Then I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” So the LORD relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign LORD said.
Some have the mindset, “It really doesn’t matter if we pray or not. God is sovereign. He will accomplish whatever He wants to accomplish.” Well, God is sovereign. I certainly agree with that. But God’s sovereignty should never paralyze our prayers. Check out today’s passage.
In Amos 7, God was getting ready to bring judgment on Israel for their disobedience. Then Amos cried out to the Lord and begged Him to stop. Notice he cried out to the sovereign LORD and “the LORD relented.” Yes, I understand that God is immutable. Yet repeatedly in Scripture, God listens to the prayers of His children.
In his classic work that addresses God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility, J. I. Packer argues that sovereignty does not stop our prayers; rather, it is the reason we pray. Packer writes the following:
If you are a Christian, you pray; and the recognition of God’s sovereignty is the basis of your prayers. In prayer, you ask for things and give thanks for things. Why? Because you recognize that God is the author and source of all the good that you have had already, and all the good that you hope for in the future. This is the fundamental philosophy of Christian prayer. The prayer of the Christian is not an attempt to force God’s hand, but a humble acknowledgment of helplessness and dependence. When we are on our knees, we know that it is not we who control the world; it is not in our power, therefore, to supply our needs by our own independent efforts; every good thing that we desire for ourselves and for others must be sought from God, and will come, if it comes at all, as a gift from his hands (Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, IUP Academic, 1991, p.15).
Oh, Father, we acknowledge You as our sovereign Lord. Please teach us to pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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