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What's The Point Of Prayer If We Ask God To Do What He Wants Anyway?
by Greg Baker
3/12/2010 / Prayers
A lady in our Church approached me with this question. She was a bit quizzical about this. She asked, "So we are to pray, but if we ask God to do His will and not ours" I smiled and answered, "Then what's the point of praying?" She nodded.
My answer to her is the basis of this article.
There are several reasons why prayer is important. We'll discuss each of these.
IT IS POSSIBLE TO CHANGE GOD'S MIND
Prayer is the vehicle of communication with God. God's will, God's mind is not set in stone. Prayer can change God's mind. Here are a few examples:
Moses was able to change God's mind in Exodus 32. God wanted to destroy the rebellious Israelites, but Moses was able to intercede with prayer.
Abraham was able to prevail on God to alter the conditions by which He would destroy Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18. Through prayer, Abraham was able to get God to change these conditions several times.
King Hezekiah prevailed upon God to change His mind about his own death. God granted him fifteen more years in 2 Kings 20 because of his prayer.
In Mark 7, a Gentile woman prevailed upon Jesus to change His mind regarding her daughter. Jesus said, "For this saying, go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter."
Prayer can change God's mind. Be careful though, sometimes changing God's mind is not the best thing for you. This is why God asks that you yield your will to His in prayer. In King Hezekiah's case, changing God's mind was an absolute disaster. Still, if you pray, you can change God's mind.
SOMETIMES GOD WANTS TO SEE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO YOU
Sometimes our prayer is met with silence. God doesn't say 'yes' or 'no'. There is just silence. That silence is not rejection or a 'no'. It could be that God is waiting to see how important it is to you. If you stop praying after just a few days, then clearly, it wasn't of great importance to you.
As a parent there have been many times when one of my sons wants something that I have no real opinion about either way. I really don't care if he has it or not. My decision to get it for him is often based on how important I think it is to him. If it is not that important to him, then he doesn't get it. I think God sometimes feels that some or many of the things we ask for are just not that important. But if it is important to you, then God may give it.
Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
The woman in Mark 7 asked to the point of becoming a pest. The same story in Matthew 15 tells us that the disciples begged Jesus to send her away. Yet Jesus did not do so, even though He refused to speak with her until later. Every time we pray, we come into God's presence. He will not send us away. But He may respond with silence. But if it is important enough to you, you won't stop praying.
Luke 11:9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
THE PRAYERS OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN AVAILETH MUCH
James 5:16 - Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
God tells us here that the prayer of a righteous man has an impact on Him. His decision, His will, and His interaction is impacted and effected by our Prayer. God has a relationship with us. This relationship is deeper than you can possibly imagine. God is impacted by your tears, by your fears, and by your prayers.
Psalms 34:18 - The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
We see God as some sort of angry, stern giant sitting stiffly on a throne just itching to cast a lightning bolt at anyone who so much as strays a micron from the right path. This is not true. Both God and Jesus are greatly affected by our life and situations. Our prayers are essential to affecting God's plans and decisions.
Hebrews 4:15 - For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
God reacts to our prayers. Although, like Jesus did in the Garden, we say, "Not my will but thine be done." Jesus' agony evoked a response from God the Father. An angel appeared and strengthened Him.
So pray. Let God in on all your cares, your fears, and your wants. Pray for others. Pray for our societybut pray.
God gives grace to the humble. And yielding your will to His is a very important step in getting your prayers answered. God wants to see if you are willing to abide by His will, true, but in so doing, God strongly considers your will in His determination of what He does.
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