Prayer and the Sovereignty of God

Often Christians have difficulty understanding how the truth of a Sovereign God, who rules over history and has numbered all of our days (Job 14:5; Psa 135:16), meshes with the call for people to pray and take their requests to God. If God has planned out history what role do our prayers play? This is such an important question b/c the sovereignty of God is the soft, comforting pillow that we as Christians lay our head upon as we make sense out of the world we live in. At the same time prayer is a refuge we run to as we pour out our hearts to our Heavenly Father to seek help in times of need.

We get a beautiful picture of how the sovereign plan of God meshes with the heartfelt prayers of God’s people when we follow a promise from God in Genesis 15 to Exodus 2.

God’s Plan – Affliction and Rescue

Genesis 15:13-14
[13] Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. [14] But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

Israel’s suffering and enslavement in Egypt for 400 years never took God by surprise considering that He told Abraham it was coming hundreds of years before Jacob moved his family to Egypt. It was part of His plan for Abraham’s future decedents. Take note of the specifics of what God says about this time of affliction. After 400 years Israel would come out of this bondage and God goes on to share that they would head towards the Promised Land (Gen 15:17-21).

So God had a plan for Israel. He had mapped out that His people would come out of this affliction and bondage in Egypt after 400 years. Now with that said, let’s fast-forward 400 years and see what happens next…

Prayers that Moved God

Exodus 2:23-24
[23] During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. [24] And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

Exodus 3:7-8a
[7] Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, [8] and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land…

Remember, God told Abraham that He would deliver His people from their affliction after 400 years. So God had a plan to deliver the people of Israel from this bondage. However, what do we read is the cause for God’s planned rescue here in these verses? God heard the cries, the prayers, of His people for rescue. Seeing things like this in the Scriptures is important because what we are seeing is how our prayers sync up with the sovereign plan of God. God’s sovereign plan that was in place before time began and yet we see that it was pushed along by the prayers of His people. God doesn’t need prayers to act or move, but He chooses to move His plans along through the prayers of His people. In doing this He not only accomplishes His will, but He is further glorified by showing Himself to be the personal God who hears and answers the prayers of His people!

The same is true today. God’s plans for history are unstoppable, but our prayers play an important role as they are an avenue God chooses to use to bring forth His plan and display His glory.

Keep Praying!

So keep praying brothers and sisters! God might just be waiting for us to travel down the avenue of prayer to pour out blessings upon us and meet needs so that He will receive the greater glory. Our prayer requests are not just about having needs met, they are about displaying God as the loving provider that He is. When we fail to pray we miss out on opportunities to display God’s glory through answered prayer. May we be faithful to make much of God by continually going to God in prayer knowing that in God’s wonderful plan He uses our prayers to move along His will.

Here is a funny cartoon on Prayer and the Sovereignty of God – CLICK HERE

To listen to the full sermon on Moses and the God of All-Sufficiency CLICK HERE



A Word About the Series: "Cutting Room Floor"
One of the hardest parts of studying for Sundays is that we often have more content than we could ever fit into one sermon as so much truth about God leaps off the pages of Scripture. So just like a film editor who takes out scenes that he loves for the sake of time and the flow of the story he is telling we find ourselves in the same situation many weeks. Some of the truth that gets left behind on the cutting room floor impacts me greatly and I hate to hoard it all to myself so something I am going to start doing (as time allows) is updating our blog with truth that is left on the cutting room floor. I hope it encourages you as much as it does me.


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