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Church Message
Does Prayer Really Make a Difference?
By Pastor Stuppy

Church sponsors2 24apr14Church message imageWhat is the will of God for our lives? If he knows everything that's going to happen, why should I pray? Can my prayers really change anything? After all, I'm only a sinful weak mortal being and God is wise and all knowing. Shouldn't I just forget about it and leave it up to the "Big Man upstairs"?

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that God's wisdom is complete, his power is unlimited, and that he knows not only the past but the present and future as well. He not only knows what is going on around us but inside of us. He knows our thoughts, desires, and intentions of our heart. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. Our God is truly an awesome God.

The Bible also tells us that God allows things to happen that are not his will. God didn't want Satan to rebel and end up in hell. While it was something that an all-knowing, omniscient God would know, it was not something that he planned, desired, or orchestrated. We could say the same thing about Adam and Eve's fall into sin. God knew it was going to happen but it was not God's will.

The passage that sums it up well is from Romans 11 (33-34). It says there, "Oh, the depths of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?"Who are we to tell God what to do? How can we expect to understand all that he does?

Yet these truths do not mean that the future is carved in stone like a book, already written, and yet to be read. Some believe that our future is not only known by God but cannot be changed. Some believe if you drop your pen or blink your eye, it was planned by God. It was his will. I don't believe that. There are many examples in Scripture that show us that our futures are not set in stone; that the decisions we make and the prayers we pray do work to change things.

When the children of Israel camped at the foot of Mt. Sinai waiting for Moses to bring down the Ten Commandments, they built an idol, a golden calf, and they worshiped it. God was furious and told Moses that he was going to destroy them. Moses interceded for them. He appealed to God's mercy, the promises he had made to Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. Then we are told that "the LORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened" (Ex 32:14). After Jonah preached to Nineveh and they repented, God did not destroy them as he had planned (Jonah 3:10).

There are other times when we see God's will or plans frustrated in the other direction. God desired that the people of Jerusalem repent but "they were not willing" (M 23:37). God didn't want Judas to betray him or Peter to deny him but it happened anyway. God wants all to be saved and none to perish (2 Tim 2:4) yet we know that many will reject God's invitation and end up in hell. That's not what God wants.

While God is omniscient and all powerful, while he knows the future as well as he knows the past, he invites us to pray and promises to hear us (Ps 50:15, Mt 6:7-8). He tells us that our prayers do work (Mt 18:19). So let us pray fervently, continually, always submitting our requests and plans to the review of our loving Father in heaven who knows what is best. "Not my will, but thine be done" (Mt 26:42).


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In brief 21aug14