@eot1990 That is a great question. I think my initial response would be that prayer is always an act of worship - if we recall the acrostic ACTS - prayer consists of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Even if God has predetermined everything we should still adore Him through worship, give thanks and confess our sins. The only one that would be confusing would be supplication. If God has not predetermined everything, there is still a struggle with supplication because God should still know what we need. Below I will try to address situations where God has and has not predetermined everything - there is overlap between the two, so I will only include to unique bits in each.
If God Has Not Predetermined Everything
If God has not predetermined everything, He should still no what we need and therefore supplication may seem odd. However, I think it is important to remember that from Abraham to Daniel to the apostle Paul, supplication is a critical part of how we relate to God. It is part of showing our dependence on Him.
There is a scene in The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis where Polly and Diggory need food and are hungry, while the talking horse accompanying them is munching on grass. They as the horse why Aslan did not provide food for the journey, and the horse says they ought to have asked. Here is a short excerpt from the conversation that follows.
“Wouldn’t he know without being asked?’ said Polly.
‘I’ve no doubt he would,’ said the Horse (still with his mouth full). 'But I’ve a sort of an idea he likes to be asked.”
― C. S. Lewis
If God Has Predetermined Everything
So, if we believe God has predetermined everything, there is still great reason to pray. Here are excerpts from a few articles that I found helpful.
“The event [in question] has already been decided—in a sense it was decided “before all worlds.” But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really cause it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering. . . . My free act [of prayer] contributes to the cosmic shape. That contribution is made in eternity or “before all worlds”; but my consciousness of contributing reaches me at a particular point in the time-series.” C. S. Lewis
“Prayer, like everything else in the Christian life, is for God’s glory and for our benefit, in that order.”
- we pray to conform our heart to God’s heart
- we pray to demonstrate dependency on God
- we pray that we might overflow with thanksgiving to God
Hope those thoughts are helpful as a starting place. What further questions do they spark? May the Lord grant you wisdom as you interact with those who attend Life Church.