On prayer

Feeling a little theologically confused.

In today’s sermon, my pastor spoke about how people typically have an imperfect understanding of prayer as a tool to persuade God to change his mind and act according to your desire. The story he raised as an example, Abraham’s intercession for Sodom, was used to highlight how repeated supplication did not serve to change God’s mind (Sodom was destroyed anyway), but instead helped Abraham accept the eventual fate of the city.

In a way, I agree with this interpretation of prayer – I’ve never understood why an omnipotent, omniscient being would need to listen to your requests before acting upon them, since such a being would already be aware of those requests and already have decided his own course of action in that matter – it seems to me that prayer is infinitely more useful as a tool for self-development. At the same time, however, I’m pretty sure this is not the general Christian perspective of prayer – surely there are reasons people believe in the power of prayer? Also, if prayer does not serve to influence God’s action, what is the point of intercession? Doesn’t I’ll pray for you on this matter become a most meaningless promise?


Posted on September 19, 2010, in Faith. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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