Day 6: Does prayer change God’s mind?
Author: Pastor Zach Zehnder
Bible Verses: James 5:16-18, Exodus 33:12-17
One of the questions I’m asked most often is this: “Does prayer change me, or does it change God?” The answer is YES!
You benefit from praying. When you pray, you’re connecting with God. Being more connected to God has many upsides. You live with more purpose and direction. You gain a peace that passes human understanding. You possess an unspeakable joy and even confidence in the midst of what can feel like chaos. That’s a robust list of how prayer helps you and changes you.
But I would also argue that prayer changes God.
When I read the Bible, one thing is very apparent: every time it mentions that God changes His mind or “relents,” it’s always for our benefit, not our harm. That’s why He appears to change His mind with Moses and the grumbling Israelites, grants King Hezekiah more years of life, and gives the Ninevites another opportunity to repent in the story of Jonah. These examples give us great comfort because they tell us that when we return to Him, He’s always willing to accept us back.
What does this mean for us in today’s study? It means that our prayers matter! They actually make a difference. It means that when we’re in conversation with God, we can affect Him and bring His mercy to people in a lost and broken world.
James 5:16 reminds us, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
Righteous people’s prayers can change the course of human history.
When we believe that our prayers can change the course of history, it means that we can pray with the same desperation that Moses prayed, pleading for the future of the Israelites. We can pray with the same expectation that Elijah prayed when he asked God to send fire down so that others might know that He is the true God. We can pray with the same trust that Daniel prayed when thrown into a lion’s den. We can pray with the same faith that Jesus prayed with when He healed the sick, calmed the storm, and even raised the dead. We can pray with the same passion that the disciples prayed when they healed the sick, raised the dead, and began the church. And we can pray with the same excitement and hope that our church fathers prayed when they asked God to move powerfully as they advanced the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world.
Many people talk about wanting to make an impact in this world. But, did you ever think that the most significant impact you could make in this world would be through your prayers?
Day 6 Challenge: What is one thing you hope God changes His mind about? Pray boldly for this to happen today.
Prayer Prompt: For the poor and needy