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Why Does God Respond to Prayer?

Does praying make any difference? Why does God respond to prayers? Questions that have been puzzled over for centuries.

A lesser known reason: Because we are partners with God whose heart is like Christ's. As well as other, better-known reasons. Read on ...

1. Is it that God is a kind of probabilistic slot machine? - the more prayer we 'offer' the more blessing we or others will receive? That seems to be the view at the root of most religions, throughout all the world and through all time. I don't believe this view does justice to God, as God is revealed in the Bible.

2. Is it that God has compassion on the marginalized distressed, the "poor" as the Bible calls them? Yes indeed! Those who cry out to God, from the midst of helplessness and humility, are responded to. God responds to the "contrite heart" (Psalm 51) Such people have decentred themselves, and look to God, not to their rights or wishes. (Those who cry angrily, however, are less likely to be responded to, because they are still putting themselves or their idea of what they want in the centre.)

3. But there is a third reason too: God responds to the prayers of God's people in a special way. Jesus told us that prayers linked to Him ("in my name", John 16:24) will be granted. Also, see the authority Christ's disciples are awarded, in for example, moving mountains or deciding things even for heaven. Why is this? Is it because God is like a cosmic Grandfather who loves to pamper his grandchildren? No! That is the impression we get from many churches and preachers of Pentecostal leanings, but I don't believe it is that. While God does love Christ's disciples in some special way, it is not for pampering but for a different reason.

3, continued. God answers the prayers of those who are truly Christ's disciples because those people are partners with God in God's work on earth. God loves to give responsibility and dignity, not withhold it to himself. Christ's disciples possess the joy of that responsibility. They have the "mind of Christ" ()I Corinthians 2:16), have the Law of God (i.e. what God desires to happen within Creation) written on their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33-34), exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and are those in whom God is working to change their wills as well as their abilities (Philippians 2:13). Such people are "sons" of God (Greek huios) of God (see Romans 8), who in their very hearts and the wellspring of their beings desire what God does and work for it rather than for themselves.

Those are the people whose prayers God mostly and most astonishingly answers. Even when their prayers are not perhaps ideal, God works the intended Abrahamic Blessing to the whole Creation through such people.

Are we among them? Not if we are still seeking blessing for ourselves and our own. Not even if we are seeking "answers to prayer" (think about what that would imply about us). And not if we are too confident in being God's people (as the Pharisee was). But only if we have God's heart for His Creation - human and non-human - and are always looking to bring blessing to them. (It is of course Christ and the Holy Spirit who makes that possible.)

See Also

This page, URL= '', is part of the on-going work in developing a 'New View' in theology and practice that is appropriate to the days that are coming upon us. Comments, queries welcome by emailing

Copyright (c) Andrew Basden to latest date below, but you may use this material subject to certain conditions.

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Created: 21 November 2020 Last updated: