The Scriptural Application of Prayer in God’s Will
Grace Gospel Church Ministry
The subject of prayer is perhaps one of the most intriguing of phenomena that subsume the vocation of the child of God. In the text of Scriptures, the workings of it contain the sum of the believer’s comforts. It is an informed comprehension of its operation in the plan, purpose and will of God that exudes confidence and consolation in the elect’s spirit. Those who prioritize the Gospel of the Grace of God will understand that prayer forms a consensus and operates as a function in the sovereign remedies that evolve from the providence of God, who works all things according to the counsel of His will. In this sense, God works everything to promote the believer’s spiritual good and eternal happiness.
In the view of Romans 8:28, “all things work together unto good” only for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Thus the elect is afforded a catalog of good things, primarily in the spiritual realm. In this sense, God has effectuated the best possible situation for His beloved. The certification of the operations of prayer stem from the fact that He has made, orders and governs all and thus by Him, all things subsist and move. From this, we deduce the premise that all which is transpiring in the lives of His people, regardless of what is occurring; is designed for good, as all things must work according as He orders them. The power and force behind this is documented in the fact that all the attributes of God work for the ultimate good of the elect, i.e., His wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and faithfulness as expressed through His love and grace.
The most expressive importation of trust in the eternal move of God in behalf of His beloved; was experience by the Apostle Paul in his acceptance of the Lord’s response to his petition to be delivered from the thorn in his flesh, i.e., “My grace is sufficient for you” (II Corinthians 12:9). In this instance, above His dilemma, Paul exhibited confidence in God’s (1) omniscience for direction, (2) omnipotence for protection (3) holiness for sanctification, (4) justification for standing, (5) mercy and grace for commiseration, (6) truth and faithfulness for consolation, (7) immutableness for security and confirmation and (8) eternal decrees for eternal blessings. From this, one must glean that all of God’s attributes are committed to work for His people’s good, as does all His workings. Yes every occurrence functions to this end. His great end in the creation of the world, in spite of its current depraved operation, was and is for the glory of His Name and the good of His beloved. He has created and reserved the final glorified state of the Heavens and earth as the eternal habitation of His elect, thus one must view these current earthly situations as merely temporary accommodations along the route of ones journey to eternal blissfulness.
Accordingly, one must be entrenched in the confidence of God’s word, in that it works for the good of His people (II Corinthians 9:8). This entails all His decrees, promises, covenants and gospels. Yes, even the intent of the Mosaic Law was actually the schoolmaster leading Israel and ultimately all His earthly elect to Christ. All the Earth’s sin and misery is remedied by the promises of the good news (gospels) outlaid in each dispensation. It is through the Scriptures that one views the glory of God and the elect’s ultimate transformation unto it. From the word of God is drawn the motivation for the journey through the terrain of depraved creation. As one ascertains the surety of the eternal promises, one finds consolation though the precepts and directions of God’s decrees, in that all the doctrines exudes information that is designed for the believer’s edification.
Hence, all the thoughts and purposes of God work in behalf of the elect (II Thessalonians 1:11; Jeremiah 29:11). As His people are called according to His purposes, so are they justified, sanctified, saved and will be glorified in eternity according to His purpose. In this sense, all that pertains to Christ’s works, is for the elect’s sake, in that “He was made of God to them, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption” (I Corinthians 1:30). From this perspective, all that Christ has done from eternity and in time, including His present function in the Heavenlies; are all manifested in His (1) authority and ability to save (2) fitness to redeem (3) sweetness to endear and (4) brightness to display all the glorious perfections of God (Colossians 2:9; John 1:14,16). All these divine providences work in behalf of the elect’s deliverance, faith, encouragement and confidence in the Lord.
In a word, all the mercies of God, temporal and spiritual, work for the good of all those whom He has made provisions for from the beginning. However the working for good of “all things”, includes many things that are not “good” within themselves. Thus, the averse things of depraved creation must be examined in light in the fact they are in the design of God orchestrated for the good of His beloved. Even sin itself, though it works death and damnation, is yet overruled by infinite wisdom, as it is tempered by Christ who is the wisdom of God. It could be likened to a skilled chemist who tempers poison and produce portions that are in effect medicinal. It is in this way that sin in itself has been worked for good to them that love God. Hence the testimony is that the sin of the first Adam was cancelled out by the righteousness of the second Adam, as the greatest evil ultimately necessitated the greatest good. It is part of the wisdom of God in a mystery that He can bring good out of evil, light out of darkness and life out of death.
It is factual that all the outward trials and afflictions of God’s people work for their good; whether they are mistakenly construed as punitive or understood as the workings of growth and development in their lives. But whatever the case, sooner or later, every believer in the sovereignty of God’s grace comes face-to-face with a two-tier theological problem that seems to exude great practical complications. One tier is this: “If God is really sovereign, then why pray?” In other words, why should one pray if God has already predestined whatever will come to pass? Won’t God do whatever pleases Him or He has determined is best without outside input? The second tier is this: “If we are commanded to pray (I Thessalonians 5:17), how can it be said that God is sovereign and has foreordained everything that will happen?” Can divine sovereignty and human participation be reconciled in this thorny dilemma? Also, how does one pray with real feeling and passion with a clear view of God’s sovereignty? These are not merely questions for theologians. Anyone who has not wrestled with these questions has not waded far into the ocean of divine sovereignty or the designed functions of prayer. Thus it behooves one to take a close look at this challenging but ever-present enigma.