Prayer & Summary


Events sometimes occur which give rise to the questions, Hath God forgotten? (Psa. 42. 9), and has He 'withdrawn Himself' from the affairs of men? (Isa. 40. 27, ff.). It must have seemed thus to Job. Mordecai, too, probably thought so. But fronti nulla fides; it is unsafe to judge from outward appearances. When the whole is viewed, when God has manifested Himself by action, it becomes plain that He has not been a neutral onlooker but has, in fact, been an active participant in each event.

It is when the sovereignty of God is not apparent, that saints pray for help and deliverance. Prayer, however, in itself is an acknowledgment that God is sovereign. Why, indeed, should prayer be made unless God is the Controller and Disposer of all things? It is because the suppliant believes that God has both the right and the power to alter the course of events in his favour, or in the favour of those for whom he prays, that he petitions Him. Prayer offered in a right spirit, moreover, will produce an exercise of conscience 

through a sense of moral responsibility. 'If I had regarded iniquity in my heart the Lord would not hear' (Psa. 66. 18). God will not satisfy desires of mere self-gratification. Even what are called unanswered prayers, though constituting a perplexing problem, demonstrate the principles we are considering.


The sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man are thus found to be compatible with and complementary to the working out of God's eternal plan. These concepts are assumed in the prophetic writings of Scripture, and are evident in history. The entry of sin into the world, with all its baneful consequences, has not affected these principles: God has elected poor sinners and destined them to eternal bliss, they meantime exercising their own free will in accepting His gracious offer of salvation. 'From the first day' they believed they have been aware of their indebtedness to God's free grace, ever owning their accountability to Him in all things, and trusting Him in the midst of circumstances which defy rational explanation. Prayer casts them upon God's power and God's love.

'O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things; to whom be glory for ever. Amen' (Rom. 11. 33-36).


© Douglas Carr 2021