Dec 13, 2016

can i change god’s mind through prayer?

This is the question that came up during one of our small group meetings.

Small Group = God-lovin’ group of six couples who all attend North Point Community Church in Alpharetta and meet once a week to learn more about God and his will for our lives.

Small Group does NOT = a tiny group of people who all get together to work through our addiction to eating chalk. Or some other challenging issue like that.


The question was: Can I change God’s mind through prayer?

The answer is: It’s complicated.

At least as far as I’m concerned.

I pray. Tony prays. We pray with our children and over meals, etc. We don’t think of prayer as a way of asking for things. For us, it’s more of a conversation with God. More specifically, for me, it’s most often a way of thanking Him. Thanks for this, thanks for that, thank you for getting me here unharmed, thank you for this healthy life I live, thanks for that yummy food today and that Starbucks coffee, etc.

Every now and then I will ask Him for something. Maybe help with making a choice. Perhaps I ask Him for healing for a family member or a friend.

What I DO NOT ASK FOR? Patience. Because once you ask for patience? You WILL BE TESTED ON THAT PATIENCE THAT YOU DON’T EVEN HAVE YET. I leave that alone right there.

So, what about changing His mind? Let’s say I want something like, I don’t know, a round trip all expenses paid vacation to Hawaii for 14 days. For my entire family. Plus a nanny for the baby. Because I may need some help along the way. Wow. Now wouldn’t that be nice? But, God doesn’t seem to have that in the cards for me. It doesn’t look like it is going to happen. Not even close. But I start praying for that even though He has said over and over again loudly and clearly…NO MELISSA I AM NOT GIVING THAT TO YOU.

What if I keep praying? But, God. You don’t understand. I really want to go on a trip like that. I need to. I deserve it. My family deserves it.

What if I don’t stop although He keeps boldly saying, NO.

Do you think He will give in?

Before you answer, here’s an analogy for you. A true-story analogy.

The very same night we talked about this in small group, I had this moment with Allison (11) on trash day.

Me: Allison, I need you to work on your chores now. Also, take out the trash from all cans, please.
Her: But Mom, I really don’t want to take out the trash in all cans. I don’t think all cans are full.
Me: Tommorrow morning the trash is collected. I need ALL cans empty, please.
Her: Mom, I promise that one is not quite full. I don’t want to take that one out.
Me: staring at my child who clearly isn’t getting the message.
Her: Why do I have to take them ALL OUT?
She refuses to let this go. She continues and continues to beg about that one can.
Me: Do you REALLY think that you can keep asking me and I will change my mind on what I’ve already decided is best?

Read that last line in your best God Voice.

THAT is what happened right before we left for group. Do ya’ think He was trying to tell me something then?

Whoa Nelly.

In so many ways, our relationship with God is like my relationship with my child. I’m the child. God is the father/mother. As a parent, I know what’s best for my child. I KNOW THAT I KNOW IT. No matter how many times Allison said she didn’t think the trash should go out with the bag only 3/4 full, I wasn’t going to change my mind. Same with God and that trip to Hawaii. He’s already made up His mind. It’s not in His will that I go to Hawaii for free. With a nanny. For 14 days. No matter how many times I ask or bring it up. No amount of begging from lil’ old me is going to change His mind. He’s not one day going to say, Oh, you know what Melissa. You were right! I was wrong! You totally get a trip to Hawaii! Yay you!

I’m not saying it will never happen, but it sure as heck ain’t happening right now.

I do believe, however, that we have influence in our prayers when we are in God’s will. What I mean is, if we are strolling along within the will of God and we ask Him for something, then we are more likely to get an affirmative answer because we are doing what He wants. Then again, if we are out of the will of God and we ask Him for something, He’s probably not going to give it since we are out of his will. Maybe the issue isn’t if God answers our prayers, because He definitely does. A negative answer is still an answer. It’s just not the one we want. Maybe the issue is whether or not our prayers, and ourselves, are abiding in God’s will so that our prayers will be answered in a way that we desire.

Perhaps we need to have our wills changed according to His desires for us, not His will changed according to our prayers so that we get what we desire for our lives. Make sense?

So, to wrap this up. Do I believe that I can change God’s will through prayer? No. I don’t think God will change His mind on what’s best for me, no matter how often I ask for it. Do I believe that God answers prayer? Yes, because a non-answer is still an answer.


I told you. It’s complicated. But I’m certain He knows what’s best.


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  1. Kimberly Vacca says:

    I love that!!!

  2. Kate says:

    this place is so refreshing. I find that I come here more on the days when I need to stop thinking and just be. And this post really hit home today.