Why Does A Perfect God Listen to Prayers?

One of my resolutions for 2018 is to stop offering thoughtful responses to thoughtless people.

I’ve been encouraged to “give my thoughts” on various blogs only to have those thoughts ridiculed, derided, and misunderstood.

I’m tired of talking to dopes.

Here’s a dopey post from a dopey blog:

I’ve been blocked on this particular blog.

So I can’t respond directly to the dopey author.

If I could, I would leave a comment like this:

I’m suspicious about an article on the “efficacy of prayer in a medical setting”.  What, exactly, is a “medical setting”?  It is my belief that prayer doesn’t fall under the purview of medical science. Could it be that you’re misunderstanding the intent of the article?

The idea that God cannot “change His mind” because His plans are “perfect” is articulated in the Calvinist doctrine.  If it’s true, then there is no reason to ponder the question any further. Of course, we have no choice but to continue pondering the question because God has willed that we ponder it.  So if you’re of the belief that God doesn’t allow people to alter His plans, this is where my response ends.

But I think God’s “perfect plan” allows for human imperfection. I think God knew it was dangerous to give us the ability to make choices. I think God understood how risky it was to give us the power to think and reason. If God’s primary goal for was for the universe to behave in a specific manner, there’s no reason to fill planet Earth with rebellious, erratic, undisciplined humans. If God’s primary goal was to forge a relationship with mankind, then prayer seems like an efficient form of communication.

Since I can’t leave that comment for the dopes, I’ll leave it here.

Your comments are welcome.

Even if they’re dopey.

25 thoughts on “Why Does A Perfect God Listen to Prayers?

  1. mrsmcmommy says:

    If I may:

    “Perhaps God PLANNED to allow humans to change his mind all along?”

    (I simplified your concept…for the dopes…)

  2. Katy says:

    “If God’s primary goal was to forge a relationship with mankind, then prayer seems like an efficient form of communication.”

    ❤️Beautiful, lovely, wonderfully said…

  3. This is one of those questions that I’ve never been settled on. But in Scripture, you have Abraham negotiating with God over Sodom and Gomorrah; you have Hezekiah begging God not to let him die without an heir, and God lets him (and Hezekiah ends up having a son who turns out to be the worst king Israel ever has). That’s not to mention the odd way Scripture decides to describe that God “regretted” making man. My take is (what I always tell the staunch Calvinists) we have no idea what Time is, exactly. We’re not sure how we experience it, we’re not sure how God sees it, every single Sci-fi movie on the subject treats it differently. So when the Bible uses temporal words to describe an atemporal God, I’m satisfied to view that thing as a mystery, and an instruction on how inscrutable God is. We can never be so arrogant as to think we’ve got it figured out.

    • John Branyan says:

      Ultimately the only rational answer is “I can’t say for sure”. I agree with you on that.

      The atheists don’t like it when we say, “God works in mysterious ways” because it seems like we’re dodging their questions. (They know this because they say, “Science doesn’t have all the answers yet” when asked a question that THEY can’t answer.)

      I think we should have a workable theory of things like prayer, free-will, eternal security, election, etc. in order to give an answer when we’re asked. I usually end my answers by completely undercutting them with something like, “But I’m probably completely wrong about that.”

      • Juan DeVevo says:

        Pffft. I imagine someone with a response all ready and then you say, “but I’m probably wrong” and then they breathe in, but all they do is make a little poot sound with their lips.

          • John Branyan says:

            The Pastor is such a limp wristed pansy.
            Never offers a single word of substance. NEVER!
            He’s oblivious to the irony of calling me “thoughtless” while offering no “thoughts” to explain why he thinks so.

            I’m glad he stops by to remind us that the best way to “recover” from Christianity is to immerse yourself in stupidity.

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            Either he’s going to start explaining what all Christians HAVE to believe, or he’s going to drop out of the conversation altogether. I hope it’s the former! I love it when he preaches. 🙂

          • John Branyan says:

            I figured he’d already dropped out of the conversation. His comment is essentially a restatement of the question in the blog. I predict he’ll let us know that we have treated him unkindly before he vanishes to the safety of his echo chamber.

          • John Branyan says:

            The Pastor scurried over to Nan’s blog to inform her that I referenced her post. (Apparently, he doesn’t trust she will see the pingback.) Mikey, of course, pasted his quote from here into Nan’s comment section so everyone can appreciate his brilliant retort.

            They have formed a tight circle around the notion that I have nothing of substance to say. That puzzles me because this post is a response to Nan’s question. It’s almost as if they hate me no matter what I do…

          • mrsmcmommy says:

            So…no sermon today? (Unless I go visit Nan’s blog?…and I’d rather drill through my own head.)

            Darn. 🙂

  4. If God is all knowing, all loving, all merciful and all powerful.. intercessory and petitionary prayer become not only unnecessary, but also an ironic expression of the pray-ers lack of faith. An insult to the God they petition for aid.

    • mrsmcmommy says:

      Once a Fundy, always a Fundy.

      I have no faith that you’ll ever learn to think outside the tiny box you created for God decades ago…

    • John Branyan says:

      I can understand this point of view. It is a legitimate question to ask why an all-knowing God would take the advice of mortals.

      As was mentioned in another comment, there are some Biblical examples of God being persuaded to change His mind by the pleas of His people. There is no place in scripture where it is suggested that prayers demonstrate a lack of faith, however.

      Doesn’t thoughtful conversation make you wish you had a point of view?

  5. Jeff Lane says:

    I heard it explained one time as God’s plan took into account who would pray what when so prayers would or not be answered accordingly in order to work within His plan and on one hand that creates awe that God would allow us to be apart of His plan but still leaves a mystery as to He answers the way He does. Which my fallback position is always He is God and am I not.

  6. Mike says:

    These are deep waters we are swimming in here. I have learned that it’s ok to say I don’t understand or I don’t know when it comes to God and His interaction with us. I do know this that Jesus told His disciples to pray and ask God for their needs. He even gave them and us an example of how to pray. He went off many times to be alone and pray. So if Jesus is our example on how to live in relationship with God then clearly prayer or talking to God is an important part of it.

  7. LOL! I appreciate your weighing in on this matter. Trying to cast pearls before swine is my affliction, too.

    In the real world, I’ve been involved in some fruitful discussions about the idea of prayer, predestination, and can we change God’s mind? What I do know for sure is that it is very important to pray, because in the process of prayer, God often changes OUR mind. When our own mind changes (and our heart,) it changes everything, our whole world, the view from our window.

    For a more sciency perspective, prayer has a well documented positive impact on our health and well being, per all those peer reviewed, cross referenced, empirical studies.

    I do believe we can influence God. He allows us to influence Him, within some boundaries, but the part that is really important is allowing Him to influence us. Most of us always want to change what God is doing and seldom want to change what we are doing.

    • John Branyan says:

      Omniscience and omnipotence are difficult concepts to square with prayer. It helps to think of God as “Father” when it comes to prayer. My kids talked about all kinds of crazy stuff when they were little and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations. They were usually wrong on the details but I didn’t need their wisdom in order to make decisions. Plus, it made them really happy when I listened to them.

  8. “If God’s primary goal was to forge a relationship with mankind, then prayer seems like an efficient form of communication.”

    I think that may be the sentence of the year. Of course we don’t get it all. Good grief, what kind of God would God be if He was fully understandable. The very idea is moronic. It would be like praying to you, John. No offense intended, but I bet you get the point.

    It’s ALL about forging a relationship.Even a Fundy like me gets that.

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