From the not-so-hushed whispers in class behind the teacher’s back, to the loud laughing phone calls with friends, communication is an integral part of our everyday lives. After all, the very fact that we can ‘talk’ (some more so than others) is a huge chunk of what makes us human.
Before we continue our discussion however, you might be wondering how all this talk about, well, talk, could possibly relate with our series on providence. The question we’re tackling today knits together both God’s providence and communication – however, we’re not referring to the typical talking between humans. Rather, we’ll be discussing how God’s providence affects our ‘talking’ with God Himself.
After all, talking with someone who already knows what you’re going to say seems pretty pointless, right? Since God has full knowledge and control of everything, even the future, then why do we need to talk to Him? Why do we need to ask for our needs or blessings if He already knows? If God is in full control of all the things in the future, what difference can our prayers make?
To answer this, it’s best to first understand prayer itself.
With folded hands…
From the very first mention of prayer, where “people began to call on the name of the Lord,” (Genesis 4:25), to us today, prayer is deeply embedded into our relationship with God.
Just like how we talk with our friends and family, we can only grow closer to God if we ‘talk to Him too. But it’s also so much more than that.
Throughout the Bible, prayer is something both powerful yet personal. It’s through prayer that Moses parted the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-29), and Elijah called to God to send fire down from heaven (1 Kings 18:25-38). It’s through prayer that the mighty Aramean force sent to capture Elisha was instead blinded and led into the very centre of Samaria (2 Kings 6:8-23).
Prayer is essentially our direct link with our Almighty Creator. No wonder it’s so powerful!
And yet, it’s still personal for each and every one of us.
No matter where, when or even who we are, we have this constant faithful promise that we can talk to Him in prayer. Like it says in Psalm 66:19, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.”
So what does providence have to do with prayer?
The very fact that God is a sovereign God, who has full control of our future, is what makes prayer both powerful and personal.
The reason we have faith that our prayers make a difference, although God had already predestined everything that will happen, is because our prayers is part of that providential plan.
Instead of thinking of providence and prayer as opposites, it’s because of providence that we pray in the first place. And it’s because of providence that we can be confident that our prayers can be used by God to accomplish His will.
In the words of A.W. Pink, a theologian, “Here then is the design of prayer, not that God’s will may be altered, but that it may be accomplished in his own good time and way. ” Or as how John Piper, a pastor and author, more simply puts it, “Prayer is part of the plan for how God accomplishes his purposes in the world.”
Our prayers aren’t useless before God.
Rather, our prayers are listened to, valued, and used.
And that’s exactly what makes prayer so personal as well.
That God would stoop down to use us and our (often half asleep) words in His great cosmic plan.
Like a patient and loving father who allows his young and clumsy child to move his hand – the fact he plans for this is an amazing mystery.
So now what?
It might seem self-explanatory, but theres only one way prayer can radically and actively work in both our spiritual and practical life.
It’s if we pray.
Pray when we’re giving thanks.
Pray when we fall.
Pray when we go through those tough times. Pray when our life just feels so flat.
Pray for others; for whoever we know who’s hurt or confused.
Pray that God’s plan can work through us.
Pray that we may continue to grow in understanding and trust in His providence.
And finally (or perhaps it’s just the beginning), pray without ceasing.
Elaine (Anggi) Tambunan (14) is the editor and one of the many teens that write in RE Generation-Z. Through her articles, she aspires to remind more teens to live lives as lights in the world. She can be easily identified with a spectacled face buried in a thick novel or doodling.