If God Is Sovereign, Why Should We Pray? (Matthew 6:9)
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I fall into the bad habit of thinking: “If God is sovereign, why should we pray?” It isn’t necessarily a conscious thought I have, but a subconscious doubt that I occasionally operate out of.
For example, right now, I’m praying for a couple going through a sudden divorce. I’m praying for a friend whose family member is missing. I’m praying for another friend who is caught up in a prodigal daughter type situation and causing her family pain. And another friend just discovered her mom was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
I know my will for each of these situations—reconciliation, discovery, reunion, healing—but what of God’s will? And if His will prevails, then why even pray for what I want? Why does it matter? Does it matter?
It does—and we know that through Scripture.
Here’s a great, encouraging quote from well-known pastor John Piper. “God doesn’t plan the world, and then wonder if anybody’s going to pray for part of his plan to be changed. He plans the world, and part of his planning for the world is the praying of his people for what he plans to do.”
Meaning, God plans our prayers. He isn’t waiting for us to try to change His mind, rather, He uses our prayers to accomplish His planned purposes. He invites us into the process of answered prayers, rather than shove us out of the way to do His will.
He did the same with Peter. Luke 22:31-32 (ESV) “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” God planned for Peter to deny Jesus, and God planned for Jesus’ prayer for Peter to turn Peter back. I love the word “when” in that last verse. Not if—when. It’s a world of difference, and there’s so much rich theology packed into that little phrase.
Here are a few more things to remember about prayer that might help us when we doubt. Namely, that prayer is a command in the Bible—one we’re to obey. To disobey in this area would be a sin. And secondly, the Bible tells us that we have not because we ask not. (James 4:2b) We’re encouraged to ask! If it were pointless, this wouldn’t be a repeat theme in Scripture.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is our key verse, Matthew 6:9. The word hallowed here means to make holy. Jesus gave us instructions on how to pray and the very beginning of that example starts with beseeching God to make His name holy. God is for His glory, and we give God glory when we pray. It’s a beautiful cycle. Why would we not want to participate in that?
The next time doubt strikes you or you feel like you’ve seen a streak of “unanswered prayers” or “silence from Heaven”, refresh yourself with the truths of these Scriptures. Meditate on the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6. Your prayers matter, and you can pray with purpose and trust God’s will to be done in and through your petitions.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hero of a hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of coffee mugs, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha—no whip. Look for her upcoming novel with Revell, Tacos for Two, in October. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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