Do you ever wonder whats the use in praying if God has already predestined the outcome anyway? The conversation below should hopefully give you an insight into why we should be persistent in prayer.

This is taken from Desiring God Ministries

A Conversation Between Prayerful and Prayerless

Prayerless: I understand that you believe in the providence of God. Is that right?

Prayerful: Yes.

Prayerless: Does that mean you believe, like the Heidelberg Catechism says, that nothing comes about by chance but only by God’s design and plan?

Prayerful: Yes, I believe that’s what the Bible teaches.

Prayerless: Then why do you pray?

Prayerful: I don’t see the problem. Why shouldn’t we pray?

Prayerless: Well, if God ordains and controls everything, then what he plans from of old will come to pass, right?

Prayerful: Yes.

Prayerless: So it’s going to come to pass whether you pray or not, right.

Prayerful: That depends on whether God ordained for it to come to pass in answer to prayer. If God predestined that something happen in answer to prayer, it won’t happen without prayer.

Prayerless: Wait a minute, this is confusing. Are you saying that every answer to prayer is predestined or not?

Prayerful: Yes, it is. It’s predestined as an answer to prayer.

Prayerless: So if the prayer doesn’t happen, the answer doesn’t happen?

Prayerful: That’s right.

Prayerless: So the event is contingent on our praying for it to happen?

Prayerful: Yes. I take it that by contingent you mean prayer is a real reason that the event happens, and without the prayer the event would not happen.

Prayerless: Yes that’s what I mean. But how can an event be contingent on my prayer and still be eternally fixed and predestined by God?

Prayerful: Because your prayer is as fixed as the predestined answer.

Prayerless: Explain.

Prayerful: It’s not complicated. God providentially ordains all events. God never ordains an event without a cause. The cause is also an event. Therefore, the cause is also foreordained. So you cannot say that the event will happen if the cause doesn’t because God has ordained otherwise. The event will happen if the cause happens.

Prayerless: So what you are saying is that answers to prayer are always ordained as effects of prayer which is one of the causes, and that God predestined the answer only as an effect of the cause.

Prayerful: That’s right. And since both the cause and the effect are ordained together you can’t say that the effect will happen even if the cause doesn’t because God doesn’t ordain effects without causes.

Prayerless: Can you give some illustrations?

Prayerful: Sure. If God predestines that I die of a bullet wound, then I will not die if no bullet is fired. If God predestines that I be healed by surgery, then if there is no surgery, I will not be healed. If God predestines heat to fill my home by fire in the furnace, then if there is no fire, there will be no heat. Would you say, “Since God predestines that the sun be bright, it will be bright whether there is fire in the sun or not”?

Prayerless: No.

Prayerful: I agree. Why not?

Prayerless: Because the brightness of the sun comes from the fire.

Prayerful: Right. That’s the way I think about the answers to prayer. They are the brightness, and prayer is the fire. God has established the universe so that in larger measure it runs by prayer, the same way he has established brightness so that in larger measure it happens by fire. Doesn’t that make sense?

Prayerless: I think it does.

Prayerful: Then let’s stop thinking up problems and go with what the Scriptures say. Ask and you will receive. You have not because you ask not.

Related Post:

Be Devoted to Prayer

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Comments
  1. Mathew Paul says:

    Great thoughts!

    I have posted a lot of my experiences in prayer in my blog.

    It might encourage you.

    God bless.

  2. Micky says:

    1. God knows all things, including those who will be saved (THE ELECT). 2. God’s foreknowledge does not destroy, but includes, free will. 3. God desires all men to be saved. 4. Jesus died to redeem all men. 5. God provides sufficient grace for all men to be saved. 6. Man, in the exercise of his free will, can accept or reject grace. 7. Those who accept grace are saved, or born-again. 8. Those who are born-again can fall away or fall into sin. 9. Not everyone who is saved will persevere in grace. 10. Those who do persevere are God’s elect. 11. Those who do not persevere, or who never accepted grace, are the reprobate. 12. Since we can always reject God in this life, we have no absolute assurance that we will persevere. 13. We can have a moral assurance of salvation if we maintain faith and keep God’s commandments (1 John 2:1-6; 3:19-23; 5:1-3,13).

    IMPORTANT DISTINCTIONS

    1. Predestination is not predetermination :

    “Predestination is nothing else than the foreknowledge and foreordaining of those gracious gifts which make certain the salvation of all who are saved.” (St. Augustine, Persever 14:35)

    Predestination is God’s decree of the happiness of the elect. God’s infallible foreknowledge (and thus predestination also) includes free will. God’s foreknowledge cannot force upon man unavoidable coercion, for the simple reason that it is at bottom nothing else than the eternal vision of the future historical actuality. God foresees the free activity of a man precisely as that individual is willing to shape it, predestination is not predetermination of the human will.

    2. Election is a consequence of God’s foreknowledge :

    By definition, the ELECT are those whom God infallibly foresees will be saved (Rom 8:28-30). By this definition, it is impossible for the elect to be lost, precisely because God foreknows who will not be lost. But since election depends on God’s infallible foreknowledge, we simply have no way of knowing whether or not we are in that category — God knows with certainty His elect, but we do not. The elect are predestined in the sense that God knows them, and enables them by grace, to be saved.

    3. Free will can resist and reject God’s grace :

    “You stiff-necked people…you always resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51). The angels possessed grace and perfectly intact intellect, and yet many of them freely sinned and rejected God. Adam and Eve possessed grace and a perfectly intact nature, and yet they freely sinned. How much more so is it possible for the born-again Christian, who possesses grace but also a wounded nature and a darkened intellect, to sin also. Paul mentions sins which keep a man from the Kingdom of God: fornication, adultery, homosexuality, theft, greed, and so on (1 Cor 6:9-10).

    When Jesus was expressly asked what one must do to gain eternal life, he answered, “keep the commandments,” and went on to list the moral commandments of the Decalogue (Matt 19:16-21). Revelation describes those whose lot is the burning pool of fire and sulfur, the second death: “cowards, the unfaithful, the depraved, murderers, the unchaste” and so on (Rev 21:8). Aren’t born-again Christians capable of these sins? And if they die in these sins, how can they possibly inherit heaven? If Adam and Eve could fall from grace, surely we can fall from grace as well. Surely we can harden our hearts and resist the Holy Spirit.

    4. We cannot confuse Election with being “Born Again” :

    The set of those who are “born again” (in Catholic and historic Christian understanding those who have been regenerated “of water and Spirit” in the Sacrament of Baptism — John 3:3,5; Acts 2:38) is not necessarily co-extensive with the set of those who will persevere and gain eternal life. Born-again Christians can and (sadly) do fall away. Otherwise free will and (mortal) sin are merely fictitious for a Christian during this life of testing and pilgrimage. Otherwise all the language in Scripture of persevering to the end in order to be saved (cf. Matt 10:22; 24:13; Phil 2:12-13) makes no sense.
    MICKY – http://micky-clontarf.blogspot.com/

    I, MICKY, AM A GIFT TO ALL PEOPLE.

  3. Alan Higgins says:

    Micky you have stated a lot and there is quite a bit that I disagree with.From what I understand, you are a Catholic and we could go on for ever about the heretical teaching that Catholics teach but I will leave that for another time when I do a blog dedicated to that

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