Petitionary Prayer And The Will Of God

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by bobsmith76, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Petitionary prayer is incompatible with the fact that you cannot change the will of God. In another thread I asked christians if it was possible to change the will of God and the answer came back almost 100% "no".
    If this is true then why do Christians ask God for things? God's already decided what is He going to allow and not allow. I have nothing against worshipping God but this practice of asking God for things has got to stop. Not only should it stop it makes you upset. When you're prayers aren't answered you just get upset and lose faith in God. For example in another post a Christian wrote: "I feel hopeless. I pray seek GOD. But I get nothing. He seems to be ignoring me or just doesn't care about me or he doesn't exist."
  2. #2 Roads, Oct 1, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
    Isn't it the will of God that we petition Him (John 14:13-14)?

    The conclusion that "petitionary" prayer is incompatible with God's unchanging will only allows for a very simple understanding of God's will. My own will is even more complex than that. For example, I will for my wife to be safe. Do I conclude that I lock her in the house to protect her from the dangers outside? No, because I also will for her to have freedom and make her own choices. If my own will is complex, it stands to reason that I shouldn't limit God to a will simpler than my own.

    If God asks me to pray to Him, then I trust Him there is a reason for it. I suspect the reason is similar to what I've described about my own will: that God wills "x" to happen, but also wills us to pray for it before He takes action. If this is the case, if we don't pray, would "x" happen?

    On the subject of "losing faith in God" when your prayers "aren't answered," what the Bible teaches is more complex than what you seem to be suggesting. For example, if I pray to God that He, say, makes my boss turn purple with yellow spots, should I lose faith when that doesn't happen? Christian life is about continually conforming our own will to the will of God, and "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27)."
  3. There arew several problems with your take on this,
    "God's already decided what is He going to allow and not allow."
    That statement assumes predestination and denies free will. Do not assume that because God is
    aware of all happenings past, present, and future that He has mandated them. To know a man's choices
    beforehand is not the same as making the choices for him.
    His will is fully compatible with our free will. His will is that for some things we do the choosing.

    Faith that is dependent on getting your way is no faith at all. Faith is trust, nothing more, nothing less.
    It has nothing whatsoever to do with believing.
    Every day, I petition the living God, for many things for may people, and leave it up to Him to do that which
    He would. That is where the trust comes in, knowing that His will is wiser and better than mine.
    I ask because He commanded me to. He commanded me to pray for myself and others because it is right and proper
    to do so.

  4. Allow means you let someone else choose then you veto or not veto their decision. So if one allows another then one does not take away another's free will. So you've misunderstood me.

    Why are you asking God things? Do you think by asking Him for things you will change His mind? Do you think if you do not pray for a certain thing that God will do something different than if you had prayed for a certain thing? How do you feel when one of your prayers is not answered? Why do you think it is not answered?
  5. None of that proves that petitionary prayer is compatible with the fact that you cannot change the will of God.

    If you don't pray, x will happen. If you do pray, x will happen. God's will does not change based on what ask for.

    You shouldn't be making petitionary prayers in the first place because you can't change the will of God.

    So why ask God for something?
  6. If it is God's will that I pray before He takes action, then it demonstrates that petitionary prayer is consistent with God's unchanging will.

    For example, the Bible teaches that God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." Do all come to repentance? If some perish, is that evidence that God has changed His will? Or should we instead conclude that God's will for us to freely choose repentance takes precedence over His will that none should perish? If God responds to a petition, it's not evidence that His will has changed, it's only evidence that it's His will for us to petition Him, which is what the Bible actually teaches. I suppose here I could re-post John 14:13-14.

    Well, we should start off by acknowledging that the Bible does instruct us to ask things of God in prayer, and then go from there.
  7. God does not want us to live under illusions. If you ask God for something and it comes to pass then that encourages you into the false belief that you can change the will of God when the reverse is true. A much better course of action is to simply anticipate God's will, prepare yourself for it and vow that you will accept it cheerfully. For example, say that your baby comes down with an illness and he will die in a few months. It is impossible for a man to ask God to allow his baby to die. It is much more intelligent to simply anticipate the death of your baby, prepare yourself for it, then vow that you will not let that fact diminish your faith in God.

    No, we shouldn't. The bible also condones genocide: Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.(1 Samuel 15:2-3)
  8. Ah. Well, I think you'll find that most people 'round these parts are going to look to the Bible for evidence about what we should or shouldn't believe about God. If we don't accept the authority of scripture, then where should our beliefs about God come from?
  9. What do you do when the Bible contradicts itself? You use your God-given reason to determine which belief to give up. Have you ever heard of Christian apologetics. Christian apologetics is the use of reason to defend the faith from argument. If the Bible contradicts itself than you use reason. God put those contradictions in the Bible so as to inspire us to use our reason.
  10. Also, you're contradicting yourself. In the beginning you were using reason to justify your position. For example you wrote: "If God asks me to pray to Him, then I trust Him there is a reason for it. I suspect the reason is similar to what I've described about my own will: that God wills "x" to happen, but also wills us to pray for it before He takes action. If this is the case, if we don't pray, would "x" happen?" That is a complete appeal to reason. When it turns out that your reason contradicts itself, then you fall back on scripture. So at first you're using reason as your starting point, then when it turns out that reason doesn't work, then you claim that the Bible is your starting point. Besides, it is impossible that the Bible be your starting point because you need reason to understand the Bible. Then when it turns out that the Bible contradicts itself, then you're going to be forced to use reason again to resolve the contradictions.
  11. The alternative, is faith.

    Paul writes, "And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.

    I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God." 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

    Our faith is not meant to rest on our own wisdom.

    Perhaps if you dig deeper, you might discover that certain "contradictions" are not quite so contradictory. This has been the case for myself in many areas. Might I suggest, that Biblical teaching offers a consistent explanation to the problem you present, if you are willing to explore it.

    I freely admit, there are parts of the Bible I don't understand, but as Paul says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12. For what I don't understand, I have faith that there is a consistent explanation that will be revealed to me one day.

    Sure, it's "reason," but it's reason that has its basis in scriptural teaching. It doesn't deny, challenge or refute the authority of scripture. It's based on my understanding of passages like the ones I presented, as well as others. I don't think reason and faith are inherently enemies, but our reason must be tempered by the authority of scripture.
    Major likes this.
  12. You know........when I locked my wife in the closet to keep her safe like you suggested, she had the nerve to call the police when I let her out for dinner. Can you believe that?????
  13. Lol, the audacity! Oh, Major, I think you might have enough material for a stand up routine with your collected sayings from the forum...
  14. Ya know, if I could get a time slot right after Duck Dynesty, I might give it a shot!
  15. If you stop to think about it faith is just a more respectable word for unjustified belief. For example, take the following equation:

    I believe in x through faith = I believe in x without justification.

    Now substitute anything for x and you'll find that truth-value of either statement is the same.
    1. I believe in Mormonism through faith = I believe in Mormonism without justification.
    2. I believe in Islam through faith = I believe in Islam without justification.
    3. I believe Satan is good through faith = I believe Satan is good without justification.

    It should now be clear that faith is not a reliable way to guide one's life. If we have faith in Christianity, then why shouldn't we have faith in Islam, Mormonism or Satanism? If we believe in something without justification then we can believe in anything and not everything is true. If we believe in Christianity through faith then we're just wishing it for it to be true. If we take this route then we are completely unable to refute atheism. The atheists can have faith that there is no God and there is nothing we can say to them to lead them away from their error if we accept faith as a reliable means for arriving at the truth. Tertuliian said: credo quia absurdum, meaning I believe in Christianity precisely because it's absurd. Well, why not believe in atheism since it is also absurd.

    The atheist can say the exact same thing about evolutionary theory and there is nothing that we can say to them to convince them of their error if we accept this method of making decisions. The atheist can always say that they do not understand how species change but it will be revealed to them one day if they just do more research.

    You just said that you don't understand the contradictions of the Bible. Now you're saying that it offers a consistent explanation, so which is it? If you don't understand x, then how do you x is not contradictory?

    If there are two contradictory passages in the Bible one of them has to be false. The Bible tells us which passages might be true, reason tells us which passages are in fact true. God simply gave us the Bible as a place to get started. If we didn't have the Bible then it would be too hard to get knowledge. It is now up to our reason to determine which parts of the Bible are true or false.
  16. There is a distinction between faith, and blind faith.

    If my life wasn't the evidence of God working in me, I wouldn't believe. If you have salvation in Christ, then haven't you experienced His power to break the chains and fell the strongholds in your life? What greater evidence do you need than the power you have personally experienced? Faith because of that evidence isn't blind faith.

    We don't have faith blindly. We have faith in what we haven't witnessed because of what we have witnessed -- His real, transforming power in our lives. Our faith is further strengthened, not by what we can demonstrate through our own wisdom, but by how God continues to prove Himself by the demonstration of His power as we continue to step out in faith.

    If I worded it poorly, what I meant is that I believe there is a consistent explanation throughout Biblical teaching for the particular problem you presented as the topic of this thread -- one that certainly asks us to use reason, but on the basis of the authority of scripture.

    I'm not trying to get in a fight, or win an argument here, man. Revelation is not easy, it's a lot of work to understand the Bible. If we read something that appears to be a contradiction, I only mean to suggest that perhaps there is value in digging deeper to see if we may have been wrong in our initial judgement.

    If there only appears to be a contradiction, and we are in error in our reasoning, then we will run the risk of dismissing truth. How much faith can we possibly have in human reasoning to be without error?
  17. " If we believe in something without justification then we can believe in anything and not everything is true."
    I'll repeat this, as I don't think it sunk in the first time. Faith has nothing to do with believing. Faith is trust.
    You can only trust what or who you know, one cannot trust the unknown. So if you say you trust Mormonism, (that what Joseph Smith taught was true, but don't actually know what he taught, that is not faith, it is foolishness.

    Are we not to live by Christ's example? He petitioned God the Father and accepted the Father's response without question. Are we not to do the same?

    I think you have a very poor understanding of what the phrase "God's will" means.
    He has not had every movement in the Universe mandated ahead of time, He has allowed for free will,
    and it was His will that we should have free will. If a man makes a choice, it is his choice, God does not veto
    anything after the fact. It is my free choice to petition God, and God's free choice to say yea or nay to each petition.
  18. Friend, in reading your replies, what I'm seeing is you are mad at God, is that correct, ...if not, I apologize, if it's correct then how about telling us the reason why.

    As to your question, we pray because Jesus prayed, his disciples saw how prayer so affected His life that they came to Him and asked Him, not for material things, not for positions of authority, no they asked Him to teach them how to pray.

    In His teaching on prayer we are taught we are to glorify the Father with our prayers, we are to pray for His Kingdom and we are to pray for His will to be done and not ours, there are other parts to His teaching, but these are enough to answer you, ...we are bought, redeemed with the precious, priceless blood of His Son Jesus Christ, that makes us members/citizens of His Kingdom, He is my/our King, subjects do not tell a King what to do, Jesus also taught whatever we ask in His Name the Father will do, He was talking to His disciples, disciples become like their Master, Jesus never asked for something for Himself, it was always what the Father willed, so how do we know what is the will of the Father? By hearing from Him, what He wants us to pray for, it's called Faith, the just live by faith, and faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from/through the Word of God, as we are constantly reading the Word, ruminating/reflecting (sheep are ruminates) on the Word, God the Father is talking to us, telling us what to pray for, putting His will in our hearts, I do this cheerfully, not by constraint, because I'm a bond slave to/for my Master.

    Are all of my prayers answered, those that are of my flesh, no, but rather He shows me the foolishness of my fleshly prayers, ...those that are His will, yes and sometimes He says to wait and continue praying, personally, it's rare that I ask Him for something for myself because I have found in obeying His command to seek first the Kingdom of God that He has provided all of my needs, just one of millions, as a child I thought it would be cool to live in the Tropics, I never asked to be sent here, in fact He intervened in my life and interrupted my plans to go to Africa, more, I reminded Him that He was the one that said it wasn't good for man to be alone, four years after bringing me here He sent me to another island and there was my Eve waiting for me, incidentally, she had been praying for an American husband for 12 years, that played an instrument and loved working with children, ...that's me!

    I hope you can see from these few examples that prayers are answered when it's God will for us, only He knows, I sure don't, what is best for me or what will ultimately destroy me, so I have learned to except His will for my life, because for the past 27 years He has blessed my socks of, my cup truly runneth over.


    Major likes this.
  19. It's clear that you're giving the word trust a different meaning from it's ordinary usage. x trusts y to do z = x believes y to do z and z agrees with x's desire, so the definition of the word "trust" has the word belief in it.

    No, because Christ was God and we're not God. There are certain things God can do that we cannot do. God can petition himself to do things, we cannot.

    But if you petition for x and God has already decided that x will not come to pass then it's foolish for you to petition for x because your petition is not going to change the will of God. It's better then to not petition for anything because you don't know if it accords with God's will or not. It's far more prudent to let God to do what he's going to do, then accept what he decides, else you just get disappointed when it turns out that you wished for something that was not in accord with God's will.
  20. It is apparent that you have no idea what the word trust actually means.
    If I trust a bridge, I will walk across it without fear, fully expecting to get to the other side.
    If you think belief = trust then not only do you have an un-Biblical view of faith, but it is no
    wonder that your prayers are not answered.

    Christ's life served an an example to all of us, you are in error.

    The rest of your post reflects a complete lack of understanding of my post.
    Why do you keep bringing up the notion of disappointment? Is that some personal issue of yours?

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