We’ve spent the last several days circling around a big topic related to prayer: How does the importance of prayer coexist with the sovereignty of God? As we’ve put the pieces together, my hope and prayer for you is that the sovereignty of God won’t undermine your determination to pray. Rather, I’m praying that it will be just the opposite: because God is in complete control, and in his sovereignty he graciously chooses to act in response to the prayers of his people, we should be moved to give prayer a far greater place in our lives, both individually and corporately.
However, given how briefly we’ve addressed this topic, no doubt there are plenty of questions unanswered. Today, as a way of helping you answer some of those questions for yourself, I’m providing a collection of resources that address this issue in clear, biblical ways.
If you have the time, this is the place to go. David Platt lays out the Bible’s teaching on this topic in a deep, passionate plea for prayer. It will be good for your soul.
A Theology of Prayer in Three minutes, from John Piper: If you have slightly less time, this will still help you. Piper discusses the place of Revelation 5 and 8 in our understanding of prayer and God’s sovereignty.
Satan’s lies about prayer, by Sam Freney: An excellent article from The Briefing, covering several aspects of prayer, including the question of whether or not prayer really changes things.
The Sovereignty of God and Prayer, by John Piper: In this article (written before I was born!), Piper describes the ways in which biblical categories of thought combine to shape our understanding of prayer: “just as God will see to it that his Word is proclaimed as a means to saving the elect, so he will see to it that all those prayers are prayed which he has promised to respond to. I think Paul’s words in Romans 15:18 would apply equally well to his preaching and his praying ministry: “I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles.” Even our prayers are a gift from the one who “works in us that which is pleasing in his sight” (Hebrews 13:21). Oh, how grateful we should be that he has chosen us to be employed in this high service! How eager we should be to spend much time in prayer!”
Prayer and the sovereignty of God, Tim Chester: I always appreciate Tim Chester’s insights into the Bible, and this is no exception: God has ordained that he will be affected by our loving communication to him.… From eternity he has woven our prayers into the cause and effect of the universe.”