Will prayer, like Thomas’, change things?

I am the Lord, and I do not change. And so you, the descendants of Jacob, are not yet completely lost. – Malachi 3:6 GNT

I love the fact that God is sovereign. I pray not because I need change but rather that prayer is a means that I engage with God. If anything, my prayer time is about God accomplishing His sovereign purposes. Many times that means I am asking Him to intervene. I pray so that I can be part of the plans God has for me and for others.

Here is the engaging part – prayer does not really change things – God does – in Him resides the power of change – not in me or my prayers. So prayer really changes me. Attitude and perspective are two things that come right to mind that change when I am talking with God. I can now deal with relationship issues and how I relate to others because I have prayed – those change because I am now different.

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned toward him and said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” (This means “Teacher.”) Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” – John 20:16,28 GNT

Thomas doubted first but then he prayed. Both he and Mary were the first to have their post-resurrection prayers recorded in the Gospel. They both give great expresssions that encourage me how to start my prayers – “Teacher” and “My Lord and my God!”

The passage 1 John 5:14,15 is one of the most abused passages in the Bible: “This is THE CONFIDENCE that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” The Holy Spirit beyond a doubt put it into the Bible to encourage our faith. It begins with “This is THE CONFIDENCE that we have in Him,” and closes with “WE KNOW that we have the petitions that we desired of Him;” but one of the most frequent usages of this passage, which was so manifestly given to beget confidence, is to introduce an element of uncertainty into our prayers. Oftentimes when one waxes confident in prayer, some cautious brother will come and say:

“Now, don’t be too confident. If it is God’s will He will do it. You should put in, ‘If it
be Thy will.’”

Doubtless there are many times when we do not know the will of God, and in all prayer submission to the excellent will of God should underlie it; but when we know God’s will, there need be no “ifs”; and this passage was not put into the Bible in order that we might introduce “ifs” into all our prayers, but in order that we might throw our “ifs” to the wind, and have “CONFIDENCE” and “KNOW that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him.” – R.A. Torrey

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