Friday, June 17, 2011

Thoughtful God doesn't change

Or miss a deadline He made for Himself.


What I've been reading this week really answered my main questions about Prayer. "Does prayer really make a difference? Can I make God change His mind? Why pray if it doesn't change anything?"
The chapter I read is titled, "Sovereign: Does prayer change God's mind?". The author uses the example of when Moses intercedes for the Israelites and it appears that God 'repents'.

"And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”

But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, to whom you swore by your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your offspring, and they shall inherit it forever.’” And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people." Exodus 32:9-14

Read the story and it does sound like Moses had a lot of influence with the God of the universe. It's kinda scary. Just imagine, that if someone had enough faith, they would be able to stop God from doing something? Or make Him do something?

I never want to be able to do that with my prayers. I don't know what is the ultimate best for me. I can try to make wise decisions. But only someone who is omniscient (all-knowing) would know what the best course is.

The author goes on to say that he believes this is one of several examples of the Bible-writers using human figures of speech to try to describe God. One example being that God is a Spirit, but is said to have a hand, mouth, arm, heart and breath, all in Isaiah 40.

We see in the following verses...

God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19

And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or have regret, for he is not a man, that he should have regret.” 1 Samuel 15:29

...that God does not change His mind, like a man.
So where does this leave us?

In "Drive-by Theology" with Todd Friel and Pastor R W Glenn, the topic of God's unchangeability  came up. I was very interested to hear how they explained it. 'Pastor Smarty-pants' (R W Glenn) shared his belief that God's nature does not change. Which leaves room for Him to change His mind, technically. Sounds alright. But we do have the two verses above saying that He doesn't even change His mind. So...

I'm sure I could study this for a very long time and not get to the bottom of it. It's one of those things like the Trinity and election/freewill. I'm not going to break my head over it.

God is omniscient (All-knowing), omnipotent (All-powerful), and sovereign (in control) over all things. Including our prayers. Could it be that, along with the decisions we make, the actions we take, our prayers are even directed by God? I like to say yes. If he is indeed sovereign, we do nothing apart from His directing it. Even our next heartbeat, our next blink is caused by Him. I know it's hard to believe that God causes all things when we think of all the bad things that happen in the world. I don't claim to like it or understand it. But I do take great comfort in the fact that Someone has control and that Someone is Good.

So what were the answers to my questions?

Does prayer really make a difference?
Prayer does make a difference. Even if I don't know how.

Can I make God change His mind?
No, I can't make God change His mind. And that's a good thing.

Why pray if it doesn't change anything?
Because God uses my prayers to make a difference in me.

I'm satisfied with those answers for now. And I'm experiencing a better prayer life because of it. : )


  1. Explode! Too...Much...To...Think...About!!
    Great post :)

  2. And I just scratched the surface...


  3. I know! That's why it makes your head explode! That's not even a fraction of it!

  4. I agree with "The Fowler Family"..... Ouch. But you did an excellent job, Sunny. Keep it up!