Why do we pray?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by milby, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. milby

    milby
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    Had a guy ask me this question and I didn't know how to answer. Maybe you can help.

    If God is all knowing and knows when we will die and how, why pray for someone that is in the hospital dying.

    Does God hear our prayers and determine if the person lives or dies by how many people are praying for them? If so and we pray and the person dies, could God maybe have changed his mind and let them live if he would have had only one or two more people praying for them?

    So the question is, does God NEED our prayers? Does praying change God's mind about something, or is praying just something we do to make ourselves feel good better?
     
  2. Alcott

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    We pray because we are instructed to do so. Does God know when someone [anyone] is going to die? Of course. But do we? No. Can prayers change His mind, based on number, volume, fervency, or anything else? That answer ranges from "most probably not" to "definitely not," considering Jonah and Ninevah, for one example. So in praying for a dying person, we can be virtually certain it will not change the inevitable. But it may change us or those who hear us. At least when we pray for something so serious that is at enmity with the Lord (I Corinthians 15:26), we know we are on His side; for the moment, anyway. Notice the simplicity of Jesus' model prayer: the first point, acknowledgment, is vital, while the rest-- our necessities, our protection-- Jesus made plain otherwise may or may not be met, but the final phrase, "For Yours if the Kingdom...." makes it all add up to that purpose. Revelation makes several references to "prayers of the saints" going up like incense; thus they are sacrifices. And even in the O.T. period God made it plain that other things are more important than literal smoke going 'up' to Him.

    So, in summary, the reason for praying is to unite ourselves with God and other believers, and to offer the sacrifices to which He is entitled. If we have it in the back of our minds that God is something like Aladdin's genie to grant our wishes, we just blow the incense into the wind, so to speak.
     
  3. freeatlast

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    You asked several questions and only one has a definite answer from the bible. We pray because we are told to. As to the other questions you will most likely get many different answers depending on the persons theology about God. Bottom line is we do not need to know how God works in those areas. We do know what we are told and we have been told to pray so if we believe Him (have faith) then we will pray.
     
  4. milby

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    Thats what I'm looking for the "many different answers" from the people on this board. Thanks :)
     
  5. DiamondLady

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    Why do you talk to your wife? Your kids? First reason because that's one way you build a relationship, how you get to know them better. That's the main reason we talk to God...to build a closer relationship with Him. Prayer is a way of sharing our hearts.

    Can prayer change God's mind? I think so. 2Ki 20:1-2 "In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD" We know by reading further that Hezekiah did not die that God added 15 years to his life. There are other examples where, through prayer, God's mind was changed. I don't know exactly how that all fits in with the "God knows everything" or the Calvinists points of view, and I tend to look at things with an open acceptance of not needing to understand all the fine wherefores or ask about the what-if's in how it fits with foreknowledge, etc. I just know that the Bible tells me God has changed his mind on things. Did He know before He would change His mind...so is that really changing His mind?....see it can quickly become a miry pit of circular thinking!

    We pray because, as Christians, we NEED to tell things to God. Yes, scripture tells us to pray, but as a child of God we shouldn't NEED to be told. IT should be a fervent desire to talk to our Father in Heaven. We shouldn't be able to stop ourselves from talking to God throughout our day.
     
  6. Jim1999

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    Re-read the model prayer.....Our Father who is in heaven...............

    We do not pray to change God's mind, but to change ours, and bring us into conformity to that will.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  7. Robert Snow

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    The Calvinist doesn't need to pray, after all God is sovereign; you cannot change His mind. The non-Calvinists doesn't need to pray; after all man has a free will and God will not override it. Sounds rather simple.

    In fact, I don't think God is limited by such things. He can accomplish His will and still allow us free will, but I think the main this is, like Jim said, is to change our attitude and desires. It lines us up with what God is doing.
     
  8. Iconoclast

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    Diamond Lady,

     
  9. Tom Butler

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    Exactly, Jim.

    Prayer is our confession that we are totally dependent upon God, and that we understand that he will answer our prayer in the way He sees fit. The answer may be yes; it may be no; it may be not now.

    Here's another thought: God may indeed intend to meet a need or heart's desire of one of his children, but has determined that he will meet that need only when the believer prays for it.
     
    #9 Tom Butler, Nov 28, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2011
  10. Tom Butler

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    I copied this several years ago from a blog, which cited John Piper's website as the source. It follows up on the comment I made in the previous post.

     
  11. DiamondLady

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  12. glfredrick

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    Precisely!

    God causes a believer to pray "in accordance with His will" so as to bring us to the point of asking for what it is that He has already ordained, which will both strengthen our faith and cause us to be an intimate part of the process instead of just an un-interested bystander to whom God does what He pleases.

    Further, as we pray, we pray (generally) four ways. We pray in thanksgiving for all that God has granted in His unmerited mercy and grace. We pray in adoration to the God who grants life and substance to all that is. We pray in confession, admitting our true state before our all-knowing King. We pray supplication, asking (as He first asked us!) for our daily needs and even more, for His will to be done.
     
  13. seekingthetruth

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    Prayer doesn't change God, it changes us.

    John
     
  14. HankD

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    When we talk about the Sovereignty of God many have to tiptoe threw the TULIPs.

    I have a feeling that we all lay that aside when we pray.

    John 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.​

    Whatever our theological bent, we shouldn't be afraid to ASK.

    Ask and it shall be given you;
    Seek, and ye shall find;
    Knock, and it shall be opened unto you:


    HankD
     
  15. JesusFan

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    prayer is our direct connection line to God for us...
    need to keep the line open, as that is our fellowship that we have to Lord...

    prayer allows us to worship Him, keeps us in fellowship/in tune with His will and plans, means for us to "spiritually recharge", and to intercede on behalf of others, as well as asking the lord for our own needs...

    If a person is neglecting prayers , than will reflect in the person getting out of the word and being weaker in their Christian walk!

    Prayer does not ;"change mind of God", but allows us to be in tune through the relationship and the Bible to what Will of God is for a situation better, and allows us condfidence in our prayer requests to God!
     
  16. convicted1

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    The reason why we pray??

    Matthew 7:6-8
    6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

    7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

    8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

    Luke 18:9-14
    9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

    10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

    11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

    12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

    13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

    14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


    We pray so that we can commune with God, and to ask Him to answer it according to His will. If we don't ask Him, we will not have it. We must ask in prayer to receive what it is we need.
     
  17. JesusFan

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    How much "free will" does God allow man though? Enough to stop the Will and plans of God?

    Think that cals always are praying that God would have His will get done, and that we are part of that plan, doing His will for our part of it, and pray that God opens the heart and mind of those who are to get saved by Him!
     
  18. glfredrick

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    I think that Jesus showed us in the model prayer that we are to ask for God's will to be done. Jesus, Himself, prayed that way in His high priestly prayer as recorded in John's gospel.

    Perhaps the Calvinists have it right? :smilewinkgrin:

    I often wonder why someone who is unconcerned with God's sovereignty would pray, for the only thing they can see God changing is His own mind. He obviously has no control over any other thing. Weird, huh?
     
  19. Alcott

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    Lord, I'm hungry. Will you please give me a steak? 7 1/2 ounces, medium-well, and a dry baked potato? I'm busy and don't want to go the store, and I don't want to go to a restaurant and pay for it, and I certainly don't want to cook it myself. But I'm asking, so it shall be given [won't it?].
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    It's nowhere to be seen. What went wrong?
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    Frankly, I don't worry whether I'm praying in God's will. His will shall be done, period.

    Remember the blind mind who cried out to Jesus? Jesus asked him, "what do you want."
    Bartimaeus replied, "Lord, I want my sight."

    Bartimaeus simply asked. That's what we ought to do. Ask.

    Jesus knew he was going to give him his sight. He could have given it to him unilaterally. But he made Bart ask.

    Now, to be sure, there are things which we know are not God's will, so there's no need to ask for them.

    But we ask because the Lord Jesus told us to ask.

    And in some cases, I think Jesus will give us what we want, but not until we ask.

    That's so we can come to understand our total dependence on God.
     

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