Do Our Prayers Change the Future?

One of the things that many Christians struggle with is keeping an active prayer life. Why should I pray, we ask ourselves (but never ever anyone else!) if God is already in charge and the future is foreordained? Reformed Christians (and others) who believe the Bible teaches that God foreordains (determines beforehand) whatever in fact comes to pass--including who is ultimately saved and who is not--often fall into the trap of not praying. We reason like this: why pray since it won't change a thing?

Richard Pratt, the founder of Third Millennium Ministries and former professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, offers a life-changing answer to the vexing question of why we ought to pray. Approaching the question from the angle of predictive prophecy in the Bible, he proposes that many times God wills that the future will be determined conditionally upon the prayers and actions of his people. In other words, sometimes God is pleased to change the course of history based on how his people pray! Imagine that. Stop and let that sink in for awhile. If this is true, then our prayers may actually cause God to change the course of current events. Prayer is not merely a way to express our concerns and adoration to God. As the trustworthy acronym A.C.T.S. teaches, that prayer is Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication, we can be confident that if God wills it, our supplications (requests) may actually in a certain sense change things. In many ways, history (His/God's story) is contingent on how you and I response to our circumstances in prayer. Although Pratt's argument that Biblical predictions are often historically contingent does not concentrate on the application of this truth to prayer, he has written a book on prayer that shows us in a similar vein why we should pray.

Why pray? Because God hears, answers, and acts on our prayers according to his all-knowing wisdom, all-encompassing purpose, and all-powerful direction.

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