Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why Pray When Everything Happens As How God Determines?

            The question, “Why pray?” is so vital that if we do not have a reasonable answer, our prayer life may be weakened. Some of us may not have a reasonable answer to this question. Others may doubt the power of prayer because of the adversities that they have faced. Either which way, our spiritual life would crumble if our prayer is not effective.A

            Sincere Christians growing in their faith may have genuine questions. These questions should be reasonably answered to enable them to continue in their spiritual growth in Christ. So let us think through the question - Why should I pray? This question could be asked from various contexts.

            One such context is this: Why do I have to pray for my friend to believe in Christ when God knows whether or not my friend would believe in HIM? God knows, even before I pray, whether my friend would believe in Christ or not. So why should I pray?

            Another similar context is the prayer for deliverance. Only God knows whether or not I would be delivered from my suffering. Since God is the only one who has the power to deliver me, why waste time in prayer, when prayer will not play any definite role in my deliverance?

            Various contexts, such as this, could be offered to validate the question, “Why pray?”   

            Let us consider the instance of praying for a friend to believe in Christ. If we decide not to pray for our friend (because we know that our prayer will not bring about our friend’s conversion), then we are not being a genuine friend. More importantly, we need to know that our decision (or rebellion) to not pray stems out of a serious dissatisfaction in our finiteness as a human being. In other words, we want to be God (we want to know the future), this desire is subconsciously there in us, but we do not know the future (we cannot be God). Hence, in our anger and dissatisfaction, we refuse to pray.

            Conversion is effected by the activity of God (HE loved us and died for us) and man (he should freely believe in God). As a good friend, we may share the good news or testify about God and HIS goodness to our friend. We may even resolve his doubts. God will also do everything possible to draw our friend to HIMSELF. However, the decision to believe in God is our friend’s decision. We cannot force our friend to believe in Christ.

            We question the efficacy of prayer because we are ignorant of our friend’s future – whether or not he will believe in Christ. We are dissatisfied that we are not omniscient (omniscience is a necessary attribute of God and not man). We are dissatisfied that we are not God. Hence we refuse to pray for our friend.

            Think about this. Is this a good reason to not pray?

            No! We should pray. But why?

            First, we pray because we can ask for that which we need. Just as how a child requests a parent, we can ask our Heavenly Father. It’s our prerogative to ask and it’s God prerogative to answer. Second, we need to be humble enough to accept whatever God offers us, for we know that God is just, good and loving. Hence, HIS decisions are always correct.

            But you may still ask, “What would one learn here that otherwise would not be possible without prayer?”

            We pray to love, trust, and understand God in a growing measure. When we pray we get spiritually closer to God. Significantly, when we pray, we are at peace with God. We will be at peace with God even when our prayers are not answered or when things do not go our way (e.g. betrayal, death, joblessness etc) despite our fervent pleas. 

            But you may still ask, “Do our prayers of asking God to change the situation make any sense? How then should we pray? Moreover, how do the prayers in Old Testament make sense (e.g. 2 Samuel 12:16)?

            Yes, it does make sense to ask God to change the situation, for no one wants to exist in an adverse situation. Even the second person of the blessed Trinity, the Son, asked the first person of the blessed Trinity, the Father, to change HIS situation, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me…” (Luke 22:42, NIV).

            The second part of this verse offers an answer to the question, “How should we pray?” The second part of Luke 22:42 states, “…yet not my will, but yours be done.” So let us pray for God’s will to be done and let us pray according to the will of God, “And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” (1 John 5:14, RSV, Emphasis Mine).

            (This does not mean that God does not hear any prayer that is not offered according to HIS will, for God, as an omniscient being, knows what we will say, even before we say it.) 

            How do we make sense of the prayers in the Old Testament? Consider the prayer of David in 2 Samuel 12, “…the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.” (v15b, 16, Emphasis Mine). David’s understanding of God was impeccable in this instance.

            David prayed to God for seven days for the healing of his child. God refused to heal the child. The child died. David’s response to his child’s death was fascinating, for he submitted himself to God’s will, “On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”” (2 Samuel 12: 18-23, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            So let us pray continually. There is nothing wrong in asking, so let us ask God, according to HIS will. Ask God to spiritually enrich our life, and God will certainly do it, for this is God’s will that we know, love, and grow in HIM. But if we ask God to enable us to be the next Billy Graham or a famous Christian evangelist, HE need not fulfill our request. This request need not be according to God’s will.

            Finally, there’s a problem with my title, “Why pray when everything happens as how God determines?” My title is incorrect because God does not determine everything that happens in this world. It is not difficult for God to not control everything. God, who is maximally great, is all-powerful, so God can control everything. But God refrains from controlling everything that happens in our universe.

            For instance, it is my decision to write this blog now. (Of course, I cannot write this blog unless God blesses it. I need to live, be sane, and have a fair amount of understanding of the Scripture to write this blog. My life, my sanity, and my understanding of the Scripture are God’s blessings in my life.) I could have written this blog later, but I decided to write now. Similarly, you are reading this blog out of your own freewill. (It is also our decision to not smoke, drink or to steal. We can go on and on.)

             Last but not the least; we have an adversary – the Satan, who tempts us. However, prayer is the God given means to overcome temptation (Matthew 26:41). When we pray fervently, God will strengthen us to overcome our temptations (Hebrews 2:18) and HE will enable us to cast Satan out of our lives (Mark 9:29).

Endnotes:

A What is an effective prayer? A person’s prayer would be effective, if he/she places absolute trust in God. When a child asks or pleads with the father, the child believes that the father has the ability and the power to provide. In other words, if the child doubts the father, then the intensity of his request would be weak.

Think about this, a weak request is not a genuine request; a weak request is a disingenuous request. A disingenuous request (a request that is not genuine) need not be requested, because our request is to God, who is the maximally great being (all-knowing & all-powerful). (Since God knows that our request is not genuine, HE need not answer our request.)  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Miraculous Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, you who makes me see everything and shows me the way to reach my ideal, you who gives me the divine gift to forgive and forget all the wrong that is done to me and you who are in all instances of my life with me. I, in this short dialogue, want to thank you for everything, and affirm once more that I never want to be separated from you no matter how great the material desires may be. I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. To that end and submitting to God’s holy will, I ask form you… (mention your favour). Amen


This prayer should be said for 3 consecutive days. After the 3rd day, your sincere wish will be granted no matter how difficult it may be. Promise to offer thanksgiving by sharing it and expressing it on granting of your favour. The idea is to spread the wonder of the Holy Spirit.