Put this one in your pipe and smoke it

Prayers cause things to happen that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t pray. I wonder if there’s any Calvinists out there squirming. Listen to this: When James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not askt,” that does not mean “You’d have anyway even if you didn’t ask because I gotta plan.” The verse doesn’t mean the opposite of what it says. It says you have not because you ask not. That means prayer causes things to happen that wouldn’t happen if you wouldn’t pray. This is why this is a staggeringly glorious privilege . . . If you do not avail yourself of the privilege of bringing to pass events in the universe that would not take place if you didn’t pray, you are acting like a colossal fool.

– John Piper, in the audio for the sermon Pray Like This: Hallowed Be Your Name (text version here)

(HT: Jared)

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One response to “Put this one in your pipe and smoke it

  1. I must admit the fact that, as a Christian who holds to the full sovereignty of God in all things, the word “cause” here, in relation to our prayers, made me uneasy when I first read it… but then, James 5:16 comes to mind to correct me. “The prayer of a righteous man has great power as it is working.” (ESV) I don’t absolutely understand the relationship between God’s sovereignty and our prayers, other than to say that God uses means to accomplish His ends, but there definitely is a relationship there, and I must remember it, not least for the sake of the health of my prayers. I have noticed that it is a temptation for some Reformed Christians (including myself) to try to make our theological language more “precise” and “exact,” in certain ways, than Scripture itself! How foolish we (I) can be… Scripture drives theology, not the inverse. This is the truth that brought us to Reformed theology in the first place, I trust, and may we remember it in how we think and speak!

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