Ask Pastor Adrienne: Is God waiting for us to pray?
I've heard that God won't do anything unless Christians pray. Is this true?
A: Yes and no. Our God is in constant, unceasing action, even when nobody prays. For example, think of all the involuntary movements happening inside your body right now - your heart beats and your lungs breathe, your ears hear, eyes blink - all of that, if we believe the Bible, is overseen by God. "For in him we live and move and exist ... we are his offspring" (Acts 17:28, NLT). Our fragile form is literally resting in God's hands.
Gravity, the ocean's tides, the sun and moon cycles, seasons, rains, and weather are more examples of God's sovereign care for us even when no one acknowledges his good works or prays for them.
Yet God created humans because he desired to have a family. He wanted, as the Apostle Paul called it, "offspring," beings made in his image who could enter into personal relationships with him. The first several chapters of the Book of Genesis explain this truth in detail. Since God created us to connect with him, he made sure we were designed to accomplish it on every level: We hear God when he speaks; feel God when he comes near to us; see him move through the beauty of nature or divine intervention and miracles ... and we have the power to speak to God and be heard by him.
This conversation between man and God is called "prayer." It's one of God's favorite things. So yes, there are times the Lord restrains himself to accomplish something in the earth because he wants his children to pray, ask and believe in him to do it - provoking him to do it, in fact. God is a father, remember, so he loves when we run to Daddy and ask. He delights in providing for us just like any good father. "But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32, 32 TPT). The Lord will often wait until we pray so he may celebrate our pursuit of him and empower our connection with an answer.
Only humans pray. Think about that. Even high-functioning primates, while they may be intelligent enough to memorize a group of words, don't spontaneously connect with their Creator and communicate with him. God gave people this privilege. Then, when we accept Christ, God replaces our darkness with himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit. We then have the ability to powerfully evoke change in the earth using our words that come from him. Words, when used as prayer, are powerful because we are imitating God. He used words to create the earth: "Let there be light!" "Be fruitful and multiply!" It's safe to say then, that if we're made in God's image, and we're dipping into his toolbox to get things done (praying, speaking forth, commanding, petitioning), then we have the power to change the world for the good in the same way he brought it into being. Did you realize you have that kind of power?
The last important detail regarding prayer is that it does require faith. Anyone can read words on a page or speak a rehearsed script. But a humble, bowed-head and a heart filled with love for God makes all the difference in a powerful response.
If praying was a vocation, then we have two main responsibilities in our Christian career: 1) use our words (prayers) to thank God for everything he does, known and unknown; and 2) search out what prayers God is waiting to answer and pray them. If your world is not the one you want, change it with prayer. "But I can promise you this. If you had faith no larger than a mustard seed, you could tell this mountain to move from here to there. And it would. Everything would be possible for you" (Matthew 17:20, CEV).
Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: email@example.com or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information, please visit www.adriennewgreene.com or tune into the "Ask Pastor Adrienne" YouTube channel.