As believers, why should we pray?
This has been on my mind a lot over the past year, at this time last year we were praying that our child would be healthy. We made our requests known to God and let Him know what we wanted in this situation. In a couple of weeks we will be nearing the time last year that we learned of the possible chromosome problems we might be facing. At that point I started to pray even more. I asked the Lord to let the doctors be wrong, to let us keep Audrey, and I asked Him many times to let us have a Down Syndrome baby. We knew the other possibility was grave and we did not want to face that, we did not see how we ever could face that. So we asked God to let her be OK. At first I honestly do not remember asking Him, with me entire heart, to let His will be done through Audrey even if that meant we would not get to have her here on earth.
Then, as you know, we were faced with the deafening news that God had not answered our prayers. We and the multitudes of people all over the place who were praying specifically for Audrey could not change His mind.
Is that how it really was? Did God just choose not to answer the requests we begged of Him? No, I do not think so.
So why didn't our prayers change His mind? His answer to us was "No," and we tend to think He was still deciding during all that time we were praying. The truth is, this was a situation where He had enabled His perfect will to be done through Audrey the moment He created her. Yes, to us we see it as "No," but maybe if our prayers had been different we would have gotten a "Yes" even through the circumstances that were, to us, horrible.
In a Bible study I did recently I read that when we pray, rather than "Lord, please heal my child and please allow me to keep her here so we can love her and raise her etc., according to Your will." Maybe we should be saying, "Lord, I don't know what your plan is through my life and the life of this little child you are forming, but please let Your perfect will be done and I will give you the glory for what You do. And if that includes healing her while she is here on this earth I will continue to give you praise."
Do you see the difference? If we could change God's mind by the way we pray, or the number of people that are praying, then we would have the power to alter what God has already decided. Prayer is not for God, it is for us. Aside from doing a study on prayer, (which I may do one day soon!) all I can say is what I have learned through my own experience. I recently came across a blog post from a friend of my brother's about this same subject and I thought it was very well written. About a year ago his sister died from cancer. She had only found out she had this cancer approximately a year earlier, and from what I have heard she was the most godly and loving woman you could meet. Her husband and four small children were left as she went on to glory. I joined in the many who prayed for Penny, asking the Lord to allow her to stay here to help raise her children and continue her ministry on earth. But God still took her home. Through this difficult time, I remember hearing how the family continued to give God glory for what He was doing even though that did not include healing her of the cancer. Is it possible that through my prayers I could learn to trust God's will in whatever he brings into my life and let Him have glory even if the end result is not what I would have chosen?
Read Jamie's blog post here: http://consumedministries.com/2011/01/21/does-prayer-change-gods-mind/#comments
Like I said, this is a lot of simply my opinion. I do not know the answer, but I have learned that my reason for praying should be to change me, not to get God to do what I want. I cannot see the big picture, but He can and I have to trust that the things He allows are for my best and ultimately for His glory.
Audrey would have been 9 months old today.