I believe this comes under the differences between promises and vows. Having said that, yes, it is all right to promise God to do such and such if he answers our prayers in a particular way as long as we keep in mind and have as a part of our petition the request that it be done according to God’s will.
Are they pointless, since God has a ‘plan’ for us anyway?
I hope not because it would mean that anything we prayed for would be pointless. While God has a plan for each of us, we do not know that plan in its fullness at any one point in our lives. We can hardly be expected to not ask simply because God has a plan.
And shouldn’t we be doing whatever we are offering as our side of the covenant anyway, since we think it will be pleasing to God?
Looking forward to hearing your answers…
Yes, but that doesn’t negate the necessity of asking. After all it was Jesus who told us to persevere in prayer, to ask, to knock, to seek, to find.
Making a “covernant” or “bargain” only pleases God when we leave the ultimate decisions to answer our prayers as we’d like with him. He always reserves the right to say, “Yes,” or “Not now.” or “No.”