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Does Prayer Work?

When I was a child, I went to vacation Bible school with my friend. On one day, the pastor came in and asked, “Can we change God’s mind?” In my eight year old mind, I had already figured God out, so I raised my hand. When he called on me, I gave an emphatic. “No!” He then asked me, “Then why do we pray for people and situations?” I didn’t have an answer. “Maybe we can change the mind of God,” I thought. That conversation changed how I viewed God and how I pray.

In Exodus 32, Moses went up Mount Sinai to get instructions from the Lord. He was gone 40 days, and the people began to wonder if he was coming back. They decided to create their own god out of gold from their earrings and other jewelry. They built a golden calf, then built an altar and worshiped it. God became angry and told Moses what was happening. He then told Moses that he was just going to destroy them all and start over. He was through with these stubborn people.

Moses quickly came to their defense. He reminded God of all the things He did to bring them out of Egypt. He didn’t want the Egyptians to take credit for their deaths. He then reminded God of the covenants He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Then in verse 14, the Bible says, “So the LORD changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people” (NLT). There it is! Right in the Bible in black and white. Moses changed God’s mind.

Whatever you’re facing today, your prayers can make a difference. They can change your situation and even the mind of God about what’s happening. Your prayers matter to God and He’s listening to them. Moses reminded God of the promises He made, and we can too. Don’t be afraid to ask God to change His mind. Who knows what He will do? What we do know is that prayer changes things, including God’s mind.

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Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Does Prayer Work?


When I was a child, I went to vacation Bible school with my friend. On one day, the pastor came in and asked, “Can we change God’s mind?” In my eight year old mind, I had already figured God out, so I raised my hand. When he called on me, I gave an emphatic. “No!” He then asked me, “Then why do we pray for people and situations?” I didn’t have an answer. “Maybe we can change the mind of God,” I thought. That conversation changed how I vowed God and how I pray.

In Exodus 32, Moses went up Mount Sinai to get instructions from the Lord. He was gone 40 days, and the people began to wonder if he was coming back. They decided to create their own god out of gold from their earrings and other jewelry. They built a golden calf, then built an altar and worshiped it. God became angry and told Moses what was happening. He then told Moses that he was just going to destroy them all and start over. He was rough with these stubborn people.

Moses quickly came to their defense. He reminded God of all the things He did to bring them out of Egypt. He didn’t want the Egyptians to take credit for their deaths. He then reminded God of the covenants He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Then in verse 14, the Bible says, “So the LORD changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people” (NLT). There it is! Right in the Bible in black and white. Moses changed God’s mind.

Whatever you’re facing today, your prayers can make a difference. They can change your situation and even the mind of God about what’s happening. Your prayers matter to God and He’s listening to them. Moses reminded God of the promises He made, and we can too. Don’t be afraid to ask God to change His mind. Who knows what He will do. What we do know is that prayer changes things, including God’s mind.

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Changing God’s Mind

  
When I was a pre-teen, I was pretty sure I had God figured out. I could tell you all the books of the Bible, quote entire chapters of it, and beat adults in Bible trivia. I was shocked when I went to a vacation Bible school at a friend’s church and the pastor stumped me. I’ll never forget that moment. He asked, “Can God change His mind?” I thought long and hard. I decided that since God is always right, He would have no need to change His mind. So I answered, “No!”

He directed me to Exodus 32:14. It says, “So the Lord changed his mind and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened” (GNT). I couldn’t argue. There it was in Scripture. My idea of God began to unravel and my face must have shown it. He butted into my thoughts, “Why do you think it’s important that God is able to change His mind?” I was lost. My mind was still reeling from defeat. He tossed me a life preserver and said, “If God can’t change His mind, why bother praying for God’s help?”

Suddenly, prayer took on a whole new meaning for me. I realized in that moment that the things I most fervently pray for are things I’m asking God to change His mind on. If Moses was able to pray to God and have Him change His mind, then my prayers could have the same effect. That new knowledge gave my faith a boost, changed how I saw God, and shaped my future prayers.

James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man available much” (NKJV). Part of that “availing much” is changing the mind of God. Our prayers have a more powerful effect than we can ever imagine. Never underestimate what your faith can accomplish. Jesus said, “All things are possible to Him that believes” (Mark 9:23). Whatever you’re praying for today, don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep praying effectively and fervently. 

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