This post is a part of the Sovereignty of God Blog Series going on throughout the months of July and August. You can read about the series and see a schedule of the posts here. You can subscribe to all the posts here.
Today’s post is from Anne Jackson. Anne blogs at Flowerdust.net and works at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tennessee. She also recently published her first book, titled Mad Church Disease. Anne is a wonderful writer and one of my favorite bloggers because she has the innate ability to talk about sensitive topics and allow for conversation to happen despite that.
Fighting in the Pastor’s Office
Currently, I work on a creative team at my church, Cross Point Church, in Nashville, TN. A series we did in the month of June was on questions our members and guests had about anything faith related. One of the most frequently asked questions we received was on prayer.
Our pastor, Pete, decided to do an entire message focused on prayer. Several of us gathered in his office and shared our own thoughts on prayer.
Why do we pray? Does prayer change God’s will? If a five year old has a brain tumor and God already knows that child is going to die from it, why should we pray for healing? Is it really for healing? Is it to encourage the parents as a form of intercession or community? Is it about strengthening the bond of believers – the communion of saints? Or is it to commune with God? Maybe not change His mind, but help us understand, to some degree, His will?
There were a lot of (passionately) discussed answers to these questions, and it was great because none of us agreed on any specific answer unanimously. And it was interesting that those of us brought up more conservatively believed more in the “literal” power of prayer — that prayer can change God’s mind. Those of us raised more liberally believed strongly that prayer is more of aligning our spirits to God’s and that we may not have the power to change the mind of God.
One thing is certain – it’s a difficult topic to answer. I don’t know why my friend Brandon battled cancer as long and as painfully as he did. I don’t know why I didn’t die when I had a tragic car accident. I don’t know why some answers are handed to us on silver platters and others are never within reach.
But I do know that beyond our comprehension in a universe we can’t humanly begin to figure out, we are called to pray. To intercede. And to believe.
I guess the rest…well, it’s up to God.