06 Mar If God Is Sovereign, Are My Prayers Pointless?
If God’s will prevails, is it pointless to pray for what I want? This is a definitely good issue from a podcast listener named Andrea. “Pastor John, hello! Why must we pray for matters we want — happiness for ourselves, or therapeutic for other folks — if we know, in the end, God’s will will be done? I wrestle with praying for what I want for the reason that I know, in the conclusion, God’s approach will prevail anyhow. And apart from, he is aware of superior than me since he’s sovereign. I experience like this assumed occasionally inhibits my prayer daily life. Is not it pointless for me to pray for what I want? But then, if I never pray for what I want, what then would be the position of praying in any case?”
Oh my, this is superior. There are so numerous inquiries to inquire about prayer. We can request, What does it necessarily mean to pray in accordance to God’s will (1 John 5:14)? What does it suggest to pray in the identify of Jesus (John 14:13)? What does it suggest not to pray for the sin that sales opportunities to demise (1 John 5:16)? Why is God as opposed to an unrighteous judge in Luke 18:1–8 when we pray? Or what does it indicate to “pray without ceasing” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17? Or what does it suggest to pray in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18)? And on and on and on we could go.
Astonished by Prayer
It is not shocking, for that reason (it looks to me), that since prayer is 1 of the most breathtaking, awesome, astounding privileges specified to human beings, it would be shrouded in thriller.
I indicate, assume of it. The Creator of the universe, with infinite knowledge and infinite energy and infinite goodness, is telling us — finite, fallible, sinful creatures — to inquire him to do matters that we consider would be great for the glory of his title, and for the fantastic of the earth. And that is just what the Lord’s Prayer tells us to do: pray “hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). That suggests, “Glorify your identify, God. Honor your title. Revere your name. And make positive your will is performed the way the angels do it in heaven.” So, I’d just get started this by stating prayer is awesome to me. I adore it. I’m baffled by it. I’m surprised.
But she asks, I feel, an answerable dilemma. A whole lot of people will stumble about it, but I think it’s a single of the concerns that has an solution in the Bible. She asked one easy problem: “Pastor John, why ought to we pray for things we want — pleasure for ourselves, or therapeutic for other folks — if we know, in the stop, God’s will will be finished?” That is her question.
Very well, there are three reasons why you really should pray for items that you want, even however we know God’s sovereign will will be done.
1. God commands us to pray for what we want.
He tells us to pray for what we want — delivered our needs are shaped by his term. John 15:7: “If you abide in me, and my phrases abide in you, ask regardless of what you would like [literally whatever you want], and it will be carried out for you.”
We’re not meant to try to divine the sovereign will of God, and then only say, “Do that.” Which is not what prayer is. We do not know in advance of time the sovereign will of God that governs all issues. We are intended to let the phrase abide in us and condition our needs and our wishes by the uncovered will of God, not by the sovereign, all-managing will of God.
The discovered will of God, for example, is 1 Peter 3:11: “Seek peace and go after it.” Now, I don’t know the way the sovereign will of God could perform alone out in my lifestyle or your lifestyle in any certain problem. It may well be crucifixion. Which is not peace. I’m not after that. And that is what took place to Jesus. We pray toward what he tells us to pursue, not by trying to determine out what he sovereignly decrees.
So, which is range 1: talk to for what you want for the reason that the Bible claims to check with for what you want, not to pray for the things that you aspiration up God’s likely to do tomorrow.
2. If we never pray, we could not obtain.
We should really question for what we want knowledgeable by the word, due to the fact if we really do not, we may well not get it. James 4:2: “You do not have, for the reason that you do not check with.”
Now, let that sink in. There is a serious causal relationship between our asking and God’s giving. The absence of asking is the result in of the absence of receiving. Which is what James claims: “You do not have, because you do not request.” So question, lest in failing to question, you are unsuccessful to receive. There it is. Interval. Believe that that. Do that.
3. God sovereignly options our prayers.
This is the reason that selection two is legitimate — that we may possibly fall short to get when we fall short to talk to. Here’s the purpose: God options our prayers just as certainly as he ideas the activities that he performs in respond to to our prayers.
Consider Jesus’s prayer for Peter and for Peter’s repentance just after his denial, for illustration, in Luke 22:32. He prays like this right before Peter denied him, which he instructed him he would do: “I have prayed for you that your religion might not are unsuccessful. And when [not if] you have turned once again, bolster your brothers.”
So, God experienced planned for Peter to deny Jesus. That’s why Jesus knew he would. That’s why Jesus stated he would. And God experienced prepared for Jesus to pray for Peter’s repentance. And God had planned, in response to that prayer, to result in Peter to repent, which he did.
It would make no feeling to say God’s will for Peter is likely to transpire no make a difference what Jesus prays, when in fact Jesus’s prayer was aspect of what God willed. And that is the way it is with all prayer. God does not program the world, and then ponder if anybody’s likely to pray for portion of his prepare to be altered. He strategies the earth, and part of his arranging for the planet is the praying of his people today for what he ideas to do. Here’s an illustration from Ezekiel 36:36–37:
The nations that are remaining all around you shall know that I am the Lord I have rebuilt the ruined areas and replanted that which was desolate. I am the Lord I have spoken, and I will do it. Consequently states the Lord God: This also I will allow the dwelling of Israel inquire me to do for them: to maximize their persons like a flock.
Now, the word permit does not quite get the perception of the Hebrew, as although God have been just offering permission for them to pray, like, “I will permit the house of Israel to request me to do this.” No, much more practically, it’s a assertion of intention and intent from God. It claims, “This also I will be sought” — that is, prayed to. “This also I will be sought by the house of Israel to do for them: to increase them like a flock of males.”
In other text, God intends to restore and enhance Israel, and so he needs, he options, he intends, their prayer for this: “I will be sought by the house of Israel to do this for them simply because I intend to do this for them, as I have just reported.” So, the third purpose we must ask for what we want, what we wish, is that God ideas our prayers just as absolutely as he ideas the functions that occur from them.
Sign up for the Cause
So, really do not issue God’s way of executing matters. He enjoys us, and he’s not toying with us when he claims to “be frequent in prayer” (Romans 12:12), and “let your requests be produced acknowledged to God” (Philippians 4:6), and “[pray] at all times” (Ephesians 6:18), and “continue steadfastly in prayer” (Colossians 4:2), and “pray with out ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and “ask, and you will receive” (John 16:24), and do not get rid of heart in praying (Luke 18:1).
He’s not toying with us when he says all these items. He’s granting us the dignity of signing up for with him in glorifying himself as part of the trigger of all that he does.