God Is Sovereign ... So Why Pray?

A friend told me recently, “Ok, I’ll pray, but I’m not sure why. God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do.” Her words made me think (and study)!

I have no problem believing that God is sovereign. All things are under His rule and control. Nothing can happen without His direction or permission, and nothing takes Him by surprise. I believe this, because the scriptures are clear (Ps. 115:3; 135:6). God decides what He will do, and then He does it.

God is sovereign because it is part of who He is, but He also is sovereign in practice. God does or accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11). We might make plans, but God’s counsel still stands (Prov. 19:21; 2 Kings 19:25; Dan. 4:35); and there is nothing that can thwart His will (Isa. 46:11b).

So if God is sovereign, why should we bother to pray?
(1) We pray because God instructed us to pray; it is His will that we come to Him with our praise, requests, and intercession. Jesus taught His disciples to pray (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8; 22:40); and the apostles taught the early Church to pray (Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; Eph. 6:18-19a; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:1). Prayer is a matter of obedience.

(2) We pray because God uses prayer to accomplish His eternal purposes. Our part is to pray in confident faith. An example of this is shown in Genesis 20, when God told King Abimelech, “[Abraham] is a prophet, and he will pray for you, and you will live” (Gen. 20:2, 7, 17). God used Abraham's prayers. God also promised to restore His people in response to their prayers (Jer. 29: 11-14).

(3) We pray because we are to be imitators of Jesus (1 John 2:6), and Jesus was a man of prayer (Matt. 14:23; 26:39-44; Mark 1:35; 14:35-39; Luke 5:16; 6:12; 9:28; 22:41-45; John 17; Heb. 7:25). God desires to conform us to the image of Christ, and part of that conforming is to follow Jesus’ example in prayer for the Father's will.

(4) We pray because God has the authority and power to answer us, and furthermore, He does answer prayer. He tells us to ask, see, and knock because He responds (Matt. 7:7)—we can expect Him to respond (James 5:16b; 4:2b). God rewards our perseverance in prayer (Luke 11:5-10). Prayer is a precious privilege, and the Father delights in blessing His children as they pray (Luke 11:11-13).

So then, God may prompt us to pray in His sovereignty, but we must choose to pray as a matter of submissive obedience, faith and rest in His purposes, following the example of Christ, and fervent expectation for God to work.

Are you a bold warrior of prayer? Andree Seau's words made me examine my prayer requests: "Two Obstacles to God-Honoring Prayer".


Marja said...

Thank you Dawn, for a very helpful post!!! I have had the same kind of thoughts on prayer lately and your post really helps to put things in perspective! I'm gonna save this post for future reading. Great teaching!

Dawn Wilson said...

Thank you, Marja. God bless you in your writing ministry.