If God is Sovereign, Why Do We Pray? - Radical

If God is Sovereign, Why Do We Pray?

Why should we pray if we know that God is sovereign? Whether it is a curious young mind trying to make sense of the complexities and mysteries of the Christian life and the ways of God or a mature Christian wrestling with the implications of the teachings of Scripture, the question of God’s sovereignty and the necessity of prayer will feature somewhere.

As we answer the question, we must be clear on the truths God’s Word affirms. It is clear that the Lord has declared the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), that he does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth (Daniel 4:35), and that he works all things after the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11). Nothing can come to pass unless the Lord commands it (Lamentations 3:37). 

At the same time, the Word of God is clear that believers must pray. Consider, for instance, the exhortation to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Christians are urged to ask and knock if they are to receive (Matthew 7:7–8), and the saints are to pray at all times with all prayer and supplication (Ephesians 6:18). Prayer is a necessity of the Christian life

So, why must we pray if God is sovereign over all matters? Let me offer three reasons from the Bible. 

1. We are Commanded to Pray

Prayer is an act of worshipful obedience. In prayer, the believer goes before the Father as a child to commune with him and cast their cares upon him. Prayer is an act of worship as we adore and praise our God by acknowledging his power and majesty. 

In prayer, the believer goes before the Father as a child to commune with him and cast their cares upon him.

But, prayer is also an act of obedience. Scripture tells us to “be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12), to “let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6), to “pray at all times” (Ephesians 6:18), to “continue steadfastly in prayer” (Colossians 4:2), to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to “ask, and you will receive” (John 16:24,) and to not lose heart in praying (Luke 18:1). To be a faithful, growing, and obedient believer is to be devoted to prayer. 

2. We Will Not Receive if We Do Not Pray

In God’s wise design, there is a connection between his children’s asking and his provision. James says, “You do not have, because you do not ask.” (James 4:2). This is, in many ways, a remarkable statement. 

One reason for lack in a believer’s life is because they do not ask, or when they ask, they ask amiss. God has providentially determined that he will meet the needs of his children through their asking. 

Is it any wonder that the Lord Jesus Christ urged us to ask, knock, and seek, and when we do so, we have the assurance that we will receive and find? We must pray if we are to receive. 

3. We Pray Because God is Sovereign

God’s children have confidence and assurance in their prayer life because they have confidence in the God they are praying to. The sovereign Lord controls the hearts of kings, the sun, moon, and stars. 

God has providentially determined that he will meet the needs of his children through their asking.

He commands the waves and the oceans, and he makes the dead live. He has the power to break the chains of sin and bondage. It is the awesome God who bids us to come before his throne of grace. 

The sovereignty of God drives a devotion of prayer in the believer’s life. And that is true of every aspect of life. When considering this truth, the question must be, if God is sovereign, how could we not pray?

Chopo Mwanza

Chopo Mwanza is the pastor of Faith Baptist Church Riverside in Kitwe, Zambia. He is a Lecturer at Central Africa Baptist University. He is married to Kunda and they have three children.

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