Sovereignty and Prayer

Theologians have tried to figure out how to reconcile God's sovereignty with human responsibility. How can God be sovereign over all things, and at the same time we have the ability to take meaningful action? It's fair to wrestle with this, and in the end to accept both at the same time.

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There is one important lesson. Bruce Waltke has observed that before John Calvin tackled the subject of election and God's sovereignty in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, he writes a large section on prayer.

Some observations:

  • God's sovereignty encourages our praying. We come to a God who is able to answer prayer.
  • Prayer is for our benefit. Calvin writes that God's purpose in prayer was "not so much for God’s good, as it was for our good."
  • God loves it when we pray. He "offers all happiness for our misery, all abundance for our want, opening up the treasures of heaven to us, so that we may turn with full faith to his beloved Son, depend upon him with full expectation, rest in him, and cleave to him with full hope." Prayer is a way of depending on God for what only he can provide.

In God's wisdom, our prayers and His sovereignty work well together. Our job is to pray, and to trust that He will accomplish all of his purposes. So pray.