Wednesday, September 12, 2007

His will be done?

What is the point of praying if God already has a plan in mind for us? Why interject our own desires into prayers of petitions if we are expected to pray for His will to be done? If I pray for something so earnestly all my life and it is not what God has in mind for me, then I have wasted thousands of prayers in vain. What I desire may or may not be what God has in mind for me, I have no way of knowing. So I ask, why bother?


Melody said...

Well, it was explained to me several years ago that the point of praying is not to conform God's will to yours, but to conform your will to God's. My priest told me the ultimate prayer is "Thy will be done." All the hours of prayer hopefully lead to finding out what God's will for you is and then following it. That is not to say it is easy, just that it is (in the long run, at least) worth it.

Carolina Cannonball said...

"All the hours of prayer hopefully lead to finding out what God's will for you is and then following it."

Again I ask... why bother having a will or desire of your own. Why bother praying if it's all predetermined?

Ma Beck said...

This is kind of long and (I think) from a protestant website, but I thought it interesting:

Question: "Why pray? What is the point of prayer when God knows the future and is already in control of everything. If we cannot change God's mind, why should we pray?"

Answer: Why pray? Why pray when God is already in perfect control of everything? Why pray when God knows what we are going to ask before we ask it?

(1) Prayer is a form of serving God (Luke 2:36-38). We pray because God commands us to pray (Philippians 4:6-7).

(2) Prayer is exemplified for us by Christ and the early church (Mark 1:35; Acts 1:14; 2:42; 3:1; 4:23-31; 6:4; 13:1-3). If Jesus thought it was worthwhile to pray, we should also.

(3) God intends for prayer to be the means of obtaining His solutions in a number of situations:

a) Preparation for major decisions (Luke 6:12-13)
b) Overcoming demonic barriers in lives (Matthew 17:14-21)
c) The gathering of workers for the spiritual harvest (Luke 10:2)
d) The gaining of strength to overcome temptation (Matthew 26:41)
e) The means of strengthening others spiritually (Ephesians 6:18-19)

(4) We have God's promise that our prayers are not in vain, even if we don't receive specifically what we asked for (Matthew 6:6; Romans 8:26-27).

(5) He has promised that when we ask for things that are in accordance with His will, He will give us what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15).

Sometimes He delays His answers according to His wisdom and for our benefit. In these situations, we are to be diligent and persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7; Luke 18:1-8). Prayer should not be seen as our means of getting God to do our will on earth, but rather as a means of getting God's will done on earth. God’s wisdom far exceeds our own.

In situations for which we do not know specifically what God's will is, prayer is a means of discerning God’s will. If Peter had not asked for Jesus to call for him to come out of the boat and onto the water, he would have missed that opportunity (Matthew 14:28-29). If the Syrian woman with the demon-influenced daughter had not prayed to Christ, her daughter would not have been made whole (Mark 7:26-30). If the blind man outside of Jericho would not have called out to Christ, he would have still been blind (Luke 18:35-43). God has said that often we go without because we do not ask (James 4:2). In one sense, prayer is like sharing the gospel with people. We do not know who will respond to the message of the gospel until we share it. It is the same with prayer: we will never see the results of answered prayer until we pray.

A lack of prayer demonstrates the a lack of faith and a lack of trust in God’s Word. We pray to demonstrate our faith in God, that He will do as He has promised in His Word, and will bless our lives abundantly more than we could ask or hope for (Ephesians 3:20). Prayer is our primary means of seeing God work in others' lives. Because it is our means of "plugging into" God's power, it is our means of defeating a foe and his army (Satan and his army) that we are powerless to overcome by ourselves. Therefore, may God find us often before His throne, for we have a High Priest in heaven who can identify with all that we go through (Hebrews 4:15-16). We have His promise that the fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much (James 5:16-18). May God glorify His name in our lives as we believe in Him enough to come to Him often in prayer.

Br. Luke said...

I hear you, Kat. Keep asking the hard will get your answers, but be prepared when they aren't the ones you expected. And never forget free will. God gave it to us, and He will never go against it. We are not puppets on strings. This works sometimes in our favor, and often to our harm. Remember, everyone else has free will, too. I am convinced that there are some circumstances and events in our lives that we will not understand until (hopefully) we reach heaven.

Anonymous said...

When we pray we spend time with God. Isn't it important to spend time with those we love?

Praying teaches us we are not the centre of the universe - God is - and He deserves our praise and thanksgiving but also wants to hear our desires and what is burdening us.

God gives you grace through prayer so that you can better know Him, serve Him, love Him.

God does not plan out our lives. God is not "in time"; He is eternal. So in that sense, He doesn't know "in advance" what will happen, He simply knows what IS happening. Every moment is present to God but we still have FREEDOM to choose His way, or not. It is still important to pray because He can allow that prayer to influence the outcome of things just as He allows your other actions to shape events. It all comes down to free will on our part.

One time my future DIL asked me about prayer. I used this anaology on her: Say you have two friends. One of them is always calling and asking how you are, sharing things with you, even asking for help sometimes, and tells you that she loves and cares for you. Your other friend, when and if she calls, does nothing but whinge and complain and demand. When the chips are down, who are you going to help first?

Milehimama said...

Oh dear. Please tell me you are not going to become a Calvinist. Is that predetermined too? LOL

If your son asks you for something, or is obviously heartbroken and cries for a reason, are you not moved? Would you want take away his hurt if he cries out to you, or change your plans at his request?

Our Father is the same way.

Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

Though God knows all that will happen, remember too that your decisions are your own. You retain freedom of will. It's annoying and frustrating to conform your will to His, but the rewards will be far superior to what you imagine is the best thing which can happen to you.

You know who said...

Haven't you already been admonished once by a priest for falling into a Calvinist heresy?

Carolina Cannonball said...

yes dear.

Tom S. said...

I never really appreciated God's relationship with us until I had children of my own. He can do with us what we will, just like I can with my daughters, but that doesn't mean he will not be swayed by our requests.

Anonymous said...


I don't know if someone already answered your question in this way or not.

We are all predestined to become saints. Whether we do or not is because of how we use and/or abuse our free will. He did not predetermine that Joe Schmo become a baker in a villiage. He knew what decisions are going to make before we willed us into existence, that's not the same as pre-ordaining our paths.

Robert said...

I agree with Anonymous. Just because God KNOWS what will happen, doesn't mean he forces us to do that thing. He wills us to be conformed to his Will, but he doesn't make us conform. We either choose to conform, or not. He knows what we are going to do, but we are still the ones who make the choice, right or wrong.

Prayer is part of the process of learning what is God's will, and being moved by grace to accept and do his will.

And if we love him, we will do his will, and that is what makes us Saints, not going great things, but doing God's will.

Jeffrey Smith said...

Interesting point. In almost fifty years, I've found that when I make my own life and tell god to keep the hell away, I'm fine and things go well. When I trust god and pray he makes a hell of a mess. Why bother? Don't.

Unitas said...

I feel that due to our fallen natures, we are always trying to deviate from God's path.

Perhaps prayer isn't trying to ask God to adjust his path to ours to accomodate our wants, but asking God to adjust our path to his for what He knows we need.

Those needs are taken care of, I've found, rather passively, not actively.

Passive things like strength, piety, perseverence, and temperance. Things that can help me deal with my situation, rather than God actively changing my situation to what I'd like it to be.

I don't know if that helps, but that's been my experience, anyway.

Jeffrey Smith said...

The answer is to stop wasting time on religion, realize there is no god, and start trying to get a life.

Anonymous said...

When the flies start gathering (Jeffrey Smith) it's time to start second-guessing the content of your posts.

Milehimama said...

Yeah, Jeffrey, because I'm sure deciding that everything she's done lately, believed, and all of creation is just a random assortment of molecules, and that when we die that's the end, and anything we do is pointless, since there is no higher purpose or calling, will make the Canonball feel So. Much. Better.

Great advice!

Jeffrey Smith said...

She'd feel better if she'd drop the god talk since she's obviously not a Catholic. She actually seems to have an ounce of human sympathy, misguided of course, unlike you Christians who spew hatred at anyone who's suffering.
I'm suffering, Milehimama, you bitch! Where's the "Christian love"? I haven't seen one bit of it from you fucking bloggers.

Carolina Cannonball said...

Juat an ounce of sympathy? I'm sure I'm good for a pound.

Jeffrey- I know your upset, but dignified suits you better. I think for the most part, every one still wants to offer their support-but many, myself included, don't know how to help. That may explain why they might be choosing to stay away.

Back to the topic, please. No need to stray from point. No personal attacks.

It's interesting when you leave religion out of the equation things tend to run more smoothly. When you try to practice piety God throws on the tests and it not only rains, it pours. Why, again with the unnecessary cruelty?

We often compare our relationship with God to a parent/child relationship. But what parent do you know that constantly tests their children to make sure thier love is sincere. It would be that parent was being sadistic and manipulative, would it not?

Milehimama said...

God doesn't test us in a "If you really loved me you'd..."

He also does not micromanage every single thing. He's kind of a love and logic parent (in my mind. Aquinas is probably rolling over in his grave) (Aquinas isn't an incorruptible, is he?) (Dang. This adult ADD thing is driving me nuts)

Logical consequences... the effects of a fallen nature, and a secular society all play their part. We don't become saints upon conversion, and frolic in white dresses that never stain, swept above mere humanity.

This is our valley of tears.

It sounds like atheism's got ya down. I've got some Faith and Morals that might perk you up!

Jeffrey Smith said...

No, I've come to my senses. No more life-destroying religions.

Jeffrey Smith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Milehimama said...

I wish you'd be more original when trying to pick fights. It would be more entertaining, and without a higher purpose, what else is there in this world but fleeting entertainment?

May you be filled with His joy

ArchAngel's Advocate said...

Carolina, let meadd my 2 cents worth.
Prayer is a conversation, not a time for oratory (usually on our side). God, being the GentlePerson He is, will often remain silent as we spew forth the contents of our hearts. Then the question comes, do we give God time to respond? I know in my life that I often say "I'm done, see You later" (I understand that in marriages this is often the case there too.) My most fruitful prayer time are usually those where I have to approach God and say "I don't know what to say" because then I have to sit and listen. And since God is often that "small noise at the back of the cave" (1 Kg. 19:12), I often miss His voice.
Also I've discovered God has a sense of humor (see my blog entry on Tersa of Avila). Also, since as Christian we belive God is found in the Community of the Faithful (ie. the Church) God often wants us to take our issues to our fellow Christians in whom we trust. Remember the Cross is made of 2 pieces, the Vertical representing our relation to God, and the Crossbeam representing our relationship to our neighbor. Each without the other is just a piece of wood!

Carolina Cannonball said...

Jeffrey- I am sorry, but I definately had to delete your last comment.

Robert said...

I don't think God TESTS us to see if we love him, as of course, he already knows if and how much we love him.

God permits hard choices, difficult situations in our lives, just so that we will MAKE the choices. And the choices we make reveal to US, ourselves, if and how much we love God.

It is easy to deceive ourselves, while saying, "I love you, God." But when we see ourselves sinning in some fashion, the truth is revealed, "Oh, I don't love you as much as I thought. I'm sorry, I'll work on it."

God doesn't need our love, but WE NEED to love him, it is what we were created for after all. And, if we are sincere, as we go through life, really cooperating with his grace, we gradually, more and more often, make the choices that reveal a deepening love for God, and then we want to love him more.

Think of them, not so much as tests from God, but as opportunities and exercise. Opportunities to love Him, and exercise to strengthen and deepen our love, just as riding a bike every day works off the fat and strengthens the thigh muscles.

God deserves glory, and he deserves love, but he doesn't need it. WE NEED to give him glory and all our love. That's what fulfills us and makes us happy.