The first response to this by some people will be, “God is not limited.” Then why does he need our prayers before he will act? So, if he is not limited, then God is letting a lot of bad things happen to people, just because.
However, he insists that I pray for people like this, “God protect your people from natural disasters, from rape, robbery, murder, theft, and persecution.” (I also pray for the President and that God will save America.) I pray that several times every morning and every night, and sometimes during the day. Bad things still happen to God’s people, but often the news reports say it could have been much worse, but this or that happened.
Why would he require me to pray such a prayer if he did not want to help his people in this way? Of course, he wants to come to the aid of his people, but he would not need my prayers unless he is limited. Sure, he can do some things, but he is limited unless someone prays.
I used to not like praying much, I still don’t pray A LOT. I have been of the belief that I prayed once, so I expect God to answer it. But, apparently, that is not how it works.
When I began to ponder why God will not act without my prayers, it helped me to think of things like this: Suppose that when God created humanity on this earth that Satan went to him and said something like, “They will only follow you and worship you because they know already that you are God, take away their foreknowledge of you and don’t intervene in their lives and they will not choose to follow you or worship you.”
Then God says something like, “Ok, I will remove their foreknowledge, and will not intervene under such and such limits, unless they pray to me for such intervention.”
But we don’t know all the details of such a deal, if one was made. And so we see that sometimes one little prayer will bring an answer, while at other times an answer requires LOTS of prayers by many people. But it just illustrates how God will often not act unless we pray.
Even Jesus prayed for the Apostles, that they be protected from the evil one, and that they become united as one. Since it was the start of the Church, you might think that God would do that anyway.
Often times someone asks, why doesn’t God send an angel to stand in the middle of the street of every city in the world with a large cross in one hand, which will cause the people to realize that God is real and that Christ is the only way? He would not be taking away anyone’s freedom to choose, they could still accept or reject the truth, and it would prove what the truth is, but that has never happened and will likely never happen unless shortly before the global judgment of the return of Christ.
But why has it not happened? I believe it is because God is limited. Why he is limited is a matter we can only speculate about, such as a deal with Satan. But I believe he is very much limited unless we pray, which puts much more importance on our prayers.
People are dying every day in your city without God, what is your church doing to reach people in your city? What is your church doing to help the poor? Things will not get done unless we act.