Exploring Prayer With
By Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
Chapter 7 — Prayer and the Sovereignty of God
Psalm 2, "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
Some argue that because God is sovereign, He determines all that there is to be. These say that God is dependent only upon Himself; hence, mere mortals could never influence His actions. How then could He be moved to action by the prayer of a mortal? They say if God is such, then an answer to our prayers would mean condescension to our weakness.
Now this would be true if God were only one Person, but fortunately, God is three Persons, and in the great doctrine of the trinity, we reconcile God's sovereignty and man's influence on Him to do what He would not have done had man not have prayed. Let us begin this reconciliation.
1. God gave His Son equality and fellowship with Himself. John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
2. God gave His Son a place as counsellor. Isaiah 9:6,7, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." As is mentioned in other chapters, the word "counsellor" here means mainly that Jesus was and is the Heavenly Father's counsellor.
3. God gave Jesus asking privileges. Psalm 2:6-8, "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." Note the words, "Thou always hearest Me," in John 11:42. So the first praying was done by Jesus to the Father.
4. The Father and Son always were together. Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The word "God" here is the word "Elohim," which is a word that means "plurality and unity." Notice also Genesis 1:26, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." Especially look at the words, "Our image." Here we have the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit working together in unity.
5. All that God does is done through prayer. John 1:3, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." Jesus said, "Father, let's make a world," and that world was made.
6. Hence, prayer had its source in the very being of God Himself, as the Father listened to the counsel and prayer of His Son.
7. This means that the Son has influence on the Father.
8. Since the Son influences the Father, if we can influence the Son, we can influence the Father. John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 15:7, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." We have to come through the Son to the Father. Now the key to this is the Son's union with the Father and our union with the Son. Psalm 37:4, "Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." This is why the unbelieving Jew cannot pray. This is why the liberal who denies the deity of Jesus cannot pray. It IS true that mortal men cannot determine the actions of a sovereign God, but the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, can determine the actions of His Father, and since Jesus is the God-man of the trinity, this very nature makes it possible. Man could not enter into a union with God, but as God, Jesus can, and God could not enter into a union with man, but as man, Jesus can. So we contact the Man, Christ Jesus, and the Father contacts the God, Christ Jesus; hence, man contacts God through His Counsellor, and our Saviour, the God-man, Christ Jesus.
Perhaps a small chapter like this is not vital in the average Christian's prayer life, but to one who dwells upon the greatness of God, such a thought is sweet and precious. We as men can influence the Man, Christ Jesus. Our Heavenly Father as God can be influenced by the God, Christ Jesus. Hence, through Jesus man can be used as a tool with which to open the great heart of God.
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