Do we really have some kind of control over circumstances by our prayers?
Exactly how do our prayers “influence” God to act if he is a God who never changes (Malachi 3:6)?
This post begins a three-part series on how our prayers align with God’s meticulous sovereignty. To set the stage, Part 1 sharpens our focus by drawing some boundaries around how we think about prayer. Part 2 offers reflections on divine providence as it pertains to human activity and sets forth a definition for God’s providence. Finally, Part 3 will draw out some practical implications from these observations.
Thinking about Prayer
- Prayer, at its most basic level, is an expression of our dependence upon God.
- Our purpose in prayer is to glorify God by seeing him actively accomplish his will here on earth. God, not us, must be the center focus of all our prayers and it is his will and not our own that we must pursue.
- Submission and solitude are essential ingredients in Jesus’ prayer life and should be in ours.
- Our intention in prayer should be that we recognize how God is working in and through circumstances, rather than merely change them.
- Thankfulness for God’s movement in the lives of our brothers and sisters allows us the opportunity to see God’s work in others and helps us avoid self-absorption.
- Prayer for knowing God better, gaining special insight into our eternal hope, and for power to live for God’s glory should govern all other requests.
- When we pray, we should emphasize a growing love for one another, pure and blameless living, and all that accommodates our maturity in Christ.
- A depth of insight into the limitless dimensions of Christ’s love for us can only be gained by prayer.
- God is more interested in us than in what we want and he occasionally denies our requests so that his glory and our good will be optimal.
How do these “boundaries” strike you? Are there others you would add or ones here that you would modify?