Question: So when someone has a problem/health issue, we often pray and ask for prayers. Of course, knowing the outcome is already determined, prayers will not change this. Are prayers just for communication with God? Relationship building, if you will? Showing him your heart?
Answer: The short answer to that is simple but runs the risk of sounding flippant. We are predestined to do so. It is part of the plan of God just as it was His plan to sacrifice His Son for our sins. God could have ordered the creation any way He desired yet He chose to do it this way.
Prayer is certainly a form of communication but not just that. God knows our hearts so it is not simply for that purpose. It may reveal your heart towards God to others when you pray with someone rather than privately. It definitely is part of building our relationship with God. It is difficult, if not impossible to build a relationship with anyone apart from communication.
Regardless of a person’s acceptance of the undeniable Biblical teaching on predestination, most Christians who do not accept this have faith that God is in complete control. It is a rare thing to find a Christian who does not believe God can do as He wishes. The difference at this juncture is not as significant as some might think.
One side believes God can do as He wishes thinking God is caught up in the same experience of time as we mortals. The other side believes God has done as He wishes and sees Him as timeless and complete in His being. To God, our present is not in His past, present, or future but is found in His completeness.
As previously stated in other posts on predestination God is All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and Always Present. If someone agrees this is the nature of God then He cannot create anything that is not predestined. To us, time is expressed in the part of the word “pre” in predestined. There is no “pre” for God. He is complete, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. This is His nature.
I am not saying any of this is easy for human beings to understand. Here is one more thing to consider. God has predetermined all things not through force of will but by His very nature. We are willing participants in our sins by our nature. This is easily observed by thinking of our children. Do we need to teach them to do wrong or do we need to teach them to do right? The answer is obvious.
The question is posed in relation to prayer regarding health. That is why I bring up the things above. The nature of man is sinful. Sin leads to sickness, suffering, and death. The nature of God is Holy, Righteous, and Perfect. The opposite of sin. Who else would we pray to (communicate with or want to build a relationship with) for relief from our suffering or the suffering of others?
Mankind is a creature (created thing) subject to time. We do not know the future but we rest assured our creator is already there. We communicate with Him through prayer even though He already knows Matthew 6:7-8 . Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:9-15 and this is so important. Each of the elements is worthy of our attention.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus ended his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane with “Not my will, but yours be done”. It is the model prayer that never fails. According to 1 John 5:14, we can pray with confidence “if we ask according to his will.” Notice, not our will but His will.