Faithlife Sermons

Does Prayer Change God's Mind?

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Exodus 32:10–14 AV 1873
10 now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. 11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.
10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation. 11 And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand? 12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. 14 And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

God’s Nature

Merciful, slow to wrath, longsuffering.
Joel 2:13 AV 1873
13 And rent your heart, and not your garments, And turn unto the Lord your God: For he is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness, And repenteth him of the evil.
Jonah 4:2 AV 1873
2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Holy, righteous,
Jeremiah 18:10 AV 1873
10 if it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

God’s repentance plays an important role in our understanding about the role of prayer and about certain attributes of God, such as immutability, timelessness, and impassability. The God who repents is free to answer prayer and to interact with people. This freedom is part of His being the same forever.

God’s Will

Can prayer change God’s mind?
No.
Can God change things?
Yes
God does not change, but He promised grace to those who repent. When man truly repents there are at least two things that change.
Man’s mind
Man’s actions
The result is a staying of God’s judgment.
2 Samuel 24:1 AV 1873
1 And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah.
2 Samuel 24:10–12 AV 1873
10 And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly. 11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the Lord came unto the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, 12 Go and say unto David, Thus saith the Lord, I offer thee three things; choose thee one of them, that I may do it unto thee.
2 Samuel 24:24 AV 1873
24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

God’s Desire For Prayer

Acknowledgment
Isaiah 45:5–6 AV 1873
5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, There is no God besides me: I girded thee though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, That there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.
John 17:3 AV 1873
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
1 John 5:20 AV 1873
20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Reconciliation
1 John 1:9 AV 1873
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
James 1:3–6 AV 1873
3 knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering: for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
1 Peter 5:7 AV 1873
7 casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
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