Having read the prayer topics in a recent Paradox Newsletter, someone wrote asking if there is a conflict between praying that the Israeli government (whether simply with a new prime minister or a new party in power) will fulfil God’s purposes and praying that the Israel-Syria talks will be successful. I replied: God’s relationship with the world is complex. He works out his sovereign purposes not only through good or justified actions but through the “changes and chances of this mortal life” plus the mistakes and wrong action of human beings. God’s purposes for Israel (or Syria) will not ultimately be frustrated by any such mistakes or wrongdoing by any of the parties involved. In a wonderful way, God weaves good or justified actions, prayers, helpful circumstances, mistakes, wrong actions and bad circumstances into his purposes, and he foresaw them all and wove them into his eternal plans before time began. A nation is justified in protecting itself – including by just military action. That is true for both Israel and Syria. However, we Christians are called to promote godly qualities like justice, peace, mercy, forgiveness etc. God is a God of justice and peace. We need not worry for one moment that, in so doing, we small creatures might frustrate God’s purposes. We should pray for those qualities to be promoted and leave the consequences, including the eschatological (End Time) consequences to God. We can, of course, pray that God’s purposes will be furthered. He will use our little prayers in working them out.