Why do people ask:
"Why do we pray? If God knew how my life would turn out before I was born, why should I pray? Will it change the outcome? Is praying a step of obedience?"
These verses can make a person wonder, why pray?
Some answer the question, "Why pray?", by simply saying we should be obedient. But, praying just to be obedient is a very weak and non-motivating answer. At least, for me it is not a satisfactory answer.
Human Will and Responsibility
God originally created man to rule and to have authority (Genesis 1:26)
Man is not an animal, he was created in God's image and was God's representative on the earth.
Man was given free will, told what was right or wrong, and told of the consequences for his actions. (Genesis 2:16)
When Adam sinned it effected him, his world and all of mankind (Romans 5:12)
The Exodus Generation, for example, were given a promise but chose not to follow God's plan. They did not want what God wanted. (Deut. 1:26)
The second generation after the Exodus had the choice of blessing and cursing set before them. They could chose which one they wanted. (Deut. 11:26)
They were also told to chose between life and death. (Deut. 30:19)
Man is unique then because he can make decisions that effect his sphere of operation or his realm of authority.
God's Ultimate Sovereignty and Man's Responsibility/Authority
Imagine God's Absolute authority (sovereignty) being a large circle or bubble.
Everything is in this bubble and under the authority of God. It includes time, history, angels, material, humans, etc.
Inside this large bubble are much smaller bubbles (or, kingdoms) which represent each of our own sphere of control, operation, responsibility or authority.
God has ultimate responsibility but inside his bubble (realm, kingdom) he has granted individuals to have their own bubble.
This bubble is our lives, the things we can control and influence.
We do have responsibility and we do make a difference. We can control what comes in and what goes out of our lives to a very great extent.
God wants to place his truth, his salvation, his promises into our lives, but we have the authority. If we do not want his plan, like the Exodus generation did not want his plan, we can reject it. But, if we do want his will, his promises we are the one's to allow it into our bubble.
If there is something we need, God has already made a way for it, but we must ask.
God Makes Promises and Plans; We Seek Him and His Promises
- 4:1-2 describes people wanting things (food, provision, education, etc.) but they covet, fight, quarrel and kill to get it. God says they don't have because they have not asked him. They weren't asking for bad things, but they went about getting what they needed and wanted in their lives (their bubbles) with out walking in God's ways, trusting God's promises and asking God for what they wanted.
- Every promise (that applies to us) is available to you as a believer in Christ. So, our position is to speak the 'Amen' or, the 'so be it'. Our job is to ask for it, seek for it, to want it and allow it into our lives. Notice: 1. It is "in Christ," or "through him" which means "in Jesus name." 2. We speak the "Amen", or the prayer, request. We open the door to our realm of authority for God's promise. 3. This is "to the glory of God." When we receive God's promises through prayer God is glorified.
God's Promise to Elijah and Elijah's Prayer for God's Promise
- This verse is true but in both cases (no rain, and lots of rain) God had already made a promise. Elijah's job was to hear, proclaim and pray for the promise.
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives;
he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
"Yet you have not called upon me, O Jacob,
you have not wearied yourselves for me, O Israel."
During the next few weeks we will be discussing the basics of prayer and attempting to make prayer more understandable so that it is more natural to pray. You need God in your life. We need God in our nation.