QuestionerOur pastor states (in regard to prayer) that "without God, we cannot and without us, God will not." His point is that if we don't pray for a specific situation, God will not act in that situation. He reports that it has nothing to do with God's sovereignty or omnipotence, it's because He's true to His Word. Is that Biblical? If not, what scripture disputes this principle? Romans 8:26-27 and Isaiah 40:13-14 are somewhat helpful, but I'm not sure they directly address Pastor's point. Does God require Christian/human prayer before He will intervene?
AnswerI believe that the scriptures teach that there are times when God will not give us something because we fail to ask, for example:
"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." [James 1:5]
The context of this verse is trials. We are facing a trial in our life, and God is telling us to ask Him for wisdom on how to solve it. God wants us to be dependant on Him for everything, and trials are often brought to us by Him to show us our inadequacy. It is implied that if we fail to ask for wisdom in the trial that we will lack the wisdom to properly handle it.
Now, we also know from scripture, especially the Book of Proverbs, that by simply reading and taking the scriptures to heart that we will gain wisdom and discernment in our lives. Yet, there are times when God allows trials and expects us to ask for that special wisdom, and if we fail to ask then we suffer the consequences and anxieties of the trial, and God will probably bring other trials until we learn to ask for the wisdom.
But I also agree with the verses you quoted, that the Holy Spirit is praying for us about things we need in life, and God answers everyone one of His prayers. In addition, God is constantly doing things in our lives--providing for our needs and our protection and we may never have prayed about any of those things. Now, it is also true that God may have touched someone else's heart to pray for us and God is answering their prayers. God is our loving Father and will take care of his children, for He is faithful when we are not.
I would not agree with your pastor's general statement that if we never pray about something then God will not and cannot act in that situation. God's sovereignty dictates that He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants with or without our prayer. It is true that God wants us to pray about everything so that He might get the glory in everything, but even that is a learning process on our part.
Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:
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