The Bible teaches that God is sovereign and providentially orchestrates all things. In the Old Testament even the unbelieving king Cyrus of the Persian Empire is called “God’s servant”, because he, unknowingly, carries out God’s purposes. In the Bible God is always pictured as in control of all things, even natural disasters, the throw of a dice and the feeding of birds. Here is the question: if all things happen according to God will, why should we pray (or do anything)?
William Carey, the famous missionary to India, was at a meeting of ministers in England to raise money for his missionary trip to India. One older minister stood up and rebuked Carey. “Sit down, young man”, he said, “if God wants to save the heathen in India he will do it without your help or mine.”
Does the sovereignty of God, like this older minister supposed, excuse us from prayer and missionary endeavour? In answering this question, we must ask two more questions: