‘Prayer Changes Everything’… Um, No, It Doesn’t

People, even well meaning preachers and theologians, will sometimes repeat phrases that sound good but when thought over aren’t all that good, or true, after all.

For example, people say, quite regularly- ‘prayer changes everything’, or in a variant form, ‘prayer changes things’.  Unfortunately, that simply isn’t true.

God changes things, prayer, as a human act, as an act of approach to God, and petition to God, can only REQUEST change.  It itself CHANGES nothing.

Furthermore, you’d be hard pressed to find any passage at all in the Bible which suggests that prayer changes anything.  The closest you’ll come is a passage like Ex 32:11-14 (where Moses prays for Israel and God changes his mind and doesn’t wipe them out).  Even there, though, it is God who changes his mind.  Moses doesn’t change it- or the impending disaster.

God is sovereign.  He changes whensoever he wishes whysoever he wishes and then He himself changes what he wills.  Prayer isn’t a magic talisman that can be waved and things changed thereby.

When someone tells you ‘prayer changes things’ gently correct them by reminding them that it is God who holds power, not a human act.  And if that doesn’t work, remind them that Jesus taught us to pray ‘your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.

Author: Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.

One thought on “‘Prayer Changes Everything’… Um, No, It Doesn’t”

  1. Don’t like that phrase (euphemistically, since I don’t want to say I despise it)! But unfortunately if one asks a biblical base for such an erroneous statement when uttered by someone he/she, will quote the book of James, at least a couple of verses, James 5:16 the most common of them. Of course James 5 is used as basis for the Extreme Unction… and the ultimate “forgiveness of sins”, so prayer for them may ultimately be a “saving agent” as well.

    You say: “God is sovereign. He changes whensoever he wishes whysoever he wishes and then He himself changes what he wills. Prayer isn’t a magic talisman that can be waved and things changed thereby.” – You can say that again and twice as loud! Thanks!

    Like

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