Question: My question has to do with prayer. I believe that God knows all and that He knows what our lives will be like before we live them. If this is the case, where does prayer come in? Does it really change God’s mind when we pray or is it just to bring us closer to Him? Also, when I give Him something in prayer (such as the salvation of a loved one) sometimes I feel like I don’t trust God enough if I pray for it again and again. I know we are to pray without ceasing, but what about when we’re told to give our troubles to Him and then not take them back? Is repetitive prayer against His will?
Answer: Here I would like to quote something Richard W. De Haan, “You are wondering why should I pray anyway, doesn’t God already know what He is going to do? In fact, someone wrote this question to Radio Bible Class: “I know the Bible exhorts us to pray, and that Jesus and His apostles were men of prayer, but why is God so concerned about our praying? After all, He is sovereign, and He has planned everything from the beginning to the end. How can it be true, then, that prayer changes things when ‘what is to be will be?’
“They answered this way: “I am reminded of a story told by A. H. Strong, the will known theologian. In order to emphasize the fallacy of blind determinism, Dr. Strong related an imaginary experience of a man who lived in the horse-and-buggy day. One Sunday, having heard a sermon in church about God’s sovereign decrees, he decided to take a rough, shorter trail home instead of the lengthier, safer road. The way was filled with ruts and rocks. When a wagon wheel finally broke, he made this foolish observation. ‘I’ve been predestinated to be a fool, and I’ve just made my calling and election sure.’ This poor soul had never come to realize that his own free action had been foreseen and incorporated into God’s plan.
“In much the same way, the man who does not pray because he concludes that everything has been predetermined anyway is overlooking the fact that God’s omniscience foresaw his prayerlessness. So don’t forget; the Lord’s eternal foreknowledge took our prayers into consideration, and He has worked them into His plan and into the very fabric of the universe…That’s why we pray!” Richard W. De Haan
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, Get justice for me from my adversary. 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. ”
6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? (Luke 18: 1 – 7)
I Timothy 2: 1-4 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (I Timothy 2: 1-4)
Does God want us to pray? YES! Does God listen to our prayers? YES! We need to pray continuously, and in faith believing that God hears and will answer. Sometimes He does not answer the first time we ask, perhaps He wants to know how serious we are.
In Christian love,
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