Does Prayer Really Influence God?

Renee Ann Smith —  September 1, 2014 — 16 Comments

Since God knows and sees all, He understands what we need before we ask, right? And if God planned our lives before the world began, isn’t it too late to ask Him to change anything now?

After reading Scripture and quotes from great Christian thinkers and wrestling with these questions, the answer I came up with is “Yes . . .

. . . and No.”

S. D. Gordon, a wise theologian said it this way, “Prayer does not influence God’s purpose, but it does influence God’s action.”

Does Prayer Influence God?

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In other words, every good and right thing, God has already purposed to do. But sometimes He waits for us to ask.

That’s why Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Thy will be done as it is in heaven.” They were asking to bring God’s will to earth.

Why would God ever wait for us to ask?

Here’s the illustration I came up with . . . Let’s think as caretakers or parents . . . 

When a baby is first born, communication is limited to wordless cries.

Does prayer influence God 2Most moms or aunties (me), try to anticipate the baby’s every need. Not only do we wish to avoid those crying jags that build to mind-boggling intensity, we also want to keep that baby we adore happy.

As the child ages, he/she figures out how to ask for things. So there comes a day, when even though mom or dad knows the child is thirsty or hungry.

They wait for their child to ask. This helps the child to develop communication and builds relationship.

At first, the child tapping the frig might be enough to show he/she wants a drink. But eventually we teach the child to say, “May I have a drink, please?” And even better, when they’re able to say, “Thank you, Mommy.”

The child learns that all good things—juice boxes and chocolate milk—come from Mommy and Daddy.

To take this illustration even further, there also comes a day when Mom stocks the frig and leaves it to little Johnny or Susie to make their own lunch. She anticipates their needs and buys all their favorite things. Then they’re free to dive into the goodies themselves.

But when special circumstances come up—they want some new food or they’re too sick to make lunch for themselves—they have to make their request known to Mom anew.

Here’s what Matthew 7:9-11 says in The Message:

“If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? You wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children.

So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”

No illustration or metaphor fits biblical truth perfectly.

But this one helps me remember that prayer is communication with a Heavenly Father who wishes to give me all good gifts and helps me imagine how He views my supplications—all my supplications.

Rich & eloquent. Simply stated. Wordless cries.

No matter what form they take, the Bible assures us that our prayers touch God’s heart.

May that truth sustain us through our doubts and dry spells and any hard days of waiting for answers to our requests. Blessings, friends!

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***Photo Backstory: I used another iPhone pic of my niece’s garden as background. Of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for tweaking the pic & adding the quote!

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This week I might be linking up with  Motivation Monday, Playdates with God, The Art of Homemaking Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Inspire Me Monday, The MM&M Monday Link Up, Sharing His Beauty, Mommmy Monday Blog Hop,Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Modest Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Unforced Rhythms, Salt & LightBusy Monday, Tell Me a True Story, Turn It Up Tuesday,Titus 2 Tuesdays,What I Learned This Week, Titus 2sday Link-up, Testimony Tuesday, Raising Homemakers, Imperfect Prose, Worth Casing Ms Mystery Case, Woman to Woman, A Little R&R, Wake Up Wednesday, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Three Word Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Whimsical Wednesday, Capture Your Journey Wednesday, Adorned from Above Wednesday Link Party, Words of Life Wednesday, Coffee for Your Heart, Juana Mikels Wednesday Link-up, Mom’s Morning Coffee, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Booknificent Thursday, Tell His Story, Thought Provoking Thursday, From House to Home Link Party, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday,Grace at Home, Little Things Thursday, Hearts for Home Hop, Christian Connection,Christian Fellowship Friday, Faith-filled Friday Faith & Fellowship Friday,Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday, Essential Friday Link-up, Friday Finds, Coffee Date @Dearest Love, Fridays Unfolded, Everyday Jesus, On Your Heart, Anything Goes, Paula’s No Rules Weekend Hop, Blessings Counters, Missional Weekend Link Up, Saturday Sharefest, Saturday Soiree, Saturday Situation,Heart Reflected, Recommendation Saturday, Still Saturday, Beauty Observed, Weekend No Rules Blog Hop, Fresh-brewed Sundays, Sunday Stillness, What I Learned This Month, and The Sunday Community.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

16 responses to Does Prayer Really Influence God?

  1. Thanks for the reminder that I need to ask. How can I forget that? I don’t know, but I certainly do. 🙁 So I just now stopped and specifically asked God for what I think I *need* right now because some of those things have gone unspoken. You’ve helped me today!

  2. Very helpful in understanding that even though God knows all He still needs us to acknowledge Him in our ‘asking’ prayers. Blessings to you and yours! Hopping here from Inspire Me Monday and following on Twitter @CrossStitchCafe


  3. That is a beautiful, simply-stated metaphor. We know, and still we need these reminders – this is a conversation. A relationship. A freedom and a maturing, as well as a relaxing-into. I appreciate your words today.

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on prayer; I really enjoyed this one. The graphic is lovely as usual.
    Blessings for this one!

  5. “This helps the child to develop communication and builds relationship.” Relationship is everything! Thank you for this reminder. Visiting from Holly’s Testimony Tuesday. ♥

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, friends! I’m enjoying visiting your posts. Blessings!

  7. Well stated! Leaves a lot to think about on prayer, and what we ask for. Just like children, not every thing we ask for we will be given either! Great post! (Visiting from Salt and Light Linkup).

  8. Beautifully expressed Renee! I love what you said here: “They wait for their child to ask. This helps the child to develop communication and builds relationship.” Because waiting also builds trust. Thanks for sharing these encouraging words today. : )

  9. Often, when I struggle with questions like these, I end up with the conclusion that though I may not completely understand it, God commanded it and I need to obey. After obeying, I often learn (in part) the why’s or how’s. Often prayer is for us, such as praying for your enemies. I believe that I am changed just as much (if not more) than the enemy I am praying about/for. As in all things, our God is very big and we cannot understand all of His ways. Our job is to walk in them. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on prayer with us today!

  10. Love this reassurance that God does indeed hear our prayers and acts on them. Thanks for linking up this week, Renee!

  11. Interesting share thank you 🙂

  12. I have asked that same question…”If God has His plan set, what role do my prayers play?” It’s such an interesting question to contemplate and would make a great discussion among Christians. Whatever the answer, talking (praying) to God makes me feel like He is a good friend sitting next to me intensely listening to whatever I have to say.

  13. I appreciate your example! We see God’s actions better as we communicate more and more through prayer. We are growing in relationship.

  14. Renee I just loved this. I read a book by Dutch Sheets, “Intercessory Prayer” and he talks about God waiting to be invited into our situations. Great post! – A neighbor at Holly’s Testimony Tuesday

  15. Wonderful illustration, Renee, and a beautiful message. Thank you for sharing with Three Word Wednesday. Blessings. xoxo

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