I give up. It doesn't matter anyway.
When's the last time you said those words? Thought them? They are words that communicate powerlessness that can eventually lead to despair if we continue to repeat them.
How about this - have you ever uttered those words when it comes to prayer? Have you ever seen the act of prayer being useless and fruitless? "It doesn't matter..." I have.
When it comes to this thing of prayer, I have found it easy to slip into a Christian Fatalism mindset. Fatalism is the belief that all things are predetermined and therefore out of my control or influence. Christian Fatalism is the same but with the addition of a belief in God. "What's gonna happen is gonna happen." "It doesn't matter."
The problem is, it's bad theology. And bad theology leads to destructive thinking. Which results in destructive living, at worst, and unproductive living at its best. Fatalism is playing the victim card which says everything is against me and I can't do anything about it. The victim gets stuck in the past and won't take responsibility for their present or future. Theology matters.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13, ESV)
The Bible unapologetically and consistently puts us in the tension of believing in the control of God (He is sovereign over all things) and the importance of personal choice and initiative (human responsibility). Christian Fatalism is convenient but it isn't Biblical. Paul assures us that it is God who is at work in each of us. It is God who gives us the will to engage in our spiritual journey. It is God who is working on us and he is working in us and as he is working through us. Oh, and don't forget to be working as well!
This is important to grasp as we pray. God is already working before we start praying. And praying is our joining in God's working. Various people have put it this way: Pray like it all depends upon God. Live and work like it all depends on you.
In all of this, whether praying or working, the grace of Jesus is what holds and sustains us. The great Christian thinker and man of God, Dallas Willard said this about grace:
“Grace is not opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning. Earning is an attitude. Effort is an action. Grace, you know, does not just have to do with forgiveness of sins alone.”
― Dallas Willard, The Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship
This is true of your and my praying too. In our effort to connect deeply with God and intercede for others, his grace meets us and has already been going before us.
Don't give up. You matter, your effort matters, your prayers matter.
Grace and Peace,