits
  • About the so-called miracles of the devil Fr. Grigory Dyachenko
  • False miracles Encyclopedia of Christian apologetics
  • Easter eggs, or exposing the harm of the occult
  • About miracles in other religions and occultism Fr. Georgy Maksimov
  • Other
  • What is a miracle? archbishop John (Shakhovskoy)
  • What is a miracle? M.O. Verzhbolovich
  • Questions about the miracles of Fr. Maxim Kozlov
  • On the Miracles of God Hieromonk Sergius (Rybko)
  • The problem of the miracle and the modern scientific outlook of V.P. Lega
  • The Lord performs a miracle only when it is necessary for salvation Hieromonk Job (Gumerov)
  • A miracle as a manifestation of God's mercy. Compilation
  • Miracle of confession. Uninvented stories by G.A. Pylneva
  • VIDEO. Miracle
  • About the miracles of St. Georgy Maksimov

Miracle - a supernatural event, action, phenomenon that violates the "laws of nature" and is not amenable to rational explanation. The true ones are accomplished by divine grace (with its assistance). False miracles are the result of deceit, the actions of fallen spirits.

  1. A miracle is a supernatural event, action, phenomenon that cannot be rationally explained by natural science. nine0007
  2. Not every miracle is given by the Lord. Thus, the Savior says: “False Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders” (Matthew 24:24).
  3. True miracles are performed by the will of God for the purposes of Good, directly by God or, for example, through the mediation of God's saints (with the assistance of Divine grace), while false miracles are associated with the action of fallen spirits.
  4. Miracles should be treated with reason even in the most, at first glance, convincing cases, so that a demonic action that can bring great harm to a person is not mistaken for a miracle of God. nine0007
  5. One can distinguish a miracle of God from a demonic temptation “by the fruits” (Matthew 7:20): a true miracle can cause reverent awe before the Lord, quiet joy, peace and tranquility in the soul, induce a person to repentance; a seductive "miracle" can cause excitement, anxiety, confusion, an unstable state of mind.
  6. Excessive desire of a person to become a witness or a participant in a miracle can be a sign of an unhealthy soul, deceit by fallen spirits, lack of faith, a false attitude towards God, towards His Dispensation. nine0007
  7. Not every phenomenon or event presented as a miracle is really a miracle. Moreover, reports of miracles may simply be made up. False news about miracles can be spread by deceivers (for example, in order to attract pilgrims, tourists), as well as deceived or deceived people.
  8. Not every genuine miracle is perceived by man as such. Suppose, despite the many miracles performed by Christ, many Jews took Him for an impostor, a deceiver. nine0007
  9. God performs miracles when appropriate. Performing miracles "to order", "if only they would believe", does not always correspond to the goals of God's Providence (Matt. 12:39; Matt. 16:4; Matt. 27:42).
  10. Being a seer of the heart, Jesus Christ knew in which case a miracle could be useful and bring the necessary spiritual fruit.
  11. The main reason for the performance of miracles by the Savior was not the desire to make a momentary impression on the inhabitants of Palestine, but the salvation of people (which, of course, does not deny that, say, the purpose of healing the sick was the healing of precisely these sick people). nine0007


Miracle in itself only proves that the world is not reduced to senseless acts of nature, that there is a superhuman reality. In the spiritual life of every believer, a miracle is a sign, a response from God; every "external" miracle is directed "inward", it indicates the need to change the inner world of man.

Axiom of patristic wisdom: miracles of God always have an obvious, good purpose - to encourage, heal, enlighten. Clarity of purpose - the approach of man to salvation - remains the criterion of the Divinity of a supernatural phenomenon. “A true miracle is never accidental and its meaning ... is in revealing to a person the inner spiritual side of life,” wrote A.B. Saltykov. nine0003

At the same time, the priests call for caution: “One cannot determine the truth by miraculous phenomena, “in our fallen world there is no such miracle that Satan could not fake…”, “an Orthodox Christian should take, so to speak, a neutral position in relation to all unusual supernatural phenomena.

Man is not saved by miracles, but by his life in the Church. The main thing is that the souls of people should be myrrh-streaming and renewed.

Are miracles possible in our time? nine0120

Miracles are always possible, anytime, anywhere. Moreover, the Gospel says that at the end of time “false Christs and false prophets will arise and give great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24).

How to treat miracles?

Miracles should be treated with caution, even in the most seemingly convincing cases. Trust in soothsayers, magicians, healers and other magicians was condemned in the Old Testament (Deut. 18:10-14). The holy ascetics of the Church advised to remain neutral, indifferent to miracles (at least for some time, until you recognize the source of the origin of this miracle, for example, with the help of spiritually mature ascetics), not to blaspheme and not to take these or those miraculous phenomena, so that for a miracle God does not accept a demonic action that can bring great harm to a person. nine0003

Can demonic forces perform miracles?

Sometimes "Satan himself takes the form of an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:14). As an angel, even a fallen one, he has a certain power and is able to do such things (with the permission or favor of God) that can be evaluated by a person as a miracle. Therefore, there are also miracles performed by the power of the devil with the aim of seducing a person for his further, human, destruction (2 Thess. 2:9). Holy Scripture gives many examples of how demonic forces work miracles (for example, Exodus 7:10-12), even more in the Bible it says about miracles that the devil will perform during the coming of the Antichrist (for example, Rev. 13:11-14) . nine0003

How to distinguish a true miracle from a false one?

One can distinguish a miracle of God from a demonic obsession “according to the fruits” (Matt. 7:20). A true miracle not only, but often not so much “shocks”, “amazes” with its effect or grandiose scope (and often does not shock or amaze at all), but causes reverent awe before the Creator, repentance, quiet joy, gives the soul peace and peace. The miracle of God produces a good result. Often a meeting with a miracle (for example, with a miraculous healing from an “incurable” disease) prompts a person to radically change his life, to become churched. And the Church Fathers say about delusion, a seducing “miracle”, that they cause excitement, anxiety, anxiety, and an unstable state of mind. A deceived person seeks new miracles for some of his purposes (Mt. 12:39), becomes proud, exalted above the rest.

Is it worth specifically looking for miracles, asking God to show a miracle?

Striving for signs and wonders was condemned by Jesus Christ (Mt. 12:38-39). The most faithful, sober position is not to ask God for a miracle and not to seek a miracle for the sake of a spectacle (although the Holy Scripture knows examples of private requests for miracles that were granted by God (Judges 6:36-40)) Striving for a miracle can be a sign unhealthy souls, unbelief in God and His good will towards us. The evil one can willingly use this to seduce an inexperienced soul and gain access to the heart of a person who seeks miracles. nine0003

Who is most at risk of being seduced by a false miracle?

The easiest prey of the devil are people whose hearts are turned to the temporal and earthly. They seek from religion only that which is of value in their practical needs (clairvoyance, divination, healing, etc.), and demonic miracles are largely aimed at satisfying this demand.

Are there miracles outside of the Church?

Outside the Church there may be: a) false reports of miracles; b) genuine manifestations of God's mercy towards people who have erroneous ideas about Him; c) deceit by fallen spirits. nine0003

A miracle is not necessarily performed by God in a supernatural way, without human participation, in a way

The Lord performs many miracles through people who may not even realize that their actions are woven into God's large-scale providence. An example is the following story. Once in Sweden there was such a case (it was told about in a reality show on television). One person told me why his conscience torments him: “When I was little, my friend and I decided to parachute a hamster from the balcony of a high-rise building. We made a basket, a parachute, put a hamster in the basket and let it go. But the unexpected happened. A gust of wind picked up our parachute and carried us somewhere far away. I still can't forget about it. How could I do this..?” nine0003

Suddenly the phone rang in the studio. The caller asked, “Did it happen in such and such a year?” The man answered in the affirmative. “In the summer, when was the Stockholm city holiday?” "Yes, yes, yes," said the man. "I know what happened to your hamster." "What happened to him?" - I could not believe the surprised guest of the studio.

“My daughter asked me for a hamster for a long time,” the woman continued. - I once answered her: do not even ask. We will have a hamster only if God himself gives it to you.” The girl childishly raised her hands to the sky and said: “Daddy-God, give me a hamster!” And we went to the city for a holiday. Suddenly my daughter says, “Mommy, I think God has answered prayer! Look!". And right from the sky on a parachute, a hamster in a basket fell into her hands. nine0003

Miracle quotes

“Miracles do not contradict nature, but nature known to us.”
Aurelius Augustine

“There is no need to wait or look for miracles. There is only one miracle that is always with us. This is the Divine Liturgy."
Optina Elder Nectarius

“A miracle in itself is not a criterion of truth. And the Egyptian magicians worked miracles. And the Antichrist will work great miracles. But only God can resurrect. Every wonder-working of Christ had a spiritual background; it never set out to amaze those around him. God is pleased not with those struck by a miracle, but with the ability to perform miracles themselves, the main of which is sacrificial love, the transformation of evil into good. Love is the norm, which in the modern world has become a miracle. No miracle can reverse the free will of people. Judas spent 3 years next to Christ, that is, in ideal conditions for a believer, and still ended up with betrayal and suicide. Out of ten lepers, only one came to his senses. In our understanding, a miracle is something that transcends the laws of nature. But we live in a fallen world. And scientists diligently study the fallen world. nine0004 Blessed Augustine was surprised that we consider the multiplication of bread by Christ a miracle, but we do not consider the growth of bread itself a miracle. For a believer, there is nothing surprising in the presence of the Creator in the world. A miracle as an inexplicable violation of the laws of nature, rather, from the lexicon of atheists. God is the most delicate teacher, He does not miraculously force the will of man.
from the book “On what “cannot be”. Talk about a miracle in our life”

The Lord performs a miracle only when it is necessary for salvation

5 steps of faith

A miracle is a supernatural action or event that is accessible to external observation, produced by Divine power.

God performs a miracle. He does them in answer to our prayers. Faith is needed to perform a miracle (Matt. 9:2; 9:28; 17:20; 21:21; Mark 9:23-24; John 14:12). It is also necessary to live according to the commandments of God: Whoever has My commandments and keeps them, he loves Me; and whoever loves me, he will be loved by my Father; and I will love him and show myself to him (John 14:21). It is obvious that a non-believer cannot perform a miracle. The Lord does not work miracles through sinners either: we know that God does not listen to sinners; but whoever honors God and does His will, hears him (John 9:31). Faith and keeping the commandments are necessary conditions.

However, this does not mean that a person can perform a miracle whenever he wishes. When Jesus Christ said: Have the faith of God, for truly I say to you, if anyone says to this mountain, be lifted up and thrown into the sea, and he will not doubt in his heart, but will believe that it will come to pass according to his words (Mark 11:23), He in figurative speech showed great opportunities for the believer. A person does not need to move earthen mountains when there are so many huge mountains of human sin around. nine0003

The Lord established the laws of the visible world. The life of a person and the work of his salvation are accomplished within the limits of this given order. God works in the world, preserving the natural order of life. And only in certain circumstances, when there is a special need for this, He cancels the "orders of nature." Because miracles in life are relatively few. The Lord gives help miraculously when all natural possibilities have been exhausted. Even so, He performs a miracle only when it is necessary for salvation. In other cases, it is useful to go through illness, so that in the fire of these sorrows, pernicious sinful passions, which are the cause of a serious illness, and the preservation of which can deprive a person of eternal life, burn out. nine0003

The Lord Himself determines through whom to perform miracles. God chose some to be saints and shepherds, others he endowed with spiritual intelligence to be elders, others he gave special grace to work miracles in abundance (St. Nicholas, St. Seraphim of Sarov, St. Right. John of Kronstadt, etc.). In the lives of some great saints we do not find descriptions of miracles.

One more aspect of this question must be said. A miracle is always a spiritual test for the one through whom God performs it. Before you can work miracles, you must climb to the high and safe step of humility. nine0003

“Abba Anthony heard about a young monk that he performed such a miracle on the way: seeing some elders who were traveling and tired on the way, he ordered wild donkeys to come up to them and carry the elders on themselves until they reached Anthony. When the elders told Abba Anthony about this, he said to them: It seems to me that this monk is a ship full of blessings, but I don’t know if he will enter the pier. After some time, Abba Anthony suddenly began to cry, to tear his hair and sob. - The disciples asked him: why are you crying, abba? – The elder answered them: now the great pillar of the Church has fallen! He was talking about the young monk. But go to him yourself, he continued, and see what has happened! - The disciples go and find the monk sitting on a mat and mourning the sin he has committed. – Seeing the disciples of Anthony, the monk says to them: tell the elder to beg God to give me only ten days of life, and I hope to cleanse my sin and repent. But after five days he died” (Ancient Patericon). nine0003

Not a few miracles are happening now. How many souls are resurrected who seemed completely mortified by sin! The Lord also does this through the priests, but covertly, because people have little humility now.

In the end, I would like to tell you about a miracle that convinces us that faith can really move mountains when necessary. An impressive miracle that took place in Egypt in the 16th century testifies to the fulfillment of the words of the Savior. The plague was raging there. One of the enemies of Christianity, a doctor by profession, spread the rumor among the Turks that the fault of the misfortune that befell them was Christians. “For Christians,” he explained, “dip the cross into the water, which was the cause of this mortal disease.” This slander spread everywhere and became known to the Egyptian sultan, who demanded that Patriarch Joachim be brought to him for personal explanations. The Patriarch has arrived. At first, the Sultan had a long conversation with him about faith, but, seeing that he justified the Christian faith and refuted Islam with deep conviction and clear evidence, he ordered him to rearrange the mountain located next to Cairo to justify the Gospel words. The patriarch did not waver in faith. Having asked for several days for prayer, he, with faithful Christians, propitiated the Lord with fasting, vigils and prayers and asked them not to shame them. At the appointed time, when a multitude of people gathered, the patriarch said to the mountain in the Name of Christ that it move from its place and move to another: the mountain shook at the base and left its place. Stopped by the same Name of Christ, she received the name in Turkish dur-dago (become a mountain). nine0003

This miracle struck the enemies of the Christian faith. Not knowing how to shake their strength, they prepared a deadly poison and convinced the Sultan to order the patriarch to drink it. “For Christ,” they said, “said in the Gospel: if they drink anything deadly, it will not harm them.” The Sultan ordered poison to be served to the patriarch. Full of faith in the power of the Cross of Christ, the patriarch blessed the death cup with the cross and drank. He remained completely unharmed. After that, rinsing the glass with water, the patriarch asked the doctor who prepared the drink to drink it. It was impossible to refuse, because the Sultan himself demanded it. He drank the water and died immediately. When Patriarch Nifont of Constantinople learned about these wondrous events, he sent Bishop Akakios of Randini and St. Theophilus to Alexandria so that they would learn in detail and ascertain what had happened there. They confirmed the miracle. Rev. himself Theophilus was a wondrous saint of God. His holy relics are in the altar of his cell church of St. Basil, located in one of the picturesque valleys of Athos near Kareia. When you pass by the altar apse, you see a hole in the wall. It was done so that the myrrh flowing from St. relics of St. Theophilus the Myrrh-streaming, did not overflow the altar. nine0003

Question: The history of Christianity on earth is the history of countless miracles that the Lord sends to strengthen those who profess the true faith. But is anything known for certain about miracles in other religions, and how to relate to these facts?

Answers hieromonk Job (Gumerov) :

Starting to solve this issue, it is necessary to define and separate the concepts: salvation , to which true faith leads, and the mercy of God , which extends to all, for the Lord loves His creation: “God proves His love for us by the fact that Christ died for us, while we were still sinners” (Rom.5 :8). Receiving help from a Merciful God (sometimes even miraculously) does not yet imply salvation.

In the Holy Scriptures we know examples of miracles performed on people who did not profess the true religion. During a famine in Palestine, the Lord God sends the prophet Elijah to the Phoenician city of Sarepta to a widow. She was a heathen. She miraculously did not run out of flour and butter for some time. The Lord, through the prophet Elijah, resurrected the widow's son (see: 1 Kings 17:9–24). Through the prophet Elisha, God healed the commander of Neman, a pagan, from leprosy (see: 2 Kings 5:1–19). Our Lord Jesus Christ delivered the daughter of a pagan Phoenician from a demon (see: Mt. 15:22–28; Mk. 7:25–30). The Evangelist Matthew also writes: “And a rumor about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all the weak, possessed by various diseases and seizures, and demon-possessed, and lunatics, and paralyzed, and He healed them ”(Matthew 4:24). At the time of the Savior, Syria was a pagan country. nine0003

There is a known case of healing through the prayer of the holy righteous John of Kronstadt Tatar. “I will cite the story of the general from the cavalry Abatsiev, from which it will be clear that Father John, while staying in Livadia during the illness of the king, healed the sick Tatar in absentia with the power of his prayer. General Abatsiev was the aide-de-camp of the Emperor Alexander III when the tsar was dying. Father John lived in Livadia. One lady asked General Abatsiev to arrange a meeting with Father John. General Abatsiev at 5 o'clock in the morning went to Father John. At the garden gate of the house where Father John lived, there was already a crowd, including the Tatars, whom the police did not let in. On the porch was a weeping Tatar woman. The police did not understand what she was saying. Abatsiev knew the Tatar language, as a native of the Caucasus, and learned from a Tatar woman that she had brought her sick husband, who was lying in a cart on the road, and begged to be allowed to see Mulla John. Abatsiev caught Fr. John at morning prayer, despite the 5 o'clock in the morning, and told him about the Tatar woman. Father John said to let the Tatar woman in. Through the interpreter Abatsiev, Father John asked the Tatar woman if she believed in God? Having received an affirmative answer, Father John told her: “We will pray together, you pray in your own way, and I will pray in my own way.” When Father John finished his prayer, he blessed the Tatar woman by crossing her. Then Abatsiev went out together with the Tatar woman, and, to the amazement of both, the sick husband of the Tatar woman was already walking towards the completely healthy one. From this story it is clear that Father John, by the power of his prayer, healed even a sick Mohammedan" ( I.K. Sursky Father John of Kronstadt. Ch. 23).

Let us note that all the above examples testify to one thing: miracles occurred when those who stood outside the true faith turned not to their false religion, but to the Lord Jesus Christ or representatives of the true religion. All who asked for help rose above their religion. A widow from Zarephath says to the prophet Elijah: “As the Lord your God lives!” (1 Kings 17:12). The Canaanite went not to the idols, but to the Savior and prayed: “Have mercy on me, Lord, son of David” (Matthew 15:22). The Tatar turned not to a mullah, but to an Orthodox priest. nine0003

There is a very valuable indication in 2 Kings for our question. Having received healing from leprosy, Naaman says to the prophet Elisha: “Only this, may the Lord forgive your servant: when my master goes to the house of Rimmon to worship there and leans on my hand, and I bow down in the house of Rimmon, then, for my worship in the house of Rimmon, may the Lord forgive your servant in this case” (2 Kings 5:18). According to his official position, the Syrian commander will have to accompany his king to the temple. The king will lean on the hand of his nobleman, and he will have to bow to Rimmon, the Syrian "deity" of air and storm. Naaman recognizes that this is a sin, and, apparently, is afraid that leprosy may return to him for this. This biblical place gives the key to solving the question posed in the letter: can miracles happen through the prayerful and ritual actions of an untrue religion. Holy Scripture severely denounces any violation of the first commandment: "Fear the Lord thy God, and serve Him [only]" (Deut. 6:13). "The gods who did not create heaven and earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens" (Jer. 10:11). This was said directly about paganism - the religion of the peoples surrounding the chosen people. But the commandments of God are not historically transient. They are universal and apply to all people, given to mankind for the entire period of its history. There can be many mistakes and delusions, but the truth is always one. Therefore, there can be only one true religion. There cannot be multiple true religions. Christianity is based on Divine Revelation. Without this source, people cannot cognize God with their natural powers. The degree of deviation from the truth can be different, but any deviation leads to false spirituality. Therefore, it is quite obvious that there can be no miracles in these religions. Errors and deep-rooted errors are incompatible with Divine truth. The examples given by the representatives of these religions are, in fact, false miracles. They are done by demonic forces. False miracles are spoken of in Holy Scripture (see: Ex. 7:11–12; 8:7; Acts 8:9-eleven; 13:8). Spiritual blindness and ignorance does not give the erring the opportunity to distinguish between spirits and understand the source of substitutions. Bishop Eusebius Pamphilus describes how the martyr Astiri put an end to one of these "miracles": a sacrificial animal is thrown into these waters on some holiday, and the demon makes it invisible by its power. Those present proclaim this as an amazing miracle. Somehow Astirius was a witness to everything that was happening; seeing how shocked the whole crowd was, he took pity on their delusion: raising his eyes to heaven, he began to implore the Almighty through Christ to expose the demon-seducer and stop this deception. It is said that while he was praying, the victim floated to the top; the miracle disappeared, and nothing outlandish happened in this place anymore ”(Church History. Book 7. 17). Father Seraphim (Rose) in the book "Orthodoxy and Religion of the Future" cites the story of Archimandrite Nikolai (Drobyazgin), who was present in Ceylon at a session of a sorcerer-fakir. "Stunned, we couldn't take our eyes off this startling sight." Further, Father Nikolai said: “I completely forgot that I am a priest and a monk, that it hardly befits me to take part in such spectacles. The delusion was so irresistible that the heart and mind were silent. But my heart was anxious and beat painfully. My whole being was gripped by fear. My lips moved by themselves and began to utter the words: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!”. I felt immediate relief. It seemed that some invisible chains with which I was entangled began to fall off me. Prayer became more focused and with it my peace of mind returned. I continued to look at the tree, when suddenly, as if picked up by the wind, the picture became cloudy and scattered ... But something seemed to be happening to the fakir himself. He fell sideways. The alarmed young man ran up to him. The session was suddenly interrupted... As I was leaving, I involuntarily turned around for the last time to capture the whole scene in my memory, and suddenly - I shuddered from an unpleasant sensation. My gaze met the fakir's, full of hatred. This happened in the shortest possible moment, and he again assumed his former position, but this look once and for all opened my eyes to the one by whose power this “miracle” was actually produced. There are also healings in these religions, but they are paid at a high price: the soul is captured by fallen spirits. nine0003

What is the difference between genuine miracles and false ones? Source and consequences. God “desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). A true miracle always has a spiritually beneficial effect on a person. A widow from Zarepha, after her son's return to life, confessed: "Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is true" (1 Kings 17:24). Spared from leprosy, Naaman speaks wonderful words, turning to the prophet of God Elisha: “Behold, I have learned that in all the earth there is no God, except in Israel” (2 Kings 5:15). We do not know the fate of the Tatar woman whose husband was healed by the holy righteous John of Kronstadt. However, this miracle, in any case, was an impressive event, disposing her to Orthodoxy. nine0003

“He who has sincere love for the truth will be led out of the darkness of error and led to the light of truth. An example is the holy apostle Paul. He sincerely loved the truth, with all his soul he was devoted to what he considered true, without any self-interest. Therefore, as soon as the truth was pointed out to him not in what he considered true, he immediately abandoned this old, which turned out to be not true, and clung with all his heart to the new, visibly revealed to be true ... The truth about Christ is clear as day: seek and you will find. Help from above is always ready for a sincere seeker.

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