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If God is already doing the most he can do, how does prayer increase his influence?
Question: If God always does the most that he can in every tragic situation, as you claim in Satan and the Problem of Evil, how can you believe that prayer increases his influence, as you also claim? It seems if you grant that prayer increases God’s influence, you have to deny God was previously doing the most he could do before people prayed.
Answer: I don’t believe there’s any inconsistency believing that God always does the most God can do, on the one hand, and believing that prayer sometimes changes God’s mind, on the other, if one believes, as I do, that God has bound himself to work within the variables the condition free will. One of the most important of these variables, I believe, is prayer. As I argue in Satan and the Problem of Evil, because God wants a “bride” who co-rules with him on earth (Rev. 5:10), he has set up things such that, to some degree, his will shall not be done except when his bride aligns her will with his in prayer. Since he’s all good, God is always doing the most he can do to maximize the good and minimize the evil. But God’s involvement in the world is genuinely conditioned by the prayers of his people. When they prayer, God can do more than he was doing previously. This isn’t about him gaining more power. It’s about God creating a world in which agents genuinely share power and responsibility with him.
Tags: God, Prayer, Problem of Evil, Providence, Q&A
Topics: Defending the Open View, Hearing God, Prayer, Providence, Predestination and Free Will
Hearing and Responding to God: Part 1
A reader contacted Greg asking about making “right decisions” assuming an open future and in light of the fact that God seems to rarely speak clearly. In this first response, Greg acknowledges that even with the best of intentions, our decisions can have outcomes that are unexpected even to God! How can we move forward…
Henry’s Mom: Did God Author This?
Many of you were touched last month when we featured some reflections on little Henry’s death. Well, Henry’s mother Jess has started a blog to process through some of her thoughts and we wanted to share this amazing piece with all of you. Jess thinks ahead to the time when her two-year-old daughter will start…
What Hinders Answers to Prayer
Prayer is powerful and effective, but it’s not magic. There is no automatic guarantee that what we’re praying for is going to come to pass, even when we’re praying with faith and in accordance with God’s will. Prayer is a form of co-laboring with God to change the world in a Kingdom direction. Yet, it’s…
Podcast: What’s the Deal with the Laying on of Hands?
Greg and Dan get touchy in this very handy episode on ‘the laying on of hands.’ http://traffic.libsyn.com/askgregboyd/Episode_0210.mp3
What is the significance of 2 Chronicles 12:5–8?
The Lord allows King Shishak of Egypt to almost conquer all of Israel because of King Reheboam’s rebellion. “You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak” (vs. 5). The officers and king repent, so the Lord responds by saying, “They have humbled themselves; I will not destroy them, but I…
Warfare and Sickness
Is sickness something we should come against as spiritual warfare or is sickness just something that is part of our life until the Kingdom of God comes? Greg deals with the answer to this question.