How can we influence God?
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(All quotations from the King James Version unless stated otherwise).
If man could not influence God there would be no point in prayer. The intercession of one for another would be of no value.
Moses interceded for Israel and Aaron
Exodus 32:10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.
Deuteronomy 9:14 Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they.
Deuteronomy 9:20 And the LORD was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.
Numbers 14:19 Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.20 And the LORD said, I have pardoned according to thy word:
Hezekiah is another example.
2 Kings 20:1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, 3 I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. 6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years...
1 Kings 17:22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
Christ instructs us to pray
Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
Christ could have obtained an army of angels from God to prevent his crucifixion.
Matthew 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently (immediately) give me more than twelve legions of angels?
Christ interceded for the Roman soldiers who crucified him.
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Christ makes intercession for us.
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
James advocates intercession one for another.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Paul instructs us to pray for all who have influence in our lives.
1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
God hears all our prayers but will not always do what we ask.
1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
2 Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness...
David (the man after God’s own heart) was in this situation with the first child born of Bathsheba.
2 Samuel 12:22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?
This then is the criterion; God will do that which is in accordance with his will, and we pray on that basis.
We cannot change God’s mind in the way that we can change men’s minds, because God knows the end from the beginning. He already knows what we will ask for and how he will respond – but if we don’t ask we will receive no response.
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I hope you have found this helpful.
God bless you,