When We Pray Corporately and Intensely, Can God’s ‘Mind’ be Changed?

Hello,

My dad and I were having a conversation about Prayer.

He asked, “When we pray corporately and intensely, can God’s ‘mind’ be changed?”

Much thanks!

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Hello Farrah,

Great question. This is one I have wrestled with for years. What is the point of prayer? Does is change God’s mind (specifically petitionary prayer) and if not, why does he ask us to do it?

There is one example I can think of where prayer changed God’s mind. aNd that is in Exodus. The exact scripture is exodus 32:14, “And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.”

As I look into what that actually means, I am not sure “changed his mind” is the same way we would use the phrase today. Also, this is one of the only examples where that language is used. There is also the fact that he “regretted” creation before the flood and he “regretted” making Saul king

Regarding the exodus example, the Blue Letter Bible Says:

“The seeming changing of God’s mind in these and in other situations makes people wonder if God is wavering in His word. But this is not the case. In the situation with Moses God was angry because the people had rejected Him in favor of an idol. His desire to destroy them was not unalterable. Moses’ intercession on behalf of the people kept them from being destroyed. From humanity’s point of view God’s mind was changed but God had known all along what would happen. Moses prayed for mercy and God answered his prayer.”

But I say all of that to say, I think prayer is far more about us aligning our will to God’s versus he bending His will to ours.
There are many forms of prayer, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and in those, we see how its about getting to know God and to commune with him which then changes our heart. With petitionary prayer (asking for things or praying on behalf of others -intercession) it doesnt flow as easily. I often wonder, if God is going to do what He is going to do, why should I ask him to do different?

I have learned that the most important thing is for us to take all of our requests to him because it changes our posture towards his Will. IF we go to him as Father, knowing that he is good and that he can be trusted, then we take our concerns to him knowing that whatever the result we can be sure that He has a reason. Does prayer do something? Absolutely, but what exactly in every situation is still a mystery.

If you haven’t listened to this Ask Away podcast with Vince and Jo Vitale, I highly recommend it. They tackle this topic head on and I think can even help you better understand what prayer does.

I hope this helps,

Lou

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