Q&A

Does Prayer Really Help?

Q. I have been reading about predestination.  God knows our whole life, before conception.  It is all planned out.  He knows if we will choose him (salvation) or not.  He knows when people will die.  Why pray for your loved ones, when God knows  It is his will .  All through the Bible, it talks about praying for people, but our lives are already planned out, according to God’s will.

My Mother died of cancer several years ago.  I’m wondering … Why did I pray so fervently, if I knew it was God’s choice to bring her home.  Why do churches have  “prayer requests” ? We cannot change God’s mind.   My mind is “reeling” about these thoughts.  Hope you can help!

A. I don’t believe that God has our lives all planned out.  I think He does have a plan for our lives, but it’s our choice to accept His plan or go our own way.  Knowing in advance what’s going to happen in our lives, like God does, is not the same as making our lives conform to His plan.  If it was, we would all be saved, because the Bible says He doesn’t want any of us to perish (2 Peter 3:9)  Even predestination begins with our choice, because as Paul wrote “those He foreknew He predestined.” (Romans 8:29) That means that He knew in advance what choice we would make and made sure it would happen.

God will do anything you ask Him to do including leave you alone.  There are examples with out number of Him answering the prayers of His children.   There’s also lots of scripture that promotes prayer.  For example, Jesus told us to ask, seek and knock  He said that if we being evil know how to give good gifts to our children how much more will our father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him? (Matt. 7:7-11)

James wrote that we have not because we ask not, and when we do ask we don’t receive because we ask with wrong motives.  (James 4:3)   He also said that the prayers of righteous people are powerful and effective.  (James 5:16)

Yes, God knows how every life will turn out.  But that’s only because He can see the end from the beginning, not because He’s programed us all to do what He wants.

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