So this morning, John MacArthur was saying on the radio that God doesn’t respond to prayer, is not affected by our prompts, etc… because God is totally sovereign and doesn’t depend on anything on our part. He then said the purpose of prayer is simply us playing out what God has already ordained. Is this accurate? This is the (“http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/grace-to-you/subscribe/podcast/pray-boldly-121677.mp3”) of the sermon if anyone is interested.
Way back in the day, I was Presbyterian; and yes, what he said is exactly where they’re at. The idea is that since God is unchangeable, and since nothing is outside God’s control, prayer doesn’t change God’s mind or affect the outcome of events. They then go on to say that God works through means, and that he has sovereignly chosen to respond to prayer requests as a means of interacting with us in Creation. Prayer, then, is basically asking God to do his will and watching that will play out. If we pray for something and do not receive it, it was never meant to be. If we pray for something and it does come to pass, it was meant to happen; and the answered prayer is merely the first step of whatever God intended to do even if the prayer had never taken place.
Something like that.
P.S. I’m sure that there are Reformed Christians here who are much more skilled than I at explaining the nuances of this topic, and I’ll certainly defer to their explanations. I’m just confirming that what MacArthur said is indeed part of the Reformed school of thought.