Can Prayers Change God's Mind?

Can Prayers Change God’s Mind?

Can Prayer Change God’s Mind?

Lord I pray your word would minister life to its readers today to your glory in Jesus name. Amen, Hallelujah! Hope you had a good week? Thank God for mercies.

I will be taking a look at the above title as some Christians sometimes may come to a place in the checkered pavements of their mortal existence and wonder “Does God hear me at all? Then I ask, can prayer change God’s mind? There is no other place for an answer other than from the scriptures. The one that readily comes to mind is found in the book of James.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.James 5:16

When we pour out our hearts to God in earnest prayer but receive an outcome opposite of what we hoped for, we might wonder: Does prayer change God’s mind at all?

I know Christians generally agree that prayers have powerful effects just as the scripture above says , but whether it changes God’s mind is debatable.

It’s important to critically examine questions like this to arrive at Biblically-sound and educated beliefs. But like the author of the book of Romans wrote:

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33

Scripture states of God “For I am the Lord, I change not…” Malachi 3:6 but there is nowhere teaches that God is unable to change in any respect as in his intentions, experiences etc…  And it teaches that God sometimes chooses not to change his mind as recorded in Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Ezekiel 24:14; Zechariah 8:14 but never that he cannot change his mind.

Most people agree God does not always change His mind in response to prayers.

But is it true that some prayers of God’s people in the Bible did influence His decisions?

Let us check out some Scriptures

Throughout the Old Testament, the children of Israel repeatedly turned away from God and angered Him to the point that He threatened to destroy them. In desperation, Moses intervened on their behalf and pleaded with the Lord to withhold the destruction He had planned. Time and time again, God answered Moses’ prayers with mercy and chose not to bring about the destruction He had threatened.

For example, in Exodus 32 the Israelites created a golden calf and worshipped it in place of God. The Lord in his fury threatened to destroy His people (Exodus 32:10 ). Moses threw himself at God on behalf of the Israelites, pleading for Him to relent:

“Change your mind about this terrible disaster you have threatened against your people!” (Exodus 32:12 NLT).In his unfailing mercy, “12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.” Exodus 32:12

What would have happened if Moses had not turned to God in prayer?

Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.” Psalms 106:23

Even the Psalms imply that if Moses had not pleaded for God’s mercy on their behalf, the Israelites would have been destroyed. But God in His faithfulness responded to Moses’ pleas and spared His people.

Like the Israelites, the people of Nineveh also experienced God relenting from His plan of destruction after they turned towards Him:

“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” Jonah 3:10

With both the Israelites and the Ninevites, God chose to spare them in response to human prayers and repentance. This decision on God’s part to act a certain way because people cried out to him is, I believe, a recurrent theme throughout the Bible.

Similar examples of God choosing to relent from His plans in response to the prayers and sufferings of people are seen in Numbers 11:1-2; Numbers 14:12-20; Numbers 16:20-35, Numbers 41-48; Deuteronomy 9:13-14, Deuteronomy 18-25; Judges 10:13-18, Judges 11 :1-33; 2 Samuel 24:17-25; 1 Kings 21:27-29; 2 Kings 13:3-5; 2 Kings 21:27-29; and 1 Chronicles 21:15.

In both the Old and New Testaments, God responded in mighty ways to the prayers, petitions and needs of His people. He provided incredible military victories against impossible odds, sent rain in the midst of droughts, created food during times of famine, freed slaves from bondage, healed the sick, delivered people from demonic possession, and raised the dead back to life.

Had His people not cried out to Him in prayer, would the outcomes still have been the same?

If you take time to study the scriptures concerning the character and actions of God throughout the Bible, the more you’d notice that God changes His mind and plans in response to the prayers of His people as He sees fit. I believe that is another aspect of Him showing love towards His creatures.

We serve a God who cares deeply for His creation and longs desperately to be in relationship with each of us. Prayer is essential to that relationship, for it is the method by which we talk intimately with Him. I find prayer to be that vehicle that translates us towards that call of intimacy with God.

In other words, because God’s ultimate desire is for us to live in a loving relationship with Him, and because prayer is the means he created in order for that relationship to exist, God might very well determine that some things will only come to pass through prayer.

Ultimately, it’s not about God giving us what we want. It’s about communicating with our Creator and living intimately with Him.

With all that said, however, we will experience times when God answers our prayers with a “no” for reasons beyond our understanding.

Regardless of whether we believe prayer changes God’s mind, if we trust that God is sovereign and that His love always prevails in the end, we can trust that our prayers are not in vain and He is at work redeeming all things even things that look like unanswered prayers, Amen.

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