Questions About Petitionary Prayer

I recently heard an interesting episode about petitionary prayer on the Unbelievable? podcast. Some good questions about prayer were brought up. It is worth listening to.

One of the questions that came up was about whether God would provide peace to people without prayer. Of course God can do anything he wants and when he wants to do it.

So why should we pray for people and their needs? Well, the Bible clearly tells us to pray for others and even to pray for ourselves. But why should God take our prayers into account?

When we think about praying for people in a time of mourning, isn’t it immoral for God to wait for other people’s prayers?

I can’t pretend to fully understand prayer. There is so much that is beyond me. But perhaps this might help us to see another side of human involvement.

When we pray that God to provide food, how does he do it? Although he could miraculously send manna from heaven, he usually works through more “normal” channels. The answer to prayer comes through a neighbour sharing some groceries or a pastor bringing a gift card.

When we pray that God will provide money, how does he do it? I have never had my bank account just miraculously increase with no human involvement. But I have had exactly the right amount needed being provided through a cheque at the right time because of a project I was working on. I have had people email me money exactly when our family needed it.

God seems to make a habit of including people in the process of providing what others need. That is true of food and money, could it be true of other things? Is it possible that God offers peace and strength as a response to other people’s prayers?

That may seem unfair, but wouldn’t it be consistent with the other ways that God works? I won’t suggest that I have the final word here, but it is something to think about.

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