Christian BoyLove Forum #64072
A friend of mine has been struggling with this and we've had multiple conversations about it. He asks, if God is all-knowing, why should we have to ask for our needs? And if he has decided the purpose for which certain things happen, how can prayer change any of that? The thing is, the book of James puts a lot of emphasis on the power of prayer, but how is it actually possible for prayer to work, when God knows and has decided everything already?
My answer is that I believe that God has NOT decided everything already. Ultimately, all prophesies will be fulfilled, and the outcome will be the same, but some things that happen to individual people can be changed, because God will listen to the pleas of his people. Sure you can argue that God knows what you are going to pray, but that doesn't change the fact that you should ask it in prayer. Take Sodom and Gomorrah. God spared Lot and his family because Abraham begged him to. If Abraham hadn't prayed for God to allow him to find righteous men in the city (ie. Lot), would God have destroyed Lot and his family along with the rest? I absolutely believe he would have! Prayer makes a big difference. While not all requests in prayer will be granted, many of them will be. Jesus said, "Whatever you bind on earth has been bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth has been loosed in Heaven"* Thoughts?
*Yes, this is my own translation using the present perfect tense like the original Greek, as opposed to modern translations which tend to use the future simple. This also begs discussion as to the real meaning of the text, but is not completely related to the original question...