Prayer Changes the Man
by Pastor Gene
“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).
In all our praying, however, it is important that we keep in mind that God will not alter His eternal purposes at the word of a man.
We do not pray in order to persuade God to change His mind. Prayer is not an assault upon the reluctance of God, nor an effort to secure a suspension of His will for us or for those for whom we pray. Prayer is not intended to overcome God and “move His arm.”
God will never be other than Himself, no matter how many people pray, nor how long nor how earnestly.
God’s love desires the best for all of us, and He desires to give us the best at any cost. He will open rivers in desert places, still turbulent waves, quiet the wind, bring water from the rock, send an angel to release an apostle from prison, feed an orphanage, open a land long closed to the gospel. All these things and a thousand others He has done and will do in answer to prayer, but only because it had been His will to do it from the beginning.
No one persuades Him.
What the praying man does is to bring his will into line with the will of God so God can do what He has all along been willing to do. Thus prayer changes the man and enables God to change things in answer to man’s prayer.
From A.W. Tozer, Price of Neglect: and Other Essays, pp. 51-52.
One of the most intriguing aspects of prayer is that it’s intended to change the one praying, not the God to whom he prays. Prayer is not about convincing the all-knowing God to change His mind and do something He never intended to do in the first place. It’s intended to get us on God’s page, to help us to see the wisdom of His perfect will, and to bring us to want what God wants rather than what we want.
What we want for our selves is not always what’s best for us; what God wants for us always is. So, lingering before God, sitting in His presence, even bargaining with Him as Abraham did when he interceded for Sodom (Genesis 18:16-33), is transformative – it brings us to see things as God sees them.
- How does this line up with your conception of prayer?
- Do you find yourself disappointed when your prayer is not answered the way you want it to be answered?
- Could this be due to a lack of ‘lingering’ with God on the subject? The goal for the believer in prayer is to discover God’s will – “Not My will, but Thine,” was Jesus’ words in Gethsemane.
- Do you go to prayer with the desire to discover God’s will or simply to express your own? How might you change this?
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