Why Do We Pray? 2 – To Change God?

Posted: March 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Prayer | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Why Do We Pray? 2 – To Change God?

It’s an interesting question when you think about it. As Christians, do we pray in order to change God’s mind or actions about something? Sometimes, I think it can seem that way. We may not want to express it that bluntly, but in practice is that not often the case?

However, I perceive several issues with that train of thought. First, that was the purpose of prayer to many ancient gods. A prayer would often begin with many flowery titles for the god — trying to gain the god’s attention in a positive way. The request would be repeated over and over in an attempt to make sure the god heard it. We’re actually explicitly told by Jesus in the Gospels that we are not to pray in that manner. We are told God knows what we all need and that he hears all our prayers. We don’t need to appease him or gain his attention.

Moreover, if I can change the attitude of God toward something or someone, then that necessarily implies that someone else might be able to change God’s attitude toward me. Think about that one for a minute. I don’t think we really want a changeable god.

God is faithful and consistent. He treats us all with love. Period. God doesn’t change, though we do.

Finally, it seems to me that a God who can be changed by our prayers is too small a God to be worth worshiping.  In the prayer Jesus gave us, we ask that God’s will be done on earth as it is heaven. Certainly we are to participate in bringing that prayer to fruition, but we are not trying to change God in that prayer. We are asking to change creation.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
Hallowed by the they name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
Amen.

 


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