By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”– Max Lucado
I can’t claim to understand how God thinks, nor should anyone. But Scripture offers us insight into who God is and what He’s like. Its descriptions of God’s interactions with humans can give us a hint as to how God responds to us.
One of the most interesting and difficult passages of Scripture comes from the book of Exodus. Moses has just received the Ten Commandments from God and is up on Mount Sinai talking with God. Suddenly God says that the Israelites are down below making a false idol and bowing to it. God goes on to say:
“I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation” (Exodus 32:9-10).
This is where it gets tricky.
Moses responds to God saying, “Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people” (Exodus 32:12). He implores God on the people’s behalf, attempting to defend the Israelites from the wrath of God. He begs God to change His mind.
And, surprisingly, it works!
Look at Exodus 32:14:
“And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.”
God changes His mind. It would sound like heresy if it wasn’t in the Bible. How can God change His mind? Doesn’t He know everything?
The simple answer is this: I don’t know.
This is just one of an assortment of difficult verses that we have to work through. One thing that this verse shows us is that our prayers influence God. If we didn’t believe that, why would we pray? We have to trust in the fact that our prayers are not pointless but, instead, they are making a difference. In a sense, we are attempting to change God’s mind. We are praying in order to lay our case before Him. To plead for something. And we hope that God will hear us and do something about it.
While this verse may be difficult to swallow, it shows us that our God does not rule with a tight fist. He is ready and willing to consider your prayers and petitions. God opens a line of communication from our hearts straight to His throne room. While God may not need to, He allows our prayers to prompt Him into action.
Being able to communicate to the God of the universe and being assured that He hears you is essential to our faith.
Don’t be afraid to pray bold, Moses-sized prayers. Your prayers have an effect. Maybe we should pray more persistently. Maybe we should pray harder. Maybe we should pray as if we could change God’s mind. Maybe we do.