How often have you heard the phrase: "Prayer changes things”?
This is a true statement, yet prayer can actually change things because God can actually change things. Our prayers are more than just words spoken into the air ONLY because of the Object of faith we speak them to.
The atheist can “wish nice thoughts” for someone out loud, but they have no power because the words have no living object of faith (God) to potentially respond to the thoughts.
A pertinent, related question is this: “Can God Himself actually change anything?” If my prayers are nothing more than the means of God carrying out that which is already determined, then my prayers (or lack thereof) not only do not contribute to any kind of change of events, but God Himself does not actually respond in any real way. Our prayers (or absence of prayers) can then be likened to cogs on a gear in a finely-tuned clock. They occur, or do not occur, at precisely the instance and in the manner they are determined to occur and yield exactly the outcome that was always set to occur.
To be consistent in a deterministic system, prayer could, on a practical level, amount to “thinking nice thoughts” that avail no real change.
But is this the way prayer is described in the Bible? Is this the way God behaves and describes the workings of His own divine mind in Scripture, in response to prayers, petitions, and the outcry of His people?
Old and New Testament Scripture describes our prayer as highly significant and affecting events and circumstances, but only because the Object of our faith is truly creatively free to change the course of events, and He often does so in response to our prayers.
- Joel Park