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God’s Sovereignty Displayed in Prayer

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel also was among those who called upon his name.
They called to the Lord, and he answered them.

Psalm 99:6

Is the Psalmist saying that the LORD, whom he just declared as sovereign in v. 1 of Psalm 99…is he really saying that the LORD was subject to Moses, Aaron, and Samuel?  I say – NO. He goes to these three faithful men to display the sovereignty of God in prayer. What does the psalmist say these men did? They called upon his name – they called upon the LORD. Well how does that display the sovereignty of God?

Here is how J.I. Packer answered that question in his book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. In the opening words of the first chapter he says,  “I do not intend to spend any time at all proving to you the general truth that God is sovereign in His world. There is no need; for I know that, if you are a Christian, you believe this already. How do I know that? Because I know that, if you are a Christian, you pray; and the recognition of God’s sovereignty is the basis of your prayers. In prayer, you ask for things and give thanks for things. Why? Because you recognize that God is the author and source of all the good that you have had already, and all the good that you hope for in the future. This is the fundamental philosophy of Christian prayer. The prayer of a Christian is not an attempt to force God’s hand, but a humble acknowledgement of helplessness and dependence. When we are on our knees, we know that it is not we who control the world; it is not in our power, therefore, to supply our needs by our own independent efforts; every good thing that we desire for ourselves and for others must be sought from God, and will come, if it comes at all, as a gift from His hands…In effect, therefore, what we do every time we pray is to confess our own impotence and God’s sovereignty. The very fact that a Christian prays is thus proof positive that he believes in the Lordship of his God.”

Do you understand that if God is not sovereign then you are wasting your time when you pray? If he is not sovereign then do not waste one more solitary second of your time praying to him. But … if (since) he is sovereign…call upon his name! If he is sovereign, pray to the Lord; call out to the Lord. It is only because he is sovereign that he is able to answer. If he is not sovereign, then he can provide no certain answer at all. Yet we know that he is sovereign and any and all of his answers are certain. Let us pray, remembering that the Psalmist says that God’s sovereignty is displayed in prayer.