If God is sovereign, why pray? I’ll answer this question and comment on current events today. Listen in!
Transcribed version of podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Ruth 4:12
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Hey, friends. This is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Wednesday, January 22. This is episode number 875, and I think I’m getting my voice back, and I’m a little fired up. Stick around. I think you’re going to be encouraged.
So lots going on right now in the culture. You guys know that I’m a huge fan of the March for Life. That activity starts today in Washington, DC, and the rally, the actual march is happening on Friday, January 24, so just two days until that happens. I hope you guys are engaged in that process, praying for them. There have been lots of similar marches happening around the country. People standing in solidarity, saying that, “We will defend until their very last breath the lives of the unborn in this nation.” I saw a really wonderful interview the other day with a young man who has Down syndrome and he was saying he does not want abortion to be illegal. He wants it to be unthinkable, and so I stand with him and I hope you guys are going to pray for the March of Life starting today in Washington, DC with the rally happening this Friday, January 24.
Speaking of January the 24th I am headed to Frisco, Texas in just a couple of days. I’ll be speaking for the Texas Homeschool Coalition Homeschool Moms Winter Summit, and we are going to have a hootin’ hollerin’ good time. I hope you guys are going to come on out and get encouraged. If you need a little bit of a shot in the arm, this is a great place for you to do it. The Texas Homeschool Coalition Homeschool Moms Winter Summit, happening this weekend in Frisco, Texas. I will be there along with my friend Roxanne Parks, and the following weekend, we’re going to do it all over again in Houston, and I hope that if you’re anywhere in the area you’ll come out and get encouraged.
Thing of it is, homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. It really isn’t. I’d love to sit here and tell you guys it’s easy and wow, the birds sing every day, and my kids wake up in the morning and they’re just dying for me to do math with them, but really it doesn’t work that way, and we need to encourage each other that this thing that we’re doing, this homeschool thing that we’re doing really is worth it. You guys can register at wintersummit.thsc.org, and I hope to see you there. Also, right after the Houston summit is over, I am flying to Greenville for the Bob Jones University Press Homeschool Foundations Summit. I’m keynoting that event, and on February 4 it is going to be live streamed on the BJU Facebook page, and so we’ll link back to that in the show notes today.
If you guys have never had a chance to hear me speak, I’m going to be actually talking on something I’m very passionate about, which is faith in culture, and how should our faith impact us? How should it impact the culture? And I believe that God’s word teaches that should have an incredible impact on the culture, and something I’m really excited about is the fact that we are watching more and more Christians getting off the bench and onto the battlefield. This is the theme really for my women’s conference, Faith That Speaks, and I’m really excited about Faith That Speaks. Registration for that is happening right now and you can go to heidistjohn.com/events for more information, but I’m going to be in Lakeland, Florida coming up on the 21st of February.
You guys, this is the one event every year that I would love to see as many of you come to as possible. This year we’re doing something a little different. We’re shaking it up. My friend Elizabeth Johnston, The Activist Mommy, and Kathy Barnette, who is a Fox News contributor, and she just announced she’s running for Congress in her district in Pennsylvania, they will be joining me on the road this year for Faith that Speaks. And you guys are going to be encouraged. We’re going to do a Q&A session. You’re going to get a chance to interact with these women, to talk to them about questions that you might have about how to get involved in the culture, and how our faith can actually motivate us to walk with the Lord and to change the culture everywhere that we are. We are called to be a light, salt and light. And what exactly does that look like?
And so I hope you guys will check it out. If you haven’t already looked for me online, check it out. Heidistjohn.com/events, and if you haven’t noticed that the culture is struggling, all you gotta do is look around you, right? Where are the answers to the difficult questions that we’re facing? Where are God’s people? This is something I’ve been asking myself for several years, and here in our nation and in fact around the world, the need for healing is great, but in the midst of one of the most spiritually challenging times in human history, God’s people seem to have forgotten who they are. We’re living in a world that desperately needs Jesus. It needs Christians to stand in the gap who will speak about their faith instead of shrinking back in timidity. The Bible teaches that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind, and as the church has lost its voice, the world has lost its way.
So you guys, come on out. You’re going to love hearing from Kathy Barnette and Elizabeth Johnston. We’re going to remind you of what we’re here for, of what God says this world was going to be like. He said, “Keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication.” And what he’s saying is, “Come to me. Ask me. Make supplication for all of the believers, and also for me that my words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly as I ought to speak.” That’s the Apostle Paul exhorting us to put on the full armor of God. In Psalm 107 verse two, the Psalmist says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, and in faith it speaks.” That’s exactly what we’ll learn to do. We’re going to learn what it looks like to say so. We’re going to learn to boldly declare who we are in Christ, through time in his word, through worship, through conversations, through live Q&A and opportunity for you guys to engage directly with me and with my special guests. So come on out, heidistjohn.com/events.
If you are interested in coming to the Lakeland, Florida event, early bird registration ends this weekend, and if you register now through this weekend, you’re going to get a free gift and we’re going to give you a skip to the head of the line pass, which is really great because you’ll get the best seating, and I’ll be there early to sign books and talk to you guys. So come on out, heidistjohn.com/events.
I wanted to touch on a couple of things that are happening in the news right now, not the least of which was the Women’s March. You guys watch that? No, of course you didn’t. We actually didn’t engage in the Women’s March, but I think it’s really interesting, because the attendance at the Women’s March is rapidly declining. Why? Because they’re anti-Trump, pro-abortion, anti-man, pro-gender neutrality, pro-transgenderism, pro, I don’t know, partial birth abortion. The whole thing. It lacks substance. It really does. “Why do we march? Because we can. Why do we march? We’re angry.”
I listened to a guy on the news the other day saying that the whole march really is motivated by anger. When he was there, he said there really wasn’t a cohesive message, and so instead of addressing issues like sexual assault or domestic violence, issues that actually pertained to women, the Women’s March this past weekend was really just focused on hating Trump, and I think it’s alarming, honestly, you guys, because we’ve got big issues in this nation, and I said this several years ago, that when the Women’s March started, they don’t speak for me. I wish they wouldn’t call themselves the Women’s March. I wish they would call themselves the man-hating, anti-law, abortion loving Women’s March. If they would do that, then I’d be like, “Okay, I’m down with it. Go ahead and March.”
So interestingly, contrast that with the March for Life, which is growing in leaps and bounds. And so I believe that the March for Life is approaching its 50th year this year, and every single year when I watch the reports on that, I would say it’s severely underreported by the media, and about a quarter of the people who attend are young people, which really bodes well for the March for life and for the movement for life as a general rule, saying young people are saying, “No, abortion is not okay. It’s absolutely not okay,” and it is growing and growing and growing. And so we’re excited to see that happening this year.
I heard Pete Hegseth say that the Women’s March is devoted to a grab bag of leftist causes, and contrast that to the March for Life, and they say they’re hoping 100,000 or more are going to gather in the nation’s capital on Friday, and this will be 10 times more than the Women’s March this year. So that’s exciting for me.
Also, on a personal note, you guys know that I am so excited to see people getting off the bench and onto the battlefield, and I’m going to start doing a segment every Wednesday here and introduce you to people who are getting off the bench, and I’m getting letters, and so keep them coming. If you want to tell me what you’re doing to get off the bench and onto the battlefield, I’d love to hear your story and possibly have you on the podcast to share it with the listeners here. How exactly did you decide to get off the bench? How exactly did the Lord speak to you? What was it that really pulled at your heartstrings enough for you to say, “Yes, absolutely. I’m going to do this.”
And one of my favorite people in the whole wide world, my friend Steve Lambert, you guys have heard him on the show with me before. He and his wife Jane, very, very dear friends of ours. Jane is the author of Five in a Row. They are homeschool heroes, as far as I’m concerned. And on Tuesday he filed to run for Lee’s Summit City Council district one. This is my friend, running for city council. Off the bench onto the battlefield. So if you guys live in the Kansas City area, and especially if you’re in Lee’s Summit in district one, check it out. This is my friend Steve Lambert, I’m not even kidding, on the ballot. I was like, “Look at you. You go.” So pray for him, would you guys? Just pray for him as he does this for his family, and I love, love, love, Steve, if you’re listening, Jane, if you’re listening, I love that he used the hashtag #offthebench when he announced that he had filed to run for Lee’s Summit city council. So really exciting times here just to see God’s people say, “You know what? We should get involved,” and it’s exciting. These are exciting days to be a Christian, and exciting days to just get involved and engage in the process around us.
All right. I’m going to answer two questions from listeners today and they sort of have to do with each other, so I sort of put them together. I’m hoping my voice will hang on through the whole podcast. Thank you guys for praying for me. Like I said, I came home from Florida, and just bam, got hit with this flu and lost my voice, and couldn’t walk up the stairs, and the whole thing. So I’m feeling better now, but I appreciate your prayers.
A lady wrote to me and she was talking about wisdom, and she said, “Heidi, you’ve spoken about wisdom out on the road and I’ve heard you talk about this with homeschooling families, but I am really struggling to understand what the Bible says about wisdom versus knowledge. As a homeschool mom, I have really been focused on educating my children in the three Rs, knowing that I could do a better job than the school. Unfortunately, I missed an opportunity with my teenage son who seems now to be walking away from the Lord, and I realized, to my angst and with great regret, that I did not instruct my children in the ways of the Lord. Rather, I focused on academics. Do you have any encouragement for me? And my second question is, if my son was going to walk away from the Lord anyway, why am I praying for him in the first place?”
So she’s asking, “Why should we pray?” And I’m going to tie that into another question from a listener who also asked a similar question. So let’s talk about wisdom for just a minute. Proverbs chapter two verse 12 says, “Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose words are twisted.” And if there was ever a time for parents to be focused on teaching their children wisdom, now is the time. God’s word tells us that wisdom, not knowledge, is what we should be aiming for. Now, am I saying, “Hey, don’t teach your kids academics. Just put down that math book if it’s awful for you, and don’t teach your kids cursive, and don’t teach them to read”? No.
I spent several hours earlier today teaching my last homeschooler, my little nine year old, Sailor, long division, and I’ll be honest with you, I’m tired of long division. I didn’t like long division when I was in the fourth grade, and I don’t like it now, but you know what? She has to learn it. And we actually had a pretty decent time learning today, and then we spent some time reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and then we spent some time talking about some things that are happening in the world around us.
You guys, homeschooling is an incredible opportunity for you to engage with your children on an academic level, absolutely, but it’s even more important that you engage with them on a spiritual level and you teach them discernment. If Solomon is saying that wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose words are twisted, then it goes without saying that there are evil people in the world who are twisting their words for evil purposes, and our children need to have discernment. They need to know the difference between right and wrong. Spurgeon said discernment was knowing the difference between right and almost right. And if ever there was a time for us to know that, now is the time. I think largely this is why the church has become really impotent in the world today, because we have squandered the opportunity that we have been given to study, as Paul said to Timothy, “to show ourselves approved workman who do not need to be ashamed, who can rightly divide God’s word.”
And over and over in the Bible, God teaches us that wisdom is what we should be striving for. Knowledge puffs up. You’ve been to any secular or even Christian university lately? All these kids coming out into the secular world, and out of high school, and onto college campuses, and they don’t have any wisdom, but they have all this knowledge, and they don’t know how to apply it. Wisdom is the ability to apply what we’ve learned in listening to, in conjunction with the Holy Spirit.
And so Mom, I hear the regret in your voice, and a couple of things, I want to address it really quickly, because first of all, your children, all of our children reach an age of accountability. And I’m always telling parents, Jay and I have said to our kids, “Our goal is to get you to adulthood with as little regret as possible.” Sometimes that means that our kids are going to say, “Well, I feel like I had kind of a boring life compared to some of my friends,” but actually Jay and I aren’t after that with our kids. We’re after teaching them wisdom, and we help them to make decisions so that hopefully when they get out of high school, they can navigate the world on their own, and listening to the Holy Spirit, they can hear his voice.
But Mom, even if you miss that opportunity, it’s never too late to pray for your children. It’s never too late to pray for them. Don’t stop praying for your children. Don’t stop loving them. Don’t stop contending for them. We don’t stop contending from weariness. We don’t stop contending because we’re discouraged. Don’t stop contending for your children.
I had another mom write to me and she said, “Heidi, thank you for the work you do on your show. I wonder if you can help me understand something about prayer and the sovereignty of God. Every time I pray, I can’t help but think that no matter what I do, God’s will is always going to be done anyway. I believe in God’s sovereignty and I submit to it, and so many times we hear that God’s answer is sometimes no, and that’s always for our good. And I believe that. But if God’s will is going to be done regardless of what we do, then why pray? I believe he hears our prayers and that he loves us. I just don’t understand how to balance his sovereignty with our prayers.”
This is a great question, and frankly it goes to this lack of understanding about prayer and about our responsibility, really, to engage in the world around us, right? This is my hashtag #offthebench. This is where it just rises up inside of me, because the same person that will say, “Well, God’s sovereign, so just it’s going to play out anyway. So why should we get involved?” Right? So that’s fatalism, and to me it has more to do with cowardice and less to do with God’s sovereignty.
And the Bible teaches us why we should pray. You see, we pray because Jesus told us to pray. So that’s kind of the short answer, right? He does not hope that we’ll pray. He doesn’t ask us to pray. He commands us to pray. Paul also commands that we pray, and in what’s called The Lord’s Prayer, which really is a model for the disciples and for all believers to learn to pray, Jesus says, “Pray in this manner.” Again, Jesus tells believers that they should always pray. In Luke chapter 18, verse one, “Don’t give up. Always pray.” Paul tells us that we should pray in the spirit on all occasions with prayers and requests. That’s Ephesians 6:18. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, he doesn’t say, “Please pray. I hope you’ll pray.” He says, “Pray without ceasing.”
In the Bible, Jesus prayed very often. Now, if Jesus needed to pray, then I for sure do. And Paul prayed, and we should be praying, but then the question comes up, “If God is sovereign, then why?” So the first answer to that question always is, “Because we are commanded to pray.” And then when we start thinking, “Well, God is sovereign, so why does it matter?” Here’s why your prayers matter. Are you ready? Your prayers matter because you are talking to the living God. Who has a friend that they never talk to?
We’ve been teaching our children the New City Catechism this year, just going back to basics, making sure that the three children that are still in our home really understand the basics of the Christian faith. And one of the things, one of the questions that came up the other day was, “What is it that God wants us to do?” Well, the answer was, he wants us to enjoy him. And that seemed to kind of puzzle everybody. “God wants us to enjoy him?” Well, I said to my children I didn’t really understand that either until I began to think about my relationship with my own children. God says that we are his children and that he loves us like a father. And what kind of relationship do I want with my children? I want my children to really look forward to sitting down to dinner with me every night. I want our kids, our grown kids to want to come home, to look forward to a conversation with their mom and dad, to seek our wisdom and our counsel. And God is the same way.
You see, praying is talking to God, and it’s how we can know that our desires in our petitions are going to him is by actually getting on our knees and talking to him, right? Yes, he already knows what we need, but he still wants to talk with us. This is the same thing. If you can put yourselves in the position of seeing the Lord as your Heavenly Father, the way that you see your children as children, this is how God sees you, only with much more intensity. And so when we pray for the lost, we pray for people in need, when we pray for our nation, we want to do so, first of all, because Jesus commanded us to do it, and also because we know that God listens to us.
The Bible says that our prayers move him to action. He listens to our prayers. It’s important to God that we pray. Jesus is praying for us. Did you guys know that? He prays for us. I think that’s amazing. In John 17, Jesus prayed to God the Father and he said, “I’m praying for them. I’m not praying for the world, but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word. I have made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known that the love with which you have loved me may be in them and I in them.” That’s amazing. That’s John 17:26 by the way. What an awesome thing, to have God praying for you. To have the Son of God praying for you.
And it goes to the same point, I was talking with my friend Elizabeth a couple of months ago, remember, my friend Elizabeth is coming on the road with me for my women’s conference Faith That Speaks, and she and I were talking about the sort of fatalistic attitude that’s in the church that says, “Prayer isn’t that important.” And prayer is so important, and it’s so important that we get up and act. And so when we say, “Oh, we don’t need to be involved,” what we’re really saying is, “God just wants me to sit here and watch it all happen.” And yet that is not what Jesus did with his life. That’s not what the disciples did, and that’s not what we are to do either.
So Mom and Dad, your prayers are important to God. He’s listening. He wants to engage in prayer with you and it absolutely matters. And so I hope that that encourages you to just take your petitions to the Lord. He says, “Bring your petitions to me.” And when God says, “Bring your petitions,” he said he is listening and he cares. And so when we open up that opportunity with the Lord, to me it’s just an amazing, amazing gift that God has given us, to be able to approach his throne with confidence, knowing that he’s listening and that he cares. All right? So I hope that that encourages you.
I want to thank you guys for listening to the podcast. Thank you so much for leaving reviews for my book Becoming Mom Strong, and the other books that I’ve written over at Goodreads and Amazon. A lot of you guys ask what you can do to support the ministry here. That is a huge help to us, just to keep those reviews coming in, both for the books and for the podcast, and also we are greatly blessed by your financial support of this ministry. If you are interested in supporting Firmly Planted Family, we would love that financial support, and also obviously your prayers for this ministry. You can reach us at 11100 Northeast 34th Circle, Vancouver, Washington, 98682.
I hope you guys are having a great Wednesday. I’m going to come on on Friday with my friend, one of my favorite friends, actually, and one of my favorite guests on the show, Dr. Kathy Cook, and we’re going to be talking all things parents and their children, so come on back on Friday. I know you’re going to be encouraged. Have a great day, everybody, and I’ll see you back here with Kathy on Friday.
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Heidi St. John
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