Ask the UMC: Does the church believe we can 'command' God to perform acts?

Other Manual Translations: français
The Rev. Esther Kachiko Furaha prays during worship at New Jerusalem United Methodist Church in Uvira, Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2015. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS
The Rev. Esther Kachiko Furaha prays during worship at New Jerusalem United Methodist Church in Uvira, Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2015. Photo by Mike DuBose, UMNS

United Methodists believe in the power of prayer. We feel connected to God in prayer and can bring all that’s happening in our lives and in the world to God. Prayer helps us listen to God, to empty ourselves and allow God to transform us, so that our will is one with God’s will. We can certainly ask God for what we want, although we don’t believe God is simply a puppet who will do anything and everything we ask. 

The Upper Room’s Living Prayer Center article “On Prayer” explains, “Prayer is communion with the Creator of the Universe, is a conversation in which we receive as much as we communicate. In real prayer, we are not only expressing what is in us, but we are being transformed by the One to whom we speak.

“This God is not managed or controlled by our human limitations. While praying, if this is our God, we are not telling God to run our errands, but we are worshiping and hearing what He has to say. In a prayer like this, we need time to receive what God has to say, as well as willingness to be transformed in the process. This God has authority over us; we do not have the capacity to control Him.”

This is a great question to talk about with your pastor.

Have questions? Ask the UMC. Check out other recent Q&As.

This content was produced by InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications.

First published Oct. 27, 2016.

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