Does Prayer Actually Change Things? And Can Prayer Really Change God’s Mind? By lofradio Jun 10, 2010 / 11 Comments Tweet https://thelineoffire.org/shows/line_of_fire_06_10_10_hr1.mp3
Does Prayer Actually Change Things? And Can Prayer Really Change God’s Mind?
Actually prayer,itself,really can’t do anything, but it’s the God you pray to that can….God is sovereign. He can and will do what is best, but He is also a compassionate God, who loves His people very much and if our requests are inline with Him and our motives are pure in His sights, yes we can change His mind…
Joel 2 has a great teachable knowledge about the heart of God in this matter. It reads,
Joel 2:12 That is why the Lord says,“Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. 13 Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.
14 Who knows? Perhaps he will give you a reprieve,
sending you a blessing instead of this curse. Perhaps you will be able to offer grain and wine
to the Lord your God as before.
This passage is obviously about a passing and future judgement, but if we only skim the surface of this passage we miss God’s heart in it. The principle meaning is, if we purely seek and obey God, it will result in a favorable result.
I haven’t heard the show yet, but I am reminded of 2nd Kings chapter 20 when God adds 15 years to Hezekiah’s life.
2 Kings 20:5-6 (NKJ)
Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father:
“I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD.
And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David”
Now, that is powerful!
I think Dr. Myles Munroe’s book on Prayer will really help you understand prayer. It really answers the question, “If God can do anything, why do we need prayer?”
Whenever God speaks, He Himself is willfully obligated to obey His own Words. Therefore, any law of God is a law to God. He is faithful to His Word as all costs. This being understood, we can appreciate the implications and impact of these initial words spoke by the Creator at man’s creation: “Let them have dominion over the earth” (gen 1:26)
Please note that He did not say, “Let us,” but rather “Let them.” With this statement, God created seven primary laws:
*The legal authority to dominate earth was given to mankind only
*God did not include Himself in the legal authority structure over the earth
*Man became the legal steward of the earth domain
*Man is a spirit with a physical bodyl therefore, only spirits with a physical body can legally function in the earth realm.
*Any spirit without a body is illegal on earth.
*Any influence or interference from the supernatual realm on earth is only legal through mankind.
God Himself, who is a Spirit without a physical body, made Himself subject to this law.
The following are the results of these laws, which were established by God Himself:
*The legal authority on earth is in the hands of human-kind
*The Creator, because of His integrity, will not violate the law of His Word
*Nothing will happen in the earth realm without the active or passive permission of man, who is its legal authority
*The Creator and the heavenly beings cannot interfere in the earth realm without the cooperation or permission of mankind.
*God must obtain the agreement and cooperation of a person for whatever he desires to do in the earth.
These principles are critical for understanding the nature, power, and purpose. It is from these precpets that we get our definition of prayer.
WHAT IS PRAYER?
*Prayer is man giving God the Legal right and permission to interfere in earth’s affairs.
*Prayer is man giving heaven earthly license to influence earth.
*Prayer is a terrestrial license for a celestial interference
*Prayer is man exercising his legal authority his legal authority on to invoke heaven’s influence on the planet.
These definitive aspects of prayer may be a little shocking to man, but a closer study will better explain many statements made in the Scriptures as they relate to heavenly activities on the Earth.
II Chron 7:14
Luke 18: 1-2
Eph 6: 17-18
I Thess. 5: 16-19
Matt 16: 19-20
Careful biblical study of God’s dealing with mankind and the earth revels that He did nothing on earth without the cooperation of a person.
Every action taken by God in the earth realm required the involvment of a human being. To rescue humanity in the Flood, He needed Noah. For the creation of a nation, he needed Abraham. To lead the nation of Israel, He needed Moses. To bring back Israel from captivity, He needed Daniel. To defeat Jericho, He needed Joshua. For the preservation of the Hebrews, he needed Ester. For the salvation of man-kind, He needed to become a man.
As John Wesley once said, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.”
Prayer is therefore not an option for mankind but a necessity. If we don’t pray, heaven cannot interfere in earth’s affairs. it is imperative that we take responsibility for the earth and determine what happens here by our prayers.
Remember Jesus great prayer request when He was ask by His disciples how man should pray. (Matt. 6:9-11)
Heaven needs you to give it license to impact earth. You can make a difference and change the course of history if you will just understand the purpose and power of prayer.
I struggle with the whole idea of having to keep on asking God for the same thing until it happens. That seems to be taught by the parables of the persistent friend [Luke 11] and the persistent widow [Luke 18], although the time frame in those stories may have been short and sweet. So it was in the real cases of Bartimeaus and the Canaanite woman.
Smith Wigglesworth I think it was who said that if you ask God for anything say ten times, you must have done so at least nine of them in unbelief! This would rule out repetition as unnecessary. Jesus taught that the Father knows our need before we ask. Should we make a specific request to God and then simply trust his faithfulness without badgering him. I would prefer my kids to do that as a human father, but I’m not God!
It’s common for us as believers to think and act as if the more prayer support we can galvinise the more likely God will be persuaded to meet our need. Is God equivalent to a politician who responds to the pressure of public opinion or a gracious Father who focuses on each of his children as his favourite?
A.W. Tozer(Knowledge of the Holy) Chapter 6; The self-sufficiency Of God
Almighty God, just because He is almighty, needs no support. The picture of a nervous, ingratiating God fawning over men to win their favor is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God that is precisely what we see. Twentieth century Christianity has put God on charity. So lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it quite easy, not to say enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God. But the truth is that God is not greater for our being, nor would He be less if we did not exist. That we do exist is altogether of God’s free determination, not by our desert nor by divine necessity.
Probably the hardest thought of all for our natural egotism to entertain is that God does not need our help. We commonly represent Him as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world, but, as said the Lady Julian, “I saw truly that God doeth all-thing, be it never so little.” The God who worketh all things surely needs no help and no helpers.
The Sovereignty of God
Furthermore, His sovereignty requires that He be absolutely free, which means simply that He must be free to do whatever He wills to do anywhere at any time to carry out His eternal purpose in every single detail without interference. Were He less than free He must be less than sovereign.
To grasp the idea of unqualified freedom requires a vigorous effort of the mind. We are not psychologically conditioned to understand freedom except in its imperfect forms. Our concepts of it have been shaped in a world where no absolute freedom exists. Here each natural object is dependent upon many other objects, and that dependence limits its freedom.
This is way to long, sorry!
Jesse, If God is God, then He can do what He wants to. God has never said, I will limit myself… The tower of Babel is a perfect passages that shows, God will act without mans permission…
Anyone that is truly saved knows prayer makes a difference and it can chage things.When we prayed for repentence and asked God to come into our lives,God changed us.We knew from the beginning that prayer works.Even the unsaved pray.They believe in times of trouble in thier lifes or at least they want to believe.
I understand the Sovereignty of God. He is a just judge, He is the final authority, and His Divine judgment is seen through out The Word when it comes to sin. Should we use the Tower of Babel as an excuse not pray? If God is in full control, then why pray?
Let me expound a bit.
Although God is the creator, He has always emphasized that he is man’s Father. It wasn’t His desire to be promarily thought of as an awesome God or a “consuming fire” (Duet 4:24) God wants us to approach Him as a child would a loving father. (Duet 32:6) (Ps. 103:13)
Man was created out of the essence of God, yet is always dependent on God as his Source. As human being, we are not self-sufficient, even though we would like to think we are. We cannot reveal God’s image and likeness apart from a relationship with Him in fellowship. I JN 4:16. No human being is going to be truly satisfied with life untill he or she loves God. God must have the primary place in our lives because we were designed to find fullfillment and ultimate meaning in Him.
God created humanity to carry out His purpose in the earth. This is mankinds promary vocation. When God created man in His image, He gave him a free will. In this way, man was given the ability to plan and make decisions, and then take action to fulfill those plans, just as God sis in creating the world. Man was meant to carry out God purposes for the earth using his own will and initiative. He was to reflect the God who plans in advance and carries out His plans through creative acts
How was humanity to fulfill this vocation? Read Gen 1:26-28
God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and LET THEM RULE [have dominion]” Gen 1:26) Amazingly, mas was created not only to have a relationship with God, but also to share God’s authority. (Ps. 8:6)(Ps 115:16)
How did God enable man to rule the earth? We know that He created mankind out of His own essence, which is spirit. Yet since mankind needed to be able to rule in the physical realm of earth, God then gave humanity physical bodies manifested in two genders – male and female. (Gen 1:27). The word “man” in the 26, 27 verses of Gen 1 refers to the species that God made, the spirit being called “man,” which include both male and female. This mean that the purpose of dominion was given to both men and women.
The account of the creation of mankind shows us that God never desired or intended to rule the earth by Himself. Why? It is because “God is love” (I John 4:8, 16), and love doesn’t think in those terms. A selfish person wants all glory, all the credit, all the power, and all the authority, all the rights, amd all the privileges. But a person of love wants others to share in what He has. It is crucial for us to understand that the relationship of love that God established with mankind is not separate from the purpose God has for mankind. Rather, the relationship is foundational to the purpose; both are essential keys to prayer.
The earth is to be ruled over, taken care of, fashioned, and molded by the beings made in the image of their Creator. Man is meant to reflect the loving and creative Spirit of God.
God’s plan for creation was this: As God ruled the unseen realm in heaven, man would rule the visible realm on earth, with God and man enjoting continual communion through their spirit natures. In fact, God said something astounding about mankind, which is recorded is Ps. 82:6. God has made us in His likeness and given us free will as a reflection of His nature. He has created us to be His offspring. Therefore, He calls us “little gods”.
Now, this does not mean that we are equal to God or that we are deity. Adam and Eve could fulfill their purpose only if they were relying on, and in constant communication with, the God of the Garden. Similarly, we can function in the purpose for which we were created only as we areconected to the Source. However, we need to recognize the high esteem and purposes God has for us. God said to man, in essence, “Let Me rule through you so you can appreciate, enjoy, and share in My governance.
Why do we have to ask God to do what He has already determined to do? The answer relates to God’s faithfulness to His own Word and His integrity never to break that Word – because His Word is His name; it is who He is. He said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule [have domnion] over all the earth (Gen 1:26) When God gave man man dominion, He gave him the freedom to legally function as the authority on this planet. In this way, He placed His will for the earth on the cooperation of the will of man. God did not change this purpose when mankind fell, because His purposes are eternal (Ps 33:11).
Christ became the Second Adam and redeemed mankind so that humanity might be fully restored to a relationship of love with God and participation in His purpose for the earth. Yet even before God’s plan of redemption was fully accomplished in Christ, God uses humans to fulfill His will. We see this truth worked out in the lives of Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, Daniel, and many others. God continued to work with mankind to fulfill His purposes on earth even though man’s part was now limited by his sin and lack of understanding of God’s ways.
Therefore, our need for prayer is a result of the way God arranged dominion and authrority for the earth. God made the world. Then He made men and women and gave them domnion over all the works of His hand. Man was created to be the “god” of this world. He was given full authority in the earth realm, and God will not supercede that authority. This means that when God said, “Let them rule …. over all the earth,” He is ordering the dominion of the world in such a way as to make the rule of humans essential for the accomplisment of His purpose. He causes things to happen on earth when men and women are in agreement with His will. Prayer, therefore, is essential for God’s will to be done in the earth. Since God never breaks His Word concerning how things are to work, prayer is mandatory (not optional) for the spiritual progress and victory in our indivdual lives and in the world at large.
God’s plan is for man to desirewhat He desires, to will what He wills, and to ask Him to accomplish His purposes in the world so that goodness and truth may reignon the earth rather than evil and darkness. In this sense, prayer is man giving God the freedom to intervene in earth’s affairs.
God gave Humanity a vast amount of freedom and authority on earth. Yet these gifts were dependent on man’s using his will to do the will of God. How did rebellion come about? Satan tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God, and they chose to agree with his purpose rather than with God’s. In doing so, mankind sinned and cut off communion with God. Humanity no longer agreed with God to fulfill His purpose for earth, leaving the world at the mercy of a renegade authority that no longer had God’s best interests in mind. In fact, man forfeited his authority to Satan, whom they had chosen to serve in place of God. That meant that the Fall introduced a new a ruler on earth – one bent on its destruction rather than its growth in godliness and fruitfulness. Because Satan usurped mankind’s authority on earth, The apostle Paul referred to him as “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4-4) Satan’s rule is for a short time, an age, a specific period of time. God’s rule is eternal.
We have seen God’s purposes are eternal and that He had a plan in place since the foundation for restoration of mankind. Note that this restoration, which involved defeating Satan and sin, was accomplished in line with God’s principles. His purpose never changed. God’s plan was not to come down and wrench control of the earth back from Satan. He COULD have done that, but He never would have done that. Why? It would have been inconsistent with the integrity of HIS character and His purpose. If He had done that, Satan could have accused Him of doing what he had done – usurping (seize hold by force or without right) the authority that had been given to man in creation.
The heart of prayer is asking God to intervene in the world to fulfill His eternal p for mankind purposes. We are to pray to God on on the basis of His Word – the revelation of who He is, what His will is, and what He has promised. Neither man nor the world will function properly or fulfill their potential outside of god’s will – because they were designed to function in alignment with God’s purpose. True prayer is calling forth what God has already purposed and predestined – the establishment of His plan for the earth. That means that whatever we ask God to do in our lives, in the lives of others, or in the world, must be based on His will. God’s purpose is to be both the motivation and the content for our prayers. In other words – God’s purpose is the “raw material” of prayer.
Prayer is –
1. an expression of mankind’s unity and relationship of love with God.
2. An expression of mankind’s affirmation of and praticipation in God’s purpose for the earth.
Jumping in to some of the comments that God cannot do anything on earth without our license via prayer . . . over and over again I read in the Bible that, regardless of man’s sinful state (where prayer is probably not happening), He will interecede, redeem, rescue, etc. Isaiah 57:17 and 18 were very significant in my understanding of the God that was pursuing me – “(s)he kept on in his (her) sinful ways . . . but I will heal him (her).” Perhaps that is not the context of this thread but I don’t believe we can take an all or nothing stance – you pray, God can work; you don’t pray, God can’t work. And, if we sometimes acknowledge that “I pray, God doesn’t work”, then why is it not possible that “I don’t pray, God works”?
I would like to take the thought further . . . if God can only work if someone prays, then to get Him to really pull off a big one, we need to have people all over the world praying. I’m being a bit facetious, however, it has come to my mind, as I hear people say that so and so was healed because people all over the world were praying, to wonder what about the unfortunate person who only has one pray-er praying for him. Is there any point? And if he is not healed . . . what conclusion could be drawn about how many pray-ers are needed for God to hear?
That prayer is communication with God is correct, and that through that communication there is affect in our lives and in the world around us, absolutely. Are we exhorted to pray without ceasing, told that we don’t have because we don’t ask, validated in that the fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much? Yes, yes and yes. But that is not the whole megilah – God is still a mystery and has shown Himself able to interecede and act above and beyond what we can ask or imagine. And I am glad for it . . . it lets me off the hook of thinking it’s all up to me!
For the record, I am not against prayer ministry, prayer teams, prayer chains, etc . . . this is an expression of some of what I have been working through in my world where results don’t always look like what I have been told they should look like because of how prayer “works”.
Blessings . . .
I am extremely thankful for the gift of prayer. Thank God for this mysterious and powerful tool.
Some thoughts emerged after hearing Dr. Brown’s thought-provoking questions on prayer (I’ve asked similar questions over the years). Hoping that dear ones will be strengthened and encouraged.
We really don’t know what to pray for. God alone knows what the real problems are, what the real solutions are, and how to act to achieve those solutions. And, of course, He alone has the power to make those changes, and He alone knows when the time is right.
It’s impossible that the Creator and Sustainer of the universe would be waiting for us to pray in order to bring about changes. Does a good parent wait until her three-year old asks for a bath, or would she bathe him at the right time whether he asks or not? And what if he asks for good food, but too much of it? Would Mom feed him to the point of obesity? Even before her child asks for something, she’s working on his behalf so that he’ll have what he needs at the right time. Sometimes it may seem to him that his request is instantaneously answered, but there are other times that he has to wait.
God, being a supernaturally superior parent, knows exactly what to do and when to do it. Therefore, it seems that the exhortation to pray is not to “change God’s mind” – but to demonstrate our own changed minds, and to point us always in His direction for requests for help, especially since, unfortunately, we tend to look to other people (or things) for help.
Like our dear brother, Dave, who called in to say that he spends a great deal of time in prayer every day and yet has not seen his family turn to faith, many of us wonder, “When, O God, when?” or even worse, “Will it ever happen?” We know that Abba hears us, and is answering. Through situations like this, we learn patience, and stay close with Him in prayer while He is in the process of answering those requests for changes that are not going to happen instantaneously. (Think of waiting for fruit to ripen.)
In the meantime, ask Him to help you wait patiently, and be sure to listen for His response. He wants to encourage and bless you!
Where can I get the book by Dr Myles Munroe called Prayer? How much does it cost?
Your assistance will be highly appreciated.
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