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What's the point of praying?

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If God already has a plan laid out for us and knows what we are going to do, who is going to get sick etc., then why do we pray? Does prayer have any influence on God?

 

I'm thinking of two scenarios:

If it is in God's will for a person to be sick and not heal from the sickness then is praying even worth it? 

 

If a person is a non-believer since God gives us free-will not to believe and already knew this person was going to be a non-believer then would our prayers actually influence God's hand in pushing the non-believer to be a believer especially since the person has total free will to not believe?

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We pray because God commands us to pray Philippians 4:6-7.Jesus thought it was worthwhile to pray,then we should also.A lack of prayers demonstrates a lack of faith.It is also our means of defeating Satan.

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I have asked this I think before. I beleve God does know who will serve him, But we don't, I think we were all non belevers at first untill get saved right ???  When we pray for a non belever God can use our prayers to save a person that he knows will serve him, were more like a tool. Jesus says go and spread the gospel. If we don't tell it how are they going to know it.

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Important questions. I have a few thoughts on the subject:

 

1) Jesus spent a great deal of time in prayer with the Father, therefore His example would indicate that prayer is valuable and even essential for the Christian, regardless of what the outcome (from our perspective) of that prayer might be. 

 

2) I have often struggled with very specific prayers, especially prayers for healing, because we don't tend to see a lot of overt, supernatural miracles as were common in Jesus' time and with His disciples. Perhaps this is a result of our lack of faith, but I tend to believe that God is simply working in different ways now than He was when Jesus walked the earth. God's miracles and supernatural power were needed at that time to prove to humans that Jesus was the Messiah. Now we have scripture and the stories of Christ's life to base our faith on. Jesus even said in the parable in Luke 16:31, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." So it stands to reason that physical healing may not always be God's priority. He's more concerned with our spiritual condition. Doesn't mean I wouldn't pray wholeheartedly if someone I loved got sick...I just think I wouldn't expect or require healing as a proof of His love for us.

 

3) The reality is that there are many unseen spiritual battles and factors going on that we don't see and may never understand, but God does tell us to pray for one another. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." 

James 5:15-17. So even though we don't understand it all, I say let's just keep praying anyway and let God make the hard decisions of how to answer!

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If God already has a plan laid out for us and knows what we are going to do, who is going to get sick etc., then why do we pray? Does prayer have any influence on God?

 

I'm thinking of two scenarios:

If it is in God's will for a person to be sick and not heal from the sickness then is praying even worth it? 

 

If a person is a non-believer since God gives us free-will not to believe and already knew this person was going to be a non-believer then would our prayers actually influence God's hand in pushing the non-believer to be a believer especially since the person has total free will to not believe?

 

I believe in real choice, and that God doesn't know everything I'm going to choose. Therefore, for me, prayer is important.

It also helps build relationship. Without talking with someone, are you ever going to really know them?

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I have asked this I think before. I beleve God does know who will serve him, But we don't, I think we were all non belevers at first untill get saved right ???  When we pray for a non belever God can use our prayers to save a person that he knows will serve him, were more like a tool. Jesus says go and spread the gospel. If we don't tell it how are they going to know it.

I don't think everyone is a non-believer. I know of some who were raised to know God and always knew him. 

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Important questions. I have a few thoughts on the subject:

 

1) Jesus spent a great deal of time in prayer with the Father, therefore His example would indicate that prayer is valuable and even essential for the Christian, regardless of what the outcome (from our perspective) of that prayer might be. 

 

2) I have often struggled with very specific prayers, especially prayers for healing, because we don't tend to see a lot of overt, supernatural miracles as were common in Jesus' time and with His disciples. Perhaps this is a result of our lack of faith, but I tend to believe that God is simply working in different ways now than He was when Jesus walked the earth. God's miracles and supernatural power were needed at that time to prove to humans that Jesus was the Messiah. Now we have scripture and the stories of Christ's life to base our faith on. Jesus even said in the parable in Luke 16:31, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." So it stands to reason that physical healing may not always be God's priority. He's more concerned with our spiritual condition. Doesn't mean I wouldn't pray wholeheartedly if someone I loved got sick...I just think I wouldn't expect or require healing as a proof of His love for us.

 

3) The reality is that there are many unseen spiritual battles and factors going on that we don't see and may never understand, but God does tell us to pray for one another. "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." 

James 5:15-17. So even though we don't understand it all, I say let's just keep praying anyway and let God make the hard decisions of how to answer!

You provide good points especially the first one. It would make sense that God is more concerned about our spiritual well-being rather than the physical. 

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If God already has a plan laid out for us and knows what we are going to do, who is going to get sick etc., then why do we pray? Does prayer have any influence on God?

 

I'm thinking of two scenarios:

If it is in God's will for a person to be sick and not heal from the sickness then is praying even worth it? 

 

If a person is a non-believer since God gives us free-will not to believe and already knew this person was going to be a non-believer then would our prayers actually influence God's hand in pushing the non-believer to be a believer especially since the person has total free will to not believe?

 

I believe in real choice, and that God doesn't know everything I'm going to choose. Therefore, for me, prayer is important.

It also helps build relationship. Without talking with someone, are you ever going to really know them?

 

So you believe God is not all-knowing?

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If God already has a plan laid out for us and knows what we are going to do, who is going to get sick etc., then why do we pray? Does prayer have any influence on God?

 

I'm thinking of two scenarios:

If it is in God's will for a person to be sick and not heal from the sickness then is praying even worth it? 

 

If a person is a non-believer since God gives us free-will not to believe and already knew this person was going to be a non-believer then would our prayers actually influence God's hand in pushing the non-believer to be a believer especially since the person has total free will to not believe?

 

God told Moses to get down off the mountain because he was about to destroy all the Hebrew people for worshiping the golden calf......   Moses talked him out of it...              I think talking to God can do wondrous things and this is just one example that happens to be big..

 

As for him not healing people I can only share my experience.   When I got rather ugly about him not healing my wife of MS. he very quietly and politely tole me that it was really none of my business.....   that it was between her and Him......   and though He didn't say so I got the feeling deep down that I was to butt out and let it go...    I did and he has kept her getting around although with great difficult some days...   

 

But you should pray to God for the same reason you should talk to your wife......   it's the only way to become one.    If your prayers are only "can I have" then you have missed the point of prayer.   Prayers should be just a sit down and talk to him......   if needs arise in the discussion that's great, but they shouldn't be the main subject of the conversation.

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prayer isn't just about asking the great big sugar daddy in the sky to grant us some selfish wish. prayer is supposed to be, first and foremost, worship. it's a time when we're supposed to communicate with Him, and praise Him, not ask for personal gain.

 

how many families would stay together if the husband and wife didn't communicate on a daily basis? how do you think children would be shaped if there was no communication with them? do you still consider someone your best friend if they never come over, call or write?

 

when we talk to God, we're praying. a significant part of that time praying needs to be about exalting Him... just like when you spend time with your kids, you spend a lot of time praising their accomplishments. when we praise God, it opens us up to receiving all the blessings that He wants to bestow on us. But if all we do is "pray" when we want something, it shows a marked immaturity in our spiritual walk.... just as a young child begs for everything he sees when he goes to the store with you. and when a child does nothing but ask, ask, ask for "me, me, me", he misses out on all the great things we want to do for him just because we love him. 

 

anyway, the point of prayer is to forge a relationship with Him, so that He can shape us and mold us into the kind of people He wants us to be. it is a two way communication. as we spend time talking with God, we learn to hear (and heed) His voice. and the point of communication with our children is to shape and mold them, as much as humanly possible, into integral and responsible adults.

 

after all, we are His children. And Jesus, according to scripture, is both our brother and our friend... so when you want to understand what the point of prayer is, remember how every relationship we have with humans is defined by our communication with them. if you want to be in God's family, it kinda takes prayer.

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We spend much time praying for others that God would soften hearts and also for their healing. One of God's names in the old testament is the God who heals, and I believe He is the source of all healing whether He uses meds, doctors or miracles. There are times He has told me not to pray, but someone else prayed and the person was healed or saved. Other times I have asked God to provide jobs, or that He would enable a person to live a godly life, or for comfort during grief. Praying at all times is living in communion with God and communicating throughout the day--whether thanking Him for the beauty of spring flowers, sunshine as well as refreshing rain, praying for the safety of all concerned when spotting a careless driver, or asking for God's mercy when seeing an ambulence. I often pray for the safety of police officers and others engaged in dangerous work or sports. OK. So our grandson just broke his ankle in a football game and the youngest grand daughter in the other family broke her wrist while tackling her big brother in another football game. And you wonder why I pray?? They haven't even started driving yet. Its enough to make a Jewish grandma out of me! Oy vey!

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If God already has a plan laid out for us and knows what we are going to do, who is going to get sick etc., then why do we pray? Does prayer have any influence on God?

 

I'm thinking of two scenarios:

If it is in God's will for a person to be sick and not heal from the sickness then is praying even worth it? 

 

If a person is a non-believer since God gives us free-will not to believe and already knew this person was going to be a non-believer then would our prayers actually influence God's hand in pushing the non-believer to be a believer especially since the person has total free will to not believe?

 

I believe in real choice, and that God doesn't know everything I'm going to choose. Therefore, for me, prayer is important.

It also helps build relationship. Without talking with someone, are you ever going to really know them?

 

So you believe God is not all-knowing?

 

 

What scripture says this?

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If God already has a plan laid out for us and knows what we are going to do, who is going to get sick etc., then why do we pray? Does prayer have any influence on God?

 

I'm thinking of two scenarios:

If it is in God's will for a person to be sick and not heal from the sickness then is praying even worth it? 

 

If a person is a non-believer since God gives us free-will not to believe and already knew this person was going to be a non-believer then would our prayers actually influence God's hand in pushing the non-believer to be a believer especially since the person has total free will to not believe?

 

I believe in real choice, and that God doesn't know everything I'm going to choose. Therefore, for me, prayer is important.

It also helps build relationship. Without talking with someone, are you ever going to really know them?

 

So you believe God is not all-knowing?

 

 

What scripture says this?

 

You stated that God doesn't know everything you are going to choose. I'm not sure what scripture you got that from so I asked if you believe if God is all knowing meaning...

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Not a big Hank Hannegraff fan, but he does say that prayer is more about aligning our will with God's than the laundry list of wants and how {we} believe things ought to be.

 

I would also add, prayer is God's invitation to join in his will, his plan, his accomplishment.

 

Some have said it is a conversation with God, and in a sense I agree with that only God knows what we are going to pray long before we pray it and in fact the Holy Spirit gives us what to pray (at least on occasion).

 

I just had a thought...

 

...if I did not pray so intensely as I do only when I am in a bind, I might not be in so many binds... God wants us to pray fervently.

 

James 5:16 (KJV)
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

FYI a nickname for James was "Old Camel Knees" from his time praying.

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If God already has a plan laid out for us and knows what we are going to do, who is going to get sick etc., then why do we pray? Does prayer have any influence on God?

 

I'm thinking of two scenarios:

If it is in God's will for a person to be sick and not heal from the sickness then is praying even worth it? 

 

If a person is a non-believer since God gives us free-will not to believe and already knew this person was going to be a non-believer then would our prayers actually influence God's hand in pushing the non-believer to be a believer especially since the person has total free will to not believe?

 

I believe in real choice, and that God doesn't know everything I'm going to choose. Therefore, for me, prayer is important.

It also helps build relationship. Without talking with someone, are you ever going to really know them?

 

So you believe God is not all-knowing?

 

 

What scripture says this?

 

You stated that God doesn't know everything you are going to choose. I'm not sure what scripture you got that from so I asked if you believe if God is all knowing meaning...

 

 

What scripture says that God is all knowing?

This comes from Greek philosophy, not from the bible.

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If God already has a plan laid out for us and knows what we are going to do, who is going to get sick etc., then why do we pray? Does prayer have any influence on God?

 

I'm thinking of two scenarios:

If it is in God's will for a person to be sick and not heal from the sickness then is praying even worth it? 

 

If a person is a non-believer since God gives us free-will not to believe and already knew this person was going to be a non-believer then would our prayers actually influence God's hand in pushing the non-believer to be a believer especially since the person has total free will to not believe?

 

I believe in real choice, and that God doesn't know everything I'm going to choose. Therefore, for me, prayer is important.

It also helps build relationship. Without talking with someone, are you ever going to really know them?

 

So you believe God is not all-knowing?

 

 

What scripture says this?

 

You stated that God doesn't know everything you are going to choose. I'm not sure what scripture you got that from so I asked if you believe if God is all knowing meaning...

 

 

What scripture says that God is all knowing?

This comes from Greek philosophy, not from the bible.

 

1 John 3:20 " For if our Heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things". Psalms 44:21 "Shall not God search this out? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart" If God knows your heart he knows what you are going to choose so he is omniscient. And what of prophecies? To prophesize one must know what others will do and what society will do. If God did not know what was to come (what the people would do) then how would He convey prophecies?

I have no idea where you got Greek philosophy from but from what I understand Zeus really did not have any powers over fate or what the person did. None of the immortals knew what the mortals would do neither did they know what other immortals would do. 

If it comes from Greek philosophy what scriptures do you use to back up that God is not omniscient? Or do you have any proof from text in Greek philosophy that this view of God is incorrect? 

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In Amos 5:15, Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

'It May be that God will be gracious'. If God knows all things then God knows if he will be gracious. There is no doubt and Amos is either lying or misrepresenting God.

 

Knowing all things at present, doesn't mean he knows all things that will happen.

Knowing what is in your heart doesn't mean you know what future decisions will be made.

 

If you understood the history of Christian theology you would understand that a fundamental shift took place in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and that Greek philosophical structures, particularly stoicism affected the way Christian theology was done. Before that, the Jews, understood God's character from the Scripture, not based on Greek philosophical constructs. The God of the Hebrew Scriptures, changes his mind (Gen 6:7, Exo 32:14) and pleads will people to do the right thing (through the prophets). Hardly the actions of someone who knows all future things is it? This God is a personal God, not the impersonal, impassionate God of Greek philosophy.

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What scripture says that God is all knowing?

This comes from Greek philosophy, not from the bible.

Have you considered the following?

Psalm 147:5

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;

His understanding is infinite.

Isaiah 40:28

Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

The everlasting God, the Lord,

The Creator of the ends of the earth,

Neither faints nor is weary.

His understanding is unsearchable.

1 Samuel 2:3

Talk no more so very proudly;

Let no arrogance come from your mouth,

For the Lord is the God of knowledge;

And by Him actions are weighed.

Job 37:16

Do you know how the clouds are balanced,

Those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?

(Read Job 38:1 to 40:2 and see how many of the questions you can answer)

Isaiah 40:13-14

Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord,

Or as His counselor has taught Him?

With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him,

And taught Him in the path of justice?

Who taught Him knowledge,

And showed Him the way of understanding?

Hebrews 4:13

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

Though the word Omniscience is not found in the bible, since the word derived from the Latin omni meaning "all" and scienta meaning "knowledge" and was not a word yet, scripture points to an all knowing God from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.

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In Amos 5:15, Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

'It May be that God will be gracious'. If God knows all things then God knows if he will be gracious. There is no doubt and Amos is either lying or misrepresenting God.

 

Knowing all things at present, doesn't mean he knows all things that will happen.

Knowing what is in your heart doesn't mean you know what future decisions will be made.

 

If you understood the history of Christian theology you would understand that a fundamental shift took place in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and that Greek philosophical structures, particularly stoicism affected the way Christian theology was done. Before that, the Jews, understood God's character from the Scripture, not based on Greek philosophical constructs. The God of the Hebrew Scriptures, changes his mind (Gen 6:7, Exo 32:14) and pleads will people to do the right thing (through the prophets). Hardly the actions of someone who knows all future things is it? This God is a personal God, not the impersonal, impassionate God of Greek philosophy.

 

Sounds like you are basing your theory on a man inability to know everything God knows and not on God Himself.

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In Amos 5:15, Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

'It May be that God will be gracious'. If God knows all things then God knows if he will be gracious. There is no doubt and Amos is either lying or misrepresenting God.

 

Knowing all things at present, doesn't mean he knows all things that will happen.

Knowing what is in your heart doesn't mean you know what future decisions will be made.

 

If you understood the history of Christian theology you would understand that a fundamental shift took place in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and that Greek philosophical structures, particularly stoicism affected the way Christian theology was done. Before that, the Jews, understood God's character from the Scripture, not based on Greek philosophical constructs. The God of the Hebrew Scriptures, changes his mind (Gen 6:7, Exo 32:14) and pleads will people to do the right thing (through the prophets). Hardly the actions of someone who knows all future things is it? This God is a personal God, not the impersonal, impassionate God of Greek philosophy.

 

Sounds like you are basing your theory on a man inability to know everything God knows and not on God Himself.

 

 

While of course I may be wrong, but the picture in the early part of the Bible, is a God who 'repents', that is changes his mind.

How is that possible for a God who knows everything that will ever happen?

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Are you thinking about Genesis 6:6 where scripture tells us "And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart."?

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If God already has a plan laid out for us and knows what we are going to do, who is going to get sick etc., then why do we pray? Does prayer have any influence on God?

 

I'm thinking of two scenarios:

If it is in God's will for a person to be sick and not heal from the sickness then is praying even worth it? 

 

If a person is a non-believer since God gives us free-will not to believe and already knew this person was going to be a non-believer then would our prayers actually influence God's hand in pushing the non-believer to be a believer especially since the person has total free will to not believe?

A lot of the sicknesses we get are not God's will. Some sicknesses could be a demonic attack on a person. We should not assume that all sicknesses are a result of God's will. Praying for someone to be healed is worth our time. If we are sick we can just pray "Thank you Father God if it is your will I be healed, please heal me now in Jesus name, amen." I had a really bad sore throat last week and I looked in the mirror and there were large white-ish looking bumps and it was really red near them. I also felt sick. I prayed it away. I kept praying prayers of thanks to God, and then praying "Be healed in Jesus name, amen." I prayed it several times in a row while holding my hands to my neck, then it worked. I'm not special. God is the one who is almighty and heals, and the glory for all good things goes to God. Praise God, Amen! Of course we should pray for people to be healed, because who are we to know who it is God's will to heal or not heal. Praying for them could draw extra spiritual attention on them. Even if a person is non-believer at this time, they could be a believer some day. It is worth praying for people to be saved. What if you weren't saved? Would you want people to pray for you? The only person we should never pray for is the anti-Christ, unless God specifically tells us not to pray for someone else as well.

 

Jeremiah 30:17 "For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord."

 

Matthew 18:19 "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on Earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven."

 

1 Corinthians 12:4 "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."

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Prayer is conversing with God.  It is how we fellowship with God.  Why wouldn't I want to pray? 

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In Amos 5:15, Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

'It May be that God will be gracious'. If God knows all things then God knows if he will be gracious. There is no doubt and Amos is either lying or misrepresenting God.

 

Knowing all things at present, doesn't mean he knows all things that will happen.

Knowing what is in your heart doesn't mean you know what future decisions will be made.

 

If you understood the history of Christian theology you would understand that a fundamental shift took place in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and that Greek philosophical structures, particularly stoicism affected the way Christian theology was done. Before that, the Jews, understood God's character from the Scripture, not based on Greek philosophical constructs. The God of the Hebrew Scriptures, changes his mind (Gen 6:7, Exo 32:14) and pleads will people to do the right thing (through the prophets). Hardly the actions of someone who knows all future things is it? This God is a personal God, not the impersonal, impassionate God of Greek philosophy.

Amos sounds like the author does not know if God will be gracious. It sounds like the author is expressing doubt. This type of questioning is common in Psalms also. The heart always guides the actions. If the heart of the person is filled with evil then they will do evil things. If you understood the necessity for at least a website explaining some of these changes that occurred during the 2nd and 3rd centuries you would understand my skepticism in believing in your word. With all due respect you are a stranger I am typing to on the internet and no more so please provide some type of reference that this topic of Christianity was influenced by the pagan Greeks.

Maybe he pleads with people to do the right thing because he offers them free will and they continuously do evil. A God in repentance, imo, does not mean that he did not know man was going to do such things but he still laments when man does evil. God provides free will in the hopes that we will choose good but that still does not mean he doesn't know what we will do. The God that I'm talking about is personal. Also Christianity and the paganism of Greek philosophy were around the same time so why is it that stoicism, which seems to be the struggle to understand free will and cosmic determinism, influenced Christianity and not some tenant of Christianity that the Greeks then used for their purposes? From a quick read (though it is wikipedia) they seem very different but have some similarities. 

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God does know what were going to do before we do it. He gives us a choice and knows our choices.

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