Does Prayer Change God's Mind?
welcome to this episode of real Christianity my name is Dale Partridge reach week I offer 15 to 20-minute answers to tough the illogical and pastoral question this is 100% listener supported audio Ministry of relearn. Org and for those who don't know our mission a tree learn.org is to educate and equip ordinary Christians to plant biblical confessional and missional house churches for more information just visit relearn. Org forward slash house all right so got a important question for you guys today when we pray are we persuading God I do our prayers change God's Will and what is the bible teach about prayer and how do I prayers affect God's response
 these are important questions we're going to unpack these and just a moment but before we begin I want to make just two short announcements never one is if you are interested in planting a Biblical House Church let's just say that you're somebody that is had some basic Ministry experience you know the word of God you maybe have maybe you are a pastor or have thought about being a pastor or maybe you feel the calling of a beat Apache blood some Bible studies in the past but you feel like the Lord might be leading you to plant and establish a house Church in your home with five to seven families that are gathering weekly on Sunday to Worship the Lord in order in alignment with historical evengelical Christianity if you want to learn more about how to do that you just feel unequipped it were not prepared or insecure about what it takes to actually pastor and understand
 the ecclesiological structure of a church considered checking out saying Justin's. Org and this is our companion Ministry of four wheeler. Org it is a one-year training program on the basics of understanding biblical House Church we go through ecclesiology we go through hermeneutics and biblical Theology and preaching in the qualifications of Elders in church government in biblical Counseling in discipleship and worshipping we talk about these things and it's an it's I would say it's a pretty rigorous program we have a handful of other a PhD faculty they're going to be teaching alongside me and it's just a great program and we have limited space but if you're interested in checking it out of learning more or registering for the program maybe later just checking check it out Steve Justin's. Org to learn more about that next thing I wanted
 real quick is if you maybe aren't that far in the journey but you are interested in exploring more about House Church and what that looks like we have lots of resources at relearn. Or you can read all the different articles that we have and we have people that are writing an offering great content for you there we also have great PDFs that you can download the basics of biblical House Church we offer a book called House Church at the top of the doctrines convictions and Liturgy of a Biblical House Church lots of resources for you to start the discussion in your home with a few families about what it takes to gather biblically but also intimately inside of a house hopefully that's helpful let's go to this episodes question it comes from Aleister in Oxford England that is a very English name I like it he says
 I have recently come to understand a more biblical view of the sovereignty of God I also know that man cannot change or influence God's will Isaiah 14 27 says for the Lord of hosts has purposed and who will annul it his hand has stretched out and who will turn it back Proverbs 19:21 says many are the plans in the mind of a man but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand he says if we cannot change God's mind or will then what's the purpose of Prayer
 okay this is a great question Alistair and a lot of people don't get this far in their theological thinking but we know that Jesus says that the first and greatest commandment love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind and so we're going to dive into some mental understanding of prayer and so this is actually a common question for those who are new to the biblical doctrine of God's sovereignty basically and if I'm hearing you correctly Alistair you're asking if God is Sovereign and works all things according to his will a fusions 111 you can check that out and is truly omniscient meaning that he knows all things 1st John 3:20 and if Matthew you know 68 is true which reads for your father knows what you need before you even ask him
 if all these things are so why should we pray and you know if we choose to pray how could our prayers have any influence in God's Sovereign plan in the world so that this is this is really important stuff here so before I answer that I think I just would be helpful to briefly Define prayer about a year ago during one of my Seminary classes I had to read a fascinating book titled calling on the name of the Lord a Biblical Theology of prayer it's by Gary Miller and D A Carson for those who don't know prayer the act of prayer was birthed early in the Bible in Genesis 4:25 in 26 read a passage that says and Adam knew his wife again and she bore a son and called his name Seth for she said quote God has appointed for me another Offspring instead of Abel 4K
 killed him for 26 to Seth also a son was born and he called his name enosh at that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord okay so the question we need to ask is why did people begin calling upon the name of the Lord well in Genesis 3 15 just a chapter earlier God told Eve that through her she would bear a son who would overcome the effects of the serpent and restore them back to God this promise is it's called the Proto evangelism it's two Greek words the meaning Proto for first and eventually end for the good news though it's the first good news if you want to get into the theological vernacular there anyways Eve's sons Cain and Abel work we're gone right Abel was killed by Cain & Cain was banished so no son was there to fulfill
 promise that God gave to Eve so it's likely that he's thought when she was pregnant with Seth that Seth would be the promised serpent Crusher that God spoke up but after it became evident that Seth was infected with sin just like her and Adam were they likely look to enosh princess son but again he was a sinner just like them and so what so what do they do well that's where you get the verse that says they began calling upon the name of the Lord and this is important because here we get a biblical definition of prayer prayer is calling upon God to fulfill his promises are still but he said he would do and this is actually the theme that scary throughout the scriptures it's it's it's only later in the Bible that God introduces
 and approves the prayer of petition and supplication but even those types of prayers are still to occur in an alignment and I would say it's a mission to God's will in this is why we have versus like 1st John 5-14 that says and this is the confidence that we have told him that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us or James 423 that you do not have because you do not ask and you ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend it on your passions and others up that the way to ask to be within God's will now get on a rabbit Trail here off of your question Alistair you know I want to get to the to the root of the question but I do want you to all know that according to the Bible prayer is calling upon God to do what his promise to do what his word promises he will do so I'm going to say that
 play recording the Bible is calling upon God to do what his word promises he will do and this is why praying that God would give me to approve your credit card application so that you can buy that new jet ski for the summer is a non biblical prayer you know God's word speaks and it never promises to provide material Comfort to his children and in that way but when you pray for say courage in a time of persecution or that the Lord would make a way for you to feed your family these are valid because the scripture speak to both courage and meeting the basic human needs at the Saints prayer
 that that's within God's will because it's revealed in God's word typically has to do with a request of timing so it's not about what it's really about when you know you might pray that God brings Justice to the situation quickly right and we know that God is a God of Justice if you know you know we know that that Justice will come we know that vengeance is his but we are basically petitioning that he brings it now but but at the same time submitted to the timing of his perfect will but again we could Rabbit Trail they're pretty easily so look into the core of the question does prayer change God's mind I like what RC Sproul wants
 he says this prayer change God's mind no but does Prayer Changes Things yes so prayer is much like preaching in evangelizing does preaching and evangelizing safe people know God Saves people humans can preach all day but only God can generate spiritual rebirth and give a person a new heart we can't give people Newhart's if we could every parent on the planet would give their children saved Hearts but we can't we can't do that God has to do that and this is actually why Paul says in 1st Corinthians 3:5 through 7 what then is Apollo's what is Paul servants the servants whom you believed as the Lord assigned to each I planted Apollos watered but God gave the increase so neither him or either he who
 Glassdoor he Waters his anyting but only God who gives the increase basically preaching and evangelism are the means by which God uses to accomplish his ends which is salvation okay want you to pay attention to this idea here for second preaching in evangelism or the means by which God uses to accomplish his ends in Salvation so prayer Falls of the same theological Paradigm and let me explain if God willed my three-year-old son to stand on a 5 ft tall box he would also have two will that Veronica or myself would lift him up and place him on that bar essentially God doesn't just predestined or will the ends but he also predestined and wills the means so we would have to
 be a part of that accomplishment he would use us to pick our son up and put them on the box that that's kind of a weird exclamation but I'm hoping that's helpful for you guys so so God in a beautiful way has integrated our prayers into his Providence so for example When you pray for a woman and her child to be safe on a certain night and let's say God clearly answers that prayer he not only will that woman and child safety but also your prayer for that child's safety or that woman that child safety now you might be thinking well if God's will is going to be no pass regardless then why should I pray there's three reasons then I'll give you their problem anymore but the first is basically what we just discussed God in his grace
 has allowed us to participate in his Providence through prayer and that in itself is just a blessing so we need to recognize that second is the god commands that we pray and that's there's well over a hundred times in the scriptures and the New Testament alone that are talking about just the command to pray you know. It's for 6 don't be anxious for anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God 1st Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing James 5:16 therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for winter that you may be healed the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working so yes never one is that we get to participate in the Providence of God by being the means to accomplish God's ends second is it at the command of scripture so it's a matter of obedience third
 prayer is the means by which God has made us made for us to commune with him it is a relational element right if if the Lord is spiritual food then prayer is the fork and knife by which we consume it okay that's a weird thing to say to but I I thought it was good when I wrote it and you know it's the means by which our relationship is nurtured okay it's the means of prayer is this spiritual discipline by which our relationship has nurtured the the you know the Wonder of early 20th Century Theaters in Jerry Bridges he wants said prayer is the most tangible
 expression of trust in God John Bunyan said something great he said prayer opens the heart to God and it's the means by which the soul do empty is filled with God so prayer basically Alistair is a multi-dimensional spiritual discipline and at the core it's calling upon God to fulfill what he promised to do through his word and our prayers don't change God's mind but they are the means by which God uses to fulfill his will in the world just like preaching is the means to bring about salvation faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God we need a preacher to hear it but we're not the ones that do it we're the ones that water we're not the ones that bring the increase the same thing with prayer as it were a part of this journey got integrated our prayers in his Providence that we we are
 part of God's will he didn't just will that the thing happened that the prayer was answered but he also will that we would pray for that too and so does a beautiful massive big God theology required understand this
 and so getting our prayers are changed out to mine but they're the means by which God uses to fulfill his will in the world and lastly prayers a command and the vehicle by which we commune with God it's an important aspect that we that we have to to to be in relationship with God now I know this is a heavy heavy question so I have a resources that you can find on the post page for this episode you can just go to relearn. Org this is episode 104 titled does prayer change God's mind and so on
 a couple things one you can get the book calling upon the name of the Lord by Gary Miller another great resource in the Great Book it's probably one of the greatest books written on this topic it's titled evangelism & the sovereignty of God by j.i. Packer and I really recommend picking up a copy of that or listening to it the audio it's a heady book but it explains the concept of means and ends and how we are used in God's sovereignty as the means to accomplish the end in evangelism and preaching and in prayer so that'll be a helpful tool for you again. You are available at realtor.org just search for episode 104 titled does God artist prayer change God's mind I hope it was helpful for your Alistair guys if your regular listen to the show thank you and if you guys would be so kind to just grab your phone right now and just go to the iTunes app or the podcast app on your phone
 tap the stars and rate the show for us those except those ratings are they really do help the exposure of the show many people find real Christianity and his podcast in our ministry because people have left word to use you don't even need a ride anything but if you write something I will read it so thank you guys for joining us today on this episode of real Christianity my name is Dale Partridge and we will see you next week
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