jd writes :
I understand that God is sovereign and can do what He wants, but I've
often wondered how prayer is setup. Specifically, people who say the
"Holy Spirit prompted them to pray for someone," then later it's
found out that person was in a situation and was miraculously saved
or something. I'm thinking, "Now, why does God need our
prayers? If the Lord knows someone is in trouble, why doesn't He
just help them?" Why does God "need" me to intercede for someone in
trouble...to the extent of "prompting me to pray for someone?" If the
Lord sees someone of his trouble in crisis, shouldn't God help out
the person? Not a profound question, but one I've often
time over the past year and a half growing a lot on this very issue,
since you asked me the question. I think I'm finally at the point
where I can give a good answer on this one without sitting up racking
my brain for hours on end (since I'd already done that
need to establish some premises from scripture:
1. God is
absolutely Sovereign. This means, He is in control- plain and simple.
"I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is
still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I
please." (Isaiah 46:10). Plain and simple- God is in control of EVERY
situation- HIS will supercedes and precedes any so-called 'free will'
that we humans allegedly possess. Even pagan Nebuchadnezar realized
this in Daniel 4:34b-35-"Then I praised the Most High; I honoured and
glorified him who lives for ever. His dominion is an eternal
dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the
peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases
with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No-one can
hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" Keep this at
the forefront of your mind in regard to the whole issue of prayer.
brings us to point number 2-God is Omniscient. It means that God has
intimate and complete knowledge of EVERY situation that WILL happen -
that is, every single event in human history that will occur- God
knows. From eternity past, God knew. For Him, it is a completed
action already. So of course, as you acknowledged above, God already
knew who was in trouble and had a solution prepared, even before you
prayed (see the Isaiah passage above- God makes known the end from
Okay, so we
have an all-powerful, all-in-control God who knows every single
action that will occur in human history. So now we approach the issue
scripture we find prayer being a command- not once, but repeatedly
(i.e.- 1 Thess. 5:17). In Ephesians 6, I compare prayer to an open
line of communication between a soldier in the field and his/her
I am left to
conclude that prayer is not just a line of communication between you
and the Creator - not necessarily for the benefit of telling God what
you want, but for learning what God wants for you. Prayer, sincere
prayer - does avail the believer much. During prayer, your will, mind
and heart are focused toward God. A proper attitude in prayer is that
'Your will be done' (Matthew 6), not mine.
demonstrated how we are supposed to pray in Matthew 6:5-13:
when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for they love
to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the open
streets so that they may be seen of men. Truly I say to you, they
have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your room
and shutting your door, pray to your Father in secret. And your
Father seeing in secret will repay you in the open. But when you
pray, do not babble vain words, as the nations; for they think
that they shall be heard in their much speaking. Then do not be
like them, for your Father knows what things you have need of
before you ask Him. (vs. 5-8)
how NOT to pray here- vain repetitions (have your prayers become a
'cliché' or a little rhyme that you say, or are they sincere?
Are they for men's adoration or God's approval?). And of course, the
important factor- God already knows what you need before you ask Him.
With these things said, God in flesh sets out how we are to pray to
Him (my commentary follows each verse in red):
So, then, you
[should] pray this way: Our Father who is in Heaven, let be
sanctified Your name.
(hallow in the KJV) means to set apart something as holy and sacred.
Of course, high reverence for God brings this about in our speech and
our lives on a regular basis.
kingdom come; let Your will be done, as [it is] in Heaven,
also on the earth.
Key verse: we
should pray not that OUR will be done, but God's will be done. How
many times have we found ourselves praying for things which the Lord
eventually showed us were NOT within His will for us? James brings up
this very same point, with regard to boasting about what we will do
from day to day or year to year- "Come
now, those saying, Today or tomorrow we will go into this city, and
we will spend one year there, and we will trade and will make a
profit, who do not know of the morrow. For what [is] your
life? For it is a mist, which for a little [while] appears,
and then disappears. Instead of you saying, If the Lord wills, even
we will live, and we will do this or that; but now you boast in your
presumptions. All such boasting is evil.
Why is such
boasting evil? Simple- it assumes that YOU are in charge of your
destiny and not God. Such talk puts you in the place of God, saying
what you will do (or what you think you will do....). A
Godly attitude- obtained through prayer- acknowledges that God is
ultimately in charge, regardless of whatever choices we
Give us today
our daily bread,
good. Daily bread- enough to last a day and feed us - a
sufficient amount to survive and not be in need- should be
requested of God. The reason for this is simple- when we focus on
having excess (i.e.- people with more money than they can spend in
their lifetime who always want more), our focus is not on God. When
we have enough to take care of our needs and only request that much,
our focus can be pointed toward God without distraction.
us our debts as we also forgive our debtors.
simplified. We are to be imitators of God- God in Christ forgave us
(Eph. 4:32) and committed to us the ministry of reconciliation (2
Cor. 5:19-22). Therefore, we should forgive those who offend
And do not
lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil, for Yours is
the kingdom and the power and the glory to the ages. Amen.
As stated in
this entire commentary, the purpose of prayer is not to 'change God's
mind', but to bring us into conformity with His will for us. Prayer
is a tool of communication between God and us- simply because when we
pray and our prayers are focused upon God and upon His will for us
(not our will for Him), we will grow spiritually.
Copyright © by Theologically Correct dot Com | The Study Center All Right Reserved.