Thoughts on Prayer from a Non-Calvinist
Sometimes I wonder "What is the point of supplication?" Don't get me wrong, I do pray. I believe that reading His Word and fellowshipping with the saints is how we hear from Him ... and prayer and praise is how He hears from us. I do think it is pretty important for our relationship. So when He hears from me it is usually made up of thanksgiving/praise and simply sharing with God what is on my heart and mind etc... (as if He didn't know already anyway). From my diminutive understanding, thanksgiving and praise is the best communication because it offers God that which He asks for. This kind of prayer is not about me asking. It makes perfect sense to me to offer God this thanksgiving and praise - He is so great and awesome ... and He has given me so much in Christ!
... It is the supplication part that I get all mixed up with.
I was thinking about this last night and talking with my husband. This is kind of silly, but I was telling John about the night before ... and how, when I laid the baby down in his bassinet at 11:00 pm, I said, "God, please let Levi sleep until 5:00 am." Then, I thought, "Maybe I should ask for 6:00 am, just in case God answers yes." (greedy, I know)
I told John that when the baby woke up at 5:15 am, I was most pleasantly surprised.
We were having the conversation about all of this last night and I concluded by saying, "Isn't that weird? Was that God granting my desire ... or was it just a coincidence?"
My husband knows the long-standing struggle I have with this issue (why ask for God to do things when He is going to do whatever is in His will, etc... you know...)
So, my husband says to me, "You Calvinists ...." and he chuckled.
That was especially funny to me. I think of myself as about the farthest thing from a Calvinist. Yet, my husband has a point. If I can't pray believing that God has some wiggle room in His will to grant requests or intercede in the life of a loved one, then my view of His will is very static, which is exactly how I think the Calvinist views the "will of God" - as very static.
As we talked about this, my husband assured me that Calvinists pray, not to change the mind of God, but to "get their minds in line with God's will."
I, of course, replied, "How does asking God to save such and such ... or soften so and so's heart ... or asking Him for anything ... cause one to 'get in line with God's will' ... when so and so may not be part of God's 'elect' ... and my desires may be totally off-base with His plan?"
I really do find that to be a quandary. If I, being a non-Calvinist, am mystified as to the practical purpose of supplication, how does a determinist find it in his mind to ask anything of God?
BTW, I am aware of the fact that we should ask God because the Bible says we should. I am just wondering about the practical understanding of how it all fits together. See?
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Ephesians 6:18)
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6)
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (1 Timothy 2:1)