Prayer that Changes the Mind of God

One evening in March of this year, we had a guest speaker give a talk to the youth on how we can change the Mind of God. When he told us that the meeting would be on this topic, I was very excited not only because the speaker himself is a very spiritual and loving man who I had heard before but also because the very concept of human (or anything) being able to change the Mind of God seems almost outrageous. And, yet when considered that perhaps I could change the Mind of God, I realised that I already believed this to be possible for otherwise what meaning do my prayers have if they cannot have a real affect on God and what He will do. Anyway, with these questions in my mind we started a Biblestudy on Exodus 32 and 33, to read and see how Moses once did truly chage the Mind of God.

Moses PrayerHow can we pray, so that we can change the mind of the Lord?

Look at Exodus 32:1-33:6... In this story, Moses has just descended from Mount Sinai and he finds the Israelites worshipping a golden calf instead of God. When you first read the story, you dislike Moses because he tells the Levites to start their ministry by killing 3000 of their brothers and sisters (Exodus 32:27). Why did Moses do this? How could a meek and loving person do this? In the Bible, we see that sometimes he pleads for his people and sometimes he is against them. Later on in the same chapter (Exodus 32:32) Moses goes to God, and asks God to forgive the Israelites, he says forgive them, and take me, take me instead of them and blot me out of Your Book. When he said this Moses meant it, he was offering himself as a sacrifice for his people. This is the story of a sinful people who had seen the greatest miracles imaginable and still decided to create a golden calf and worship it instead of the God who had rescued them and shown them His power. They are stiff-necked people, never learning and always hating the Lord... but God loved them and Moses loved them.

Moses was angry because the people had rejected God and hurt God whom he loved very much. When he told the Levites to kill, it was to teach them to hate sin and to show them that sin leads to death. Moses wanted them to be holy. But at the same time Moses was not simply angry with them but he also loved them so much despite what they had done. At this time in history Moses was considered a great man, he had been victorious over pharaoh and that is why he told God not to kill them. He said, take me... but please do not kill them.

Do we love the Lord so much we would tell others, "enough, love God, please love God and change?" and, do we love the people so much that we would tell God to punish us instead of others for their sins. In verse 11 Moses pleads with the Lord, He is begging as if it is for his own sin (although Moses is not at fault here), and he does not judge the people but begs God. Moses' prayer was not a cold prayer. Moses reminds God of His mighty acts for the Israelites and His great love for them. In this way, Moses touches God's heart and God's emotions. Has God changed since the time when He did all those things to save them? No. He then speaks to God's logic and asks Him how He could kill those whom He took out of Egypt, what would other people think if He killed them, who would trust Him anymore? He then finally reminds God of His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Israel (the 3 covenant names) in verse 13, thus speaking to God's faithfulness.

In chapter 33 verse 6 the people have repented and worship God. Moses' prayer was strong, it changed the Mind of God so that God sent blessing instead of punishment... We need the same heart as Moses... a heart that loves God with all it has, a heart that does not want to hurt Him, a heart that hates sin and loves people...really, loves people, so much you would be willing to atone for their sins. But how can we become like this? Where can we et such a heart from? It is the Holy Spirit that gives us such a heart.

St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in London is one of the oldest Coptic churches in the lands of the immigration, and one of the first to be supported and cared for by our beloved patriarch, HH the late Pope Shenouda III.

  • St Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church
    Allen Street, Kensington
    London W8 6UX