We Pray Because Only God Can Do It

If a Christian really believed that his friend had some ability, power, or goodness within himself to choose Jesus as Lord and Savior apart from the free, sovereign, electing grace of God, he wouldn’t pray that his friend get saved.  He would simply figure out more relevant or strategic ways to draw out what is already inside his friend.

If people had the ability in themselves to be born again, prayer wouldn’t do a thing.  The ability to save your own soul implies spiritual autonomy.  An autonomous soul cannot be influenced by anything.  Alternatively, by definition, prayer is pleading with God for him do something.

The new birth of a sinner is not an exception.  The problem is that people are spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1-5), and there needs to be more than an mere influence on their stone hearts.  There needs to be an ultimate influence.  There needs to be a complete heart transplant.

So, go to your friends and plead with them to look to Jesus (Rom. 10:13-17).  But plead to God that he might save their souls — by his grace he might grant them repentance that leads to life (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25).

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5 replies on “We Pray Because Only God Can Do It”

What does this say about me then? Someone prayed for me to stop believing, and God made me stop? (I tried to find a way to make this not sound so flippant, because I don’t mean it that way, but I couldn’t come up with one.)



God is the ultimate decider of who is saved and who is not (see Rom. 9, John 6 & 10, Eph. 1). However, if someone does not believe in Jesus, God is not to blame.

God elects, yet man has a responsibility to choose. It’s a paradox, but not contradictory.


I am trying to understand what you’ve said in this comment. I’m probably missing something in your use of the word “elects”. Is this another way to say it: God decides first for whom it is possible to believe, but it is then up to each person in that group, to decide whether they actually believe? Wouldn’t that mean there are also people God precludes from believing? That doesn’t seem very fair – or even logical, if God’s purpose is to bring people to Himself!? :)



This is an age old discussion. I’ve written about this elsewhere so I don’t feel the need to write a lot here. But if you are really interested in this doctrine of election (or as some say, predestination), then you can read these links:

And one that I didn’t write that has helped me immensely:


Thanks for pointing me to which of your previous posts answer the questions I’m asking. I am interested. I know I’m jumping in in the middle here and apologize for asking about things you’ve already talked about. If I could I would just start at the beginning of your blog and read the whole thing but can’t see that happening with everything else I have to do. :) Earlier today I did read through the God’s plan series, that you referred me to in another comment, and am working on mentally digesting that.


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