Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why Pray? (a better response)

(OK, so not all Calvinist jokes are funny...)

If God has everything in our lives already laid out, then why pray?

Seems to me the question can be re-worded as "why get emotionally involved in something whose outcome is largely predetermined?" (Although that's admittedly a bit clumsier.) God invites us to pray, but he also assures us that He's already previewed and edited the events that will unfold. Clearly the point of such prayers would not be for information (God smacking his forehead as he discovers needs of our He would otherwise have missed). Instead it must have more to do with His desire for us to approach life somehow connected to Him, like branches to a vine.

But still...why whip up a sense of urgency praying over needs which will come as no surprise? It seems that predictability doesn't really have to stifle our emotional involvement or our desire to share something with someone we care about. It happens whenever we gather with friends to watch an old movie. We still turn towards each other at the scary scenes and we still laugh together at the funny parts. Not because anything was NEW, but because it was IMPORTANT to us. Redundancy doesn't really get in the way when something is important. That's why I still laugh at old "Airplane" scenes. Just as we turn to each other when a re-run moves us to laughter or fear, so God also wants us to turn to Him when something powerful moves us in life.

Can we change God's plan? It seems that we can, judging from some of the examples in the Bible. Look at Abram negotiating with God over the future of Sodom. Or look at almost anything in the minor prophets. To what extent is God's logic fuzzy enough that He can handle multiple scenarios, or to what extent is God simply pre-aware of just how we'll change our mind, having seen this movie before? I don't really know. And I'm not sure I need to.


  1. It's not that Calvinist jokes aren't funny. It's just that your jokes aren't funny.

    (Just kidding!)

    Love you bro!

    (the slightly younger, infinitely..... you'd never believe it any way)

  2. Often I think God wants us to pray because it ends up showing us so much more of who HE is through opens our eyes to his character, to the way He works, to the way he will use us. Otherwise we so often miss it...