But it’s not that simple or one-sided. People in the bible pray all the time with words. The truth is I most often do. And people who are way more spiritual than me do, too.
Furthermore, there are astonishing numbers of cases (in the bible and the every day world) where people ask for stuff. And then they get it.
Sometimes, these prayers seem to be talking God out of some grand plan he’d had.
God, who knows everything. God who can do anything. God who’s got the big picture. Who is orchestrating the entire universe toward a destination we don’t fully understand. This is the guy who gets talked into changing his plans?
And he gets talked into it by puny little knuckleheaded people?
As I ponder it, I realize that this isn’t just a few isolated cases. There are times in the bible when God says “I want to do this” and somebody else says, “No God, I think you should do that.” And God ends up getting talked out of his original plans.
At it’s root, every day things go on that aren’t much different.
Consider a prayer asking for anything you can think of: something shallow, like a new car. Something more meaningful, like our gentle old grandmother be rescured from cancer.
This whole exchange is rooted in the assumption that things are meant to go a certain way. If we had not prayed, we would have not gotten the car… grandma would have succumbed to the cancer.
One of the crazy things about this, is sometimes we act like we’ve got a reality by democracy. We do our little prayer chains and prayer requests and all those things as if the idea is enough people vote our way God will change the world.
Another crazy thing is that we act like God must be simply making it up as he goes. Or that we are so different than those people who tried to argue God out of his plans. Because, the thing is this: if God had a plan for us not to get that car, we are asking him to change the plan for us. We’re not any different than those people in the bible… except that, often times, we’re doing it for much more selfish reasons.