Thai Seventh-day Adventist Church of Sourthern California
“DOES PRAYER REALLY CHANGE GOD?”
GODTALK #4, 5/19/16
A. One of the hardest questions for every believer is—DOES PRAYER REALLY CHANGE GOD? Does prayer really work? In every religion, in every culture—people pray to God, whatever they call Him—begging Him to heal somebody, send them money, give them children, help them find a job, keep them safe—something. There was an Arab who was walking across the desert. He’s so thirsty, dying for a glass of water—when he comes across a Jew with a little store selling neckties. He says—“Can I get a glass of water?” “No, but my brother has a restaurant 3 miles over those sand dunes, maybe he’ll give you a glass of water. You want to buy a necktie?” “I don’t need a necktie, you idiot, I need water!” So the poor Arab goes stumbling across the desert to get some water. A few hours later he comes crawling back. “Did my brother give you some water?” “No, he wouldn’t let me in without a necktie!” Is God like that? Is God hard to get something out of? Does God demand for us to give Him offerings, food, flowers, money, or even to sacrifice children as they did in ancient times—in order to be willing to give us what we need?
I. DOES PRAYER REALLY CHANGE GOD?
A. What are we saying, when we say, Prayer changes God. It means God wasn’t already doing everything He could do. But the Bible says, JOHN 5:17ff, “’My Father is always working, and I too, am always working.’”
B. And are we saying--That if God doesn’t do what you want, then pray harder, pray longer, get more people to pray, get bigger people, people in higher position to pray for you, and maybe God will change His mind. It means we think we have a better idea of what is good than God. It means God will finally wake up and say, “Oh, OK, I see what you’re saying, You’re right; I hadn’t thought of that”. It means we have a better idea of what should happen than God, our idea of what is good is better than God’s.
C. If we think prayer changes God, then it either has to change God for the better or change God for the worse. Nobody wants to change God for the worse—but do we really want to say prayer changes God for the better? No, God cannot get any better than He already is. He is perfect. He is magnificent. He is the best. He is beyond your wildest imagination. Nobody can ever come up with an idea of God better than what He already is. DANIEL 9:14 says, at the end of the universe when we all judge God—“The LORD is righteous in ALL that He does.” PHILIPPIANS 2:9-11 says, someday “every knee will bow and every tongue confess, Jesus is Lord.” He was perfect. There wasn’t one single time we would have done anything different, anything better. We will not say, "God, we think You missed that one. If You could do anything over, it would be that one." He is righteous in all that He does.
II. PRAYER CHANGES US!
A. So we believe that prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us. It puts us in the stream where God can use us to do His miracles. Missionaries are somewhere, they need help, they pray, somebody over here is praying, offering God whatever they have, and God matches them up, and impresses this one to do something for them. And the miracle happens.
B. CAMPOLO—There’s an old story about a pastor who was speaking at a Christian college. A group of young religion students were praying for him in the back room, laying their hands on him, offering long prayers, he was wishing they would stop. Finally one young man began to pray, “God, you know my neighbor, Charlie Skolsis, who lives on this street, ¾ of a kilometer down the street, in the silver trailer on the right.” And the pastor is whispering to himself, “Why are you telling God all this—God already knows!” “He left his wife this morning. God, do something. That family needs him. Send him home. Get them some help. Do something, God.” He finally finished praying, he preached, got in the car to go home, saw a hitchhiker, picked him up, “What’s your name?” “Charlie Skolsis.” Remembered the name. Drove off the next off-ramp. “Where you going?” “Taking you home.” “How do you know where I live?” “God told me!” Man’s eyes got big. “You left your wife this morning, didn’t you?” “How’d you know that?” “God told me!” Drove down the street, ¾ of a kilometer, silver trailer on the right. Told him to go into the house, get his wife, "I want to talk to you." She came out, now her eyes are wide. “Sit down.” Talked with them. Led them to Christ, they stayed together, he became a pastor in California! How God works—people are praying, and God uses that opening to impress and persuade people to do something, and miracles happen.
C. KENYA—Young man, Bob, became a new Christian. Never prayed before. His teacher taught him to pray, told him—“Pray for something every day for 6 months. If nothing happens, I’ll give you $500. If something happens, you have to give me $500!” “What shall I pray for?” “Anything. How about praying for a country?” “What country?” “How about Kenya?” Prayed for Kenya every day for 5 months. Nothing. Went to a banquet, sat next to a lady, “What do you do?” “I run an orphanage in Kenya.” Right then he knew $500 was gone! Asked her many questions, she finally asked, “Want to come see it?” “Yes.” He saw the needs, got companies to send truckloads of medical supplies, did all kinds of things for that orphanage in Kenya. All because of prayer. Prayer changes us and now God has one more person he can use. If 2.3 billion Christians all pray, we can change the world.
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