Prayer a Waste of Time?|
Q. I had a job interview for a job I really wanted and needed. I thought I was well qualified. Furthermore, I prayed before, during and after the interview. It went well and I really thought I had it. But, someone else got it because of a silly reason - he just knew more people. Do you ever feel like praying is a waste of time? You can't change God's mind anyway.
Great question! It's one many of us have if we are honest with ourselves - especially when we really need work in order to support our families.
No - Maybe - Or Later
You probably know this but I'll repeat it anyway - God's answers aren't always, "Yes." For example, if your 11 year old son asks you for a car it doesn't mean you haven't heard his request or honored his desires just because you say, "No." In fact, your answer may not even be "No." Maybe it's "Later" - or, "Maybe when you are older."
Prayer Doesn't Work?
All of us have a tendency to fall into this trap. If God doesn't honor what we want, we think He hasn't heard us, or we think that prayer doesn't "work." That's no truer than your son thinking you haven't heard him just because you say "No" to his request for a car.
God Knows our Needs better than We Do
Furthermore, as a parent you know that a car at his age could be terribly dangerous. It's against the law to drive at age 11, and although he might enjoy having a car - it's also inappropriate for pre-teens to have cars for a variety of reasons. In the same way, God knows our circumstances and what we can or can't handle better than we do.
Maybe it has Nothing to do with You
Besides, have you considered that your not getting this job might be for reasons that have nothing to do with you? Is it possible that God intends to teach something to the other applicant? Or maybe your spouse needs to learn something. How would you know? This is where trust in our heavenly Father comes in even when it's difficult.
Can't We Change God's Mind?
Last, concerning your statement that "you can't change God's plan anyway," where did you get that idea?
All through Scripture we are told to pray for our needs. James 4:2 says that we do not have because we do not ask. Matthew 7:7 tells us to keep asking, seeking, and knocking for the things we need.
How Things Get Done
In fact, some theologians have come to the conclusion that if we don't pray most things won't get done! God usually works through our prayers.
Prayer is how we save the lost (Luke 18:13). Prayer is how we get wisdom (James 1:5). Prayer is how backsliders get restored (James 5:16-20). Prayer is how we gain strength to do things (Jude 1:20&Matt. 26:41). Prayer is how the sick get cured (even through doctors&hospitals) (James 5:13-15). Prayer is how we do things that seem impossible (Mark 11:23-24).
As the famous theologian and pastor, David Jeremiah, says:
"God has hard-wired the universe in such a way that He works primarily through prayer." (2004, 45).
Jeremiah, David. 2004. The prayer matrix. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.