Passive Faith


 I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

~Ezekiel 22:30, NASB


Because God is sovereign, prayer changes nothing.

~Donald Barnhouse

There are two schools of thought on the subject of prayer. Some believe that prayer can only affect the one praying. It gives us spiritual strength, builds our faith, allows us to commune with God, it increases our patience and leads us to surrender but it cannot change circumstances because God is sovereign and He is omniscience: He knows everything. Then there are those of us who believe in intercession. Abraham interceded for Lot; Moses interceded for the Israelites and so did Samuel. In Ezekiel 22 God is looking for an Abraham type to intercede for Jerusalem but He did not find ONE.  We believe that God is cloaked in mystery, that His infinite person and wisdom cannot be comprehended by men. Jesus clearly taught us to pray and to ask when we pray. Why ask, if prayer is simply a spiritual exercise which has no effect on anyone other than ourselves? This modern brand of Calvinism reeks with arrogance: they have all the answers and they are prepared to tell you about it. They scoff at intercession.  I am not comfortable with a man who has all the answers and the last time I checked, God hates pride. So how do we resolve the tension between the sovereignty of God and power in prayer? We don’t. No man can fully explain God nor His attributes. Thank God for the biblical revelation which we have to guide us.  The Bible teaches both the sovereignty of God and the free will of man and they cannot be reconciled.

What bothers me most about the Calvinist, and those who think like them, is their passive faith. Stop worrying preacher, everything is going to work out, God has a plan and He is working the plan so don’t sweat it.  Jesus did some sweating, didn’t He. Am I mistaken or did the dread of the cross cause Him to sweat blood? Can you imagine a Calvinist at the cross telling Peter, John and the women: stop this crying and wipe that sorrow off your face, God knows what He is doing. God did know what He was doing and yes, this horrible day became the most glorious day in history but we humans have a difficult time transcending the moment. Like it our not, there is sorrow, sickness, tragedy and heartbreak in this world. I do believe that God has the ability to make all things work for good and the cross is the prime example but we have to be careful not to give the hurting the impression that we don’t care about their pain. Paul spoke the truth but he did so in love. Every true believer knows that we win in the end and it is not a bad idea to keep the end in mind, but there are times when it is difficult to do so. Until you’ve had a child in St. Jude’s or a teenage child killed in a tragic accident, I would be a little more understanding toward those who are hurting.

By the way, I will keep praying for revival and I will keep praying for my sick friends. Although I cannot explain it theologically, I do believe prayer makes a difference.


Great crowd at our mid-week worship last night: I was encouraged. We had more last night than we had last Sunday. It looks like we are going to have a beautiful day. I hope you get to enjoy it and thanks for reading the blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *