Why would we need to pray for something that God has already promised?

(Kay M Coryell) #1

This question came from a Bible study that I am doing about Elijah. It says in 1 Kings 17:1 that Elijah told Ahab that it would not rain for the next few years except at his word. Then in James 5:17-18, Elijah prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain… (So that is the prayer)
Then reading in Deuteronomy 11:16,17, it says that if the Israelites turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them… that God would shut the heavens so that it will not rain. (the promise that came before Elijah’s time)
I am trying to process this and wondered what others’ thoughts are about this.

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(SeanO) #2

@Kay57 I do not think that the passage from Deut 11 should be directly connected with 1 Kings 17. The covenant curses on Israel if they disobey are not the same as the specific instance of God rebuking Ahab through Elijah. You could see Elijah as God’s instrument to bring those curses on Israel during Ahab’s reign, but I am uncertain if that connection is intended by the authors.

You may also find the following quote / thread helpful. Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:

“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

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(Kay M Coryell) #3

Thank you Sean for your response and help. So what I understand you are saying is that the curse that is mentioned in Deut. 11, that God told the Israelites of earlier generations that there would be no rain if they turned to other gods, is not related to this event OR that it may be that God was using Elijah as His instrument to bring it about.

So… if God promises something in scripture, I need to examine if that scripture is applicable to my situation or not but it may be that God is working through my prayers to bring about His will…leaving the element of faith intact here.

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(SeanO) #4

@Kay57 Yes, I think that is a good summary. We must ensure we are using Scripture in context (both literary context and the context of our lives) and remember that our prayers clearly are significant based upon the teaching of Scripture. We may not understand exactly how God’s foreknowledge and our prayers work together to result in what comes to pass, but we can know that prayer is meaningful.

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