-Pastor Robbie Cheuvront
Why do we pray? Do we really believe that we can change the mind, or the will of God? Well, why shouldn’t we? Moses did? Right?… Or did he?
This has been a topic of discussion that I’ve had with some people recently. Can we change the mind of God? And if not, why do we pray? Why do we ask for things? I mean, if God has already decided our lot (Proverbs 16:9).
In Exodus 32, God has a conversation with Moses, where He tells Moses that He has grown tired of this “Stiff-necked people” and will let His wrath burn against them and destroy them. Moses, lamenting over Israel’s disobedience to the LORD, petitions God not to destroy the people. And the scripture says, “…and the LORD relented from the disaster that He had spoken of bringing on His people.” So, did God change His mind? Did Moses really cause God not to act upon His desire to destroy Israel?
Well, in order to answer that, we must look at the whole of scripture. See, when God chose Abraham to be the father of the nation of Israel, He made certain promises concerning His Chosen people. The crux of that promise is that one would eventually come from Abraham’s lineage that would “bless” all the nations, speaking of course, about Jesus. So if God had destroyed Israel in that moment, meaning during His conversation with Moses, how could God have fulfilled His promise?
Well, this we know: God has always, and will always fulfill His promises. There is nothing in all of scripture, or throughout history, that would suggest that God has never, or would never fulfill ANY promise that He has given. God has always been faithful to His promises, and the whole of scripture testifies to this. So then, there must’ve been another reason for the whole Moses and God discussion. And in this, we find our reason to pray.
See, God never intended to destroy Israel in that moment. But what He absolutely intended was to show Moses just how much Moses, and the rest of Israel were dependent upon God for their every breath. That whole scenario was for Moses’ benefit. Not for the benefit of the nation of Israel’s existence. See, in that moment, God was showing Moses that He, Yahweh, is sovereign. That nothing happens without His decreeing it. And in that, Moses’ sanctification was advanced. Because he was shown a greater dependence on God.
Friends, when we pray, we do so, not because God is impotent. Not because He is unaware of our needs. Not because we have the ability to change His mind. We pray because, just as Moses did, it brings us closer to the God of the universe and serves to show us our dependence on Him for every breath we take. That outside of the fact that He wills that we should wake up and take a breath, we would cease to exist. By petitioning God for the things we need and desire, we are not trying to change His mind. Rather, we are affirming that He is sovereign and in control over ALL things. That He and He alone is the one who is the giver of everything. And in that, God uses our prayer life to bring us closer to Him, to cultivate a greater love for Him, to birth a greater desire to submit to Him. This is why He instructs us to pray. Because He wants to be closer to us. Because He knows that in our prayer life, we will be drawn more to Him and that, in the practice of a healthy prayer life, we will come to see the world as He sees it, that we would have the love and compassion for people the way He does, and that we would be transformed more into the likeness of His son. What an amazing, encouraging, opportunity! Oh, friends, that we would be drawn closer, more intimately, with the very one who created us!
We pray, not to change His mind, but to conform ours more into the likeness of His.
Grace and Peace to you all