A.W. Pink is one of those past saints who really understood the Word and his times. His words, written in 1928, are as applicable – probably more so- today than they were back then.
Pink laments the humanistic way we look at God, dethroning Him with ourselves.
Let us be absolutely certain who God is.
The God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the God and Father of Jesus the Messiah is God. There is none like Him.
“He is the God Most High, doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him, ‘What doest Thou?’ (Dan 4:35).
“He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in heaven and earth so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purposes or resist His will (Ps 115:3).
“He is The Governor among the nations (Ps 22:28) setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best.
“He is the Only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim 6:15).”
Yes, the Lord our God reigns and does WHATEVER He pleases.
In light of the above, the question, “Why pray?” must be answered. The answer is simple, because God commands us to pray.
But to think that our prayer changes God’s mind or His purposes is the utmost in humanistic thinking. How dare we even contemplate that the God of the universe whose Word was established BEFORE creation would change the course of His purposes because we prayed. Surely not.
Prayer changes US!
Again let me quote Pink (emphasis his):
“‘Not My will but Yours be done.’
“The distinction just noted is of great practical importance for our peace of heart. Perhaps the one thing that exercises Christians as much as anything else is that of un-answered prayers. They have asked God for something; so far as they are able to judge, they have asked in faith, believing they would receive that for which they have supplicated the Lord; and they have asked earnestly and repeatedly, but the answer has not come. The result is that, in many cases, faith in the efficacy of prayer becomes weakened, until hope gives way to despair and the throne of grace is altogether neglected. Is it not so?
“Now will it surprise our readers when we say that every real prayer of faith that has ever been offered to God has been answered? Yet we unhesitatingly affirm it. But in saying this we must refer back to our definition of prayer. Let us repeat it.
“Prayer is a coming to God, telling Him our need (or the need of others), committing our way unto the Lord, and then leaving Him to deal with the case as seemeth Him best. This leaves God to answer the prayer in whatever way He sees fit, and often, His answer may be the very opposite of what would be most acceptable to the flesh; yet, if we have really LEFT out need in His hands, it will be His answer, nevertheless.
Pink then sites two Biblical examples – 1) the death of Lazarus (John 11) and 2) the thrice prayer of Paul for God to remove the thorn in his flesh (2 Cor 12).
In the former, Jesus answered by waiting two days after learning of his friend’s illness so that He would be most glorified by raising him from the dead.
In the latter case, God answered by giving Paul the necessary grace to withstand the challenge.
In conclusion, prayer is not an act but an attitude, showing our total dependency on God, not dictating to Him.