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Category: Prayer

A conversation with Chris Shahgholi–assistant pastor of a baptist church–about the nature and uses of prayer. Does prayer work?

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God’s Plan – Can it be altered?

God's planGod’s plan seems to contradict the idea of “answering prayers.”

Merriam-Webster defines “answer” as something done or (or said) in response.

If God does not amend his will in response to prayer, is “answer” an appropriate term in this context? If some predetermined incident happens to coincide with my supplication, is it legitimate or even meaningful to assert that my prayer was answered? Would it not be more sincere to assert that God’s plan sometimes accords with our desires and sometimes it doesn’t?

God is Sovereign and Answers Prayer

God is sovereign Neil, God is sovereign.

God answers prayers that are according to His will. However, the actual prayer is not influencing the carrying out of His will.

I will try to illustrate with a biblical example. God’s will was that Christ would walk among us, live a perfect life, and die for the sins of ALL.  Yet in Matthew 26:39 Christ asks to be saved from the suffering of crucifixion ” And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” God did not answer/grant that prayer request. God carried out His sovereign plan.

On the other end of the spectrum, we can use the Philippian Jailer as an example. God’s will was for him to be saved. However, he was responsible for watching Paul while imprisoned, well removed from any scenario that he could potentially trust in God. God, in His sovereignty, carried out His will that the jailer be saved without the jailer praying for that. The prayer was not necessary for the plan to be carried out. God is sovereign.

If God is Resolute – How Does Prayer Influence Him?

God is resolute
So God is resolute. Prayer does not influence him.

Previously you asserted that “God hears ALL prayer but He does not necessarily ANSWER all prayer.” This appears to suggest that you believe he does answer some prayers.

Perhaps I’m missing something here. I’m not sure how God could not be influenced by prayer and yet answer some of them. Could you clarify?

Stay His Hand – God’s Sovereignty

stay his handNeil, your question brings up a very important topic. That is the sovereignty of God.

Daniel 4:35 tells us And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and no one can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

So can prayer influence God? No. God, in this scenario, knew from eternity that you would pray to Him for this healing and He knew if He would heal your Aunt or not. God wants fellowship with His children and wants us to pray to Him, however, His sovereignty supersedes our requests.

Can Prayer Influence God?

influence God

Can prayer influence God? I’m interested in your thoughts on how prayer can be said to influence an omnipotent and omniscient creator.

You stated that God hears all prayer but doesn’t necessarily answer them. If I might postulate a fictitious illustration where he does acquiesce. My Aunt has terminal cancer. I pray for God to cure her and subsequently her tumor disappears, baffling the leading oncologists in the country.

If I hadn’t prayed–if no one had prayed–would the tumor have remained? Can prayer influence God?

Speaking to God through Prayer

speaking to godHi, Neil

Bear with me as I learn to navigate the site etc… Hopefully I am posting/responding in the correct thread.

My name is Christopher Shahgholi. I am the Assistant Pastor of FOCUS Baptist Church of College Point and am currently studying toward a Associate Degree in Biblical Studies. I hope to eventually attain a Masters in Theology or Divinity. I was raised Roman Catholic, but approximately 2 years ago I was born again and received the gift of salvation made possible by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Prayer. In a very broad sense, within the church we would simply say:

Speaking to God through Prayer

God speaks (not in a verbal/audible sense) to us through Scripture.

God hears ALL prayer but He does not necessarily ANSWER all prayer.

Prayer – Introducing the Debate

prayerPrayer is a topic that I have been wanting to discuss for somethime. I’d like to thank Chris Shahgholi for agreeing to become a contributor on this site. Over the past year or so we have been involved in lengthy discussions on Twitter and I am happy to elevate our conversation beyond the confinements of the Twitter platform.

Chris, please introduce yourself and share your definition and thoughts on prayer.