Does what you want matter to God or does God just do whatever he’s planned no matter what? If you believe your prayers are of no consequence to God then you probably won’t pray much. On the other hand, the more convinced you become that you have influence with the LORD of all things, the more you’ll exercise that influence. And the more you exercise your influence the bigger a difference your life will make.
In the world’s system we often feel like we’re miles away from the power brokers; so far away that we can’t do much to change things. Not many of us can sit down for dinner with the President of the United States or the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, our favorite Hollywood star or professional athlete. Getting the ear of these kinds of powerful people seems a long way off to most of us. We can conclude that what we want will never get heard by those who can change history. That may be true in the world’s system but it would be an erroneous conclusion to make in the Kingdom of God. Any of us, who care to do so, can develop a relationship with the God of Creation and exercise influence with him to change things for the better.
Contrasting Two Kingdoms
God’s Kingdom is very different from the kingdoms of men. Each human being from youngest to oldest, from richest to poorest, from least to most intelligent, has equal access to the Most Powerful One of All power brokers. Do we care to utilize our potential influence? He’s right here at hand, and he’s listening because he places a high value on you and me. Do we believe it? Attending to all of us simultaneously does not even begin to put a strain on his vast capabilities. He delights in us. Our prayers matter to him. He listens. He even changes his plans based on our intimate conversations with him.
Believe it! The most powerful, most loving being of all time and beyond time, can become your closest friend and he will often help you with what you request, even when it wasn’t on his mind before you brought it up. The Lord will consider what you want if you’ll just let him know what that is! He’ll choose to add your requests onto his agenda when you are One with Him and even sometimes if you’re not. He’s already given us examples of how this has been true in history. He is no respecter of persons. What he does for one believer he will do for another. Stretch out your faith for more from him.
Examples from the Old Testament
Abraham and Moses
Let’s look at some examples from the Old Testament. Abraham approached God to negotiate with him on behalf of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. God welcomed this dialogue with Abraham. Check it out here. Do you see how God agreed to adjust his plans as both Abraham and his nephew Lot suggested? That’s kind of amazing isn’t it? Moses did something similar, negotiating with God on more than one occasion. He negotiated with God on the details of this job of delivering the Israelites out of Egypt. Much later, Moses also pleaded with God about having mercy on the Israelites when God was upset with them and wanted to start all over with Moses’ descendants.
Then there’s what happened in Nineveh. Nineveh was the capital city of a nation of people at odds with God’s people, Israel. Yet God was concerned for them. God sent Jonah to tell them that they were headed for trouble. The prophet Jonah knew that if those enemies of Israel repented God would probably have mercy on them and relent. He wanted the Ninevehites to get smacked, so he tried running in the opposite direction to avoid delivering God’s warning to those people. God was adamant that Jonah deliver his message, so through circumstances he persuaded Jonah to quit running and go deliver God’s message. When the people of Nineveh listened and turned away from their wickedness, sure enough, God changed his mind too.
The Lord went to great lengths to communicate with these idol-worshiping people who fought with his own covenant people. When they believed his prophet and quit doing the wrong thing, God had mercy on them even though they were enemies of his beloved people. That’s amazing! Look up the book of Jonah in the Old Testament and read the story for yourself. And as you read other books of the Bible I am sure you can find more examples of God changing his mind, not that he always did. Some things are non-negotiable. God may say no; that’s his right. He is God. I’ll tell you, though, you’ll get a lot more of what you’re hoping for if you’ll ask him than you will if you don’t ask. And our focus here is on the many ways history can turn on your prayers and mine. He gives us astonishing influence with him, influence we can utilize and exercise more effectively.
An Example from the New Testament
Trouble at a Wedding
Now let’s look at an example from the New Testament. Here’s the story about a wedding in Cana that almost became a social disaster. Jesus and his disciples were attending this wedding when the wine ran out. Weddings were multi-day affairs in the Jewish culture of that day. Running out of wine in the middle of the party would have been a disgrace for the host. Jesus’ mother was there and she decided she wanted Jesus to save the family from humiliation. As we read the story, it becomes evident that Jesus had not heard Father God tell him to do wedding rescue miracle that day. We know this because he asks his mother, “What does this have to do with me?” Clearly he doesn’t have solving this particular problem on his list of daily agenda items.
Jesus’ Mother Asks
Jesus’ mother is asking Jesus for a favor. She’s asking him to do something off the grid. Will Father God lead him to help her out or ignore her? We discover Jesus goes ahead and helps the family out. Why did he do that? He could have left the situation alone. He could have just walked away. Jesus does not have boundary setting problems. He knows how to say no. Yet here he amends his plans to add this new item. Why? This is what I suggest: making water into wine for a wedding had not been on Jesus’ agenda for the day, but it was within the parameters of God’s permissive will. So when Mary asked Jesus for this favor, Jesus consulted the Father and God gave the go-ahead.
Tragedy Turned to Triumph
Jesus helped out because it was OK with the Father and because she asked him to help. If she hadn’t asked do you think he would have helped? I don’t. The party probably would have ended early, the wedding host would likely have felt humiliated and for years to come the bridal couple would probably have remembered their wedding as ‘The Day the Wine Ran Out.’ Rather than their big day becoming a big embarrassment their big day became, ‘The Day of Jesus Did His First Miracle.’ Why? Tragedy turned to triumph because somebody who had influence with God and who loved this family thought to ask for Jesus’ help with their need. Today that somebody could be you.
Use Your Potential Influence
You Know Him
You have special influence with God if, like Mary, you know God’s Son Jesus and you know enough to stop and ask for help through him. Are there people around you with needs and problems they can’t solve? Do you have needs and concerns in your own life that you haven’t discussed with God? Do you have friends and family who don’t know the Lord and aren’t thinking about asking him for help?
Scripture tells us that we have not because we ask not. We are encouraged to ask. Your unique position as a beloved child of God gives you access to the ear of God, access others don’t have because they lack the relationship and they lack faith. Even if your friends know God and know how to pray, with more people asking for something in faith comes more prayer power pointed at any particular target. That can help when our requests are big, aimed at large scale or difficult problems. You have influence with the King of all kings. Grab hold of that influence and be sure to use it! Ask. He invites you to do so. Let’s become prayer warriors who engage in prayer and love people enough to intercede for them when they’re in over their heads and divine intervention is needed. Let’s pray!
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