Unlocking the power of prayer and its influence on the will of God
One of the very basic tenets of Christianity is the belief that God does not change. We see him as omnipotent, above the fray and the embodiment of clear vision and intention. As such we believe that when God’s plan has been put in motion it is a universally unstoppable force. Enter the concept of prayer. Not only are we instructed to pray for and about things, we are shown several scriptural examples where prayer seems to have changed God’s mind. How can these things be? Why would we pray if God has already decided and how is it even possible to change the mind of He who is unchangeable? Does prayer change God's mind? The answers, as is usually the case, are not found on the surface. They are rooted in the depth of scriptural meaning and provide profound biblical insight into the extraordinary character of God!
What about the Scriptures that say God changed His mind?
Here we are commenting on the mind of God and whether or not it is changeable. It’s easy to look at the Bible and see some Scriptures that say God changed His mind and think, “Well, that settles it. God is changeable therefore ultimately NOT reliable. This means He is not to be trusted or followed. But it is silly to go down that road. Why? These accounts were written 2,000 to 4,000 thousand years ago in an ancient language. We are reading about the Creator of the universe – the being who was there before anything else was. We have the audacity to conclude, based on these few sentences in question, what the whole character of God is based upon. Silly!
A better approach
Why not take this approach: Read these Scriptures within the context they were written. Examine the words and find their clearest meanings for the time and circumstances in which they were used. Understand who is speaking, who is being spoken to and why. Then put those findings against the backdrop of what we know through other Scriptures about God. With all these ingredients in the mix, we certainly have a much better chance of finding the truth of the matter.
Think about this. You made up your mind to build a bridge. As you go through the designing and engineering processes, you lay out the steps for construction. During the actual construction process, one of your trusted engineers comes to you and says, “I think following Plan B instead of Plan A will better reflect all you want this bridge to accomplish." You have faith in this engineer’s dedication to the project, so you follow his suggestion to use Plan B. Did you change your mind? No! Did you change the method with which you accomplished what your mind was set to do? Yes!
Check out our September 30, 2019 podcast, “Can Our Prayers Change God’s Mind?” for more. Follow along as we examine the Scriptures that speak about God “changing" His mind. As we uncover the true meanings of those verses, we also discover greater depth to the character of God. This is a conversation worth having!
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