change god's mind through prayer catherine of siena

Can We Change God’s Mind if We “Storm Heaven” With Our Prayers?

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can we change God's mindHave you ever heard of the term “storm heaven”?  It’s something I used to hear in the evangelical Protestant church, but I now hear it used among Catholics – usually charismatics. If we storm heaven with our prayers, can we change God’s mind?

In my search to understand what “storm heaven” means – an elusive search, I found a little blog where the blogger explained what “storming heaven” meant to her.

“To storm is get all-encompassing. Storms pour, drench, drown. Storms absolutely dominate. Storms render umbrellas useless.

To storm is to press forward, to get fierce and ferocious. To focus. To use all of one’s might. Storms are powerful.”

Look ladies and gents, we’re not going to dominate God and we’re not going to take him hostage either. But maybe I misunderstand the term “storm heaven”.

can we change God's mind

So if we can’t change God’s Mind, Why Does He Want Us To Pray?

St Thomas Aquinas addresses this in the Summa Theologica, which is “compendium of all of the main theological teachings of the Catholic Church. It presents the reasoning for almost all points of Christian theology in the West.” Wiki.  In the Summa, St Thomas Aquinas, who is a Doctor of the Church, gives these 3 reasons for prayer.

1) To Remind Ourselves that We Need God and Have Recourse to Him

Oftentimes, we think we can accomplish everything on our own. God does not want us to be passive, but we have to remember that we need God. Sometimes when we forget we need God, a situation arises where we are forced to acknowledge that we need God. And then we cry out to him.

“We need to pray to God, not in order to make known to Him our needs or desires but that we ourselves may be reminded of the necessity of having recourse to God’s help in these matters.” Summa.

2) That Through Our Prayers, we may obtain What God Wants Us To Have

God already knows our needs and he gives to us liberally. Sometimes he gives us what we  can we change God's minddidn’t even know we needed. God wants us to know that whenever we need anything, we can ask him and he will give to us over and over again, according to his Divine Providence.

“As stated above, our motive in praying is, not Divine disposition, we may change the Divine disposition, but that, by our prayers, we may obtain what God has appointed.” Summa.

God’s mind is unchangeable. Samuel 15:29 says, “But the triumpher in Israel will riot spare, and will not be moved to repentance: for he is not a man that he should repent.” Douay Rheims Bible.

Thomas Aquinas says:

“For we pray not that we may change the Divine disposition, but that we may impetrate that which God has disposed to be fulfilled by our prayers in other words “that by asking, men may deserve to receive what Almighty God from eternity has disposed to give…” Summa.

3) That We May Have Confidence in God and Know Where All Good Things Come from

Developing confidence in God increases our faith in him. What an amazing thing it is to know that we are sons and daughters of God and we have that connection, so to speak.

“God bestows many things on us out of His liberality, even without our asking for them: but that He wishes to bestow certain things on us at our asking, is for the sake of our good, namely, that we may acquire confidence in having recourse to God, and that we may recognize in Him the Author of our goods.”

So as you see, we cannot change God’s mind.  We should pray to God and offer our petitions. God wants us to.  However, prayer does not change God’s mind, not even if we storm heaven. Prayer actually changes us.


This article was updated in 2018.

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  1. You make good points in quoting St Thomas Aquinas on the reasons for prayer. Certainly prayer is all about changing us from sinners to saints, and conforming our mind and will to that of Our Lord.

    However, I really think you’re missing the boat when you say prayer is not about “changing God’s Mind.” First of all, we would never want to “change” God’s mind because His Mind and Will is Mercy and Love, and we need that more than we need the air we breathe.

    The point of intercessory prayer, or “storming the gates of heaven” is all about reminding the Father of His Great Love and Mercy in the face of our sinfulness. That is why Moses did when the children of Israel rebelled, as we just recently heard in one of the Gospel readings at Mass. Exodus 32.

    We, of course, know the story of Nineveh repenting at the preaching of Jonah and the people of Nineveh being spared. We know the parable that Jesus told of the persistent woman and the judge who gave into her just because of her persistence, the teaching behind the story being that we must be persistent in our requests to God. And there is James 5:16 which says the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

    No, we don’t want to “change God’s Mind.” We want to intercede with God on behalf of sinners – both ourselves and others – by reminding Him of His great love and mercy. That, in fact, is the whole purpose of Jesus Christ coming to earth. We all stood condemned before God, but then Jesus came and said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” Our Lady of Fatima told us many sinners are lost because there is no one to pray and sacrifice for them.

    I believe your post totally misses the point of intercessory prayer and “storming heaven.” It is our job as Christians – as those who have received the saving grace of Jesus Christ – to intercede on behalf of others. Our Blessed Mother tells us that sinners are actually lost because we are NOT storming heaven and interceding on their behalf.

    We are told in I Timothy 2:4 that God wills that all be saved. Yes, He can do that without our help, but He has chosen to make us part of that saving process.

    Woe unto us if we are not “storming heaven” on behalf of sinners, including ourselves!

  2. Yeah, Storming heaven conjures up the image of a great army of people praying as often and as loud as possible while God is standing there with his arms folded, obstinately refusing to help. He’s either not paying attention or too busy until enough people make enough noise.
    Or like you said, he doesn’t really want to help and enough people have to try to change his mind. …Can’t buy the whole concept.
    Then if the help doesn’t come, If the person isn’t cured and dies etc. it makes you think maybe there weren’t enough people praying often enough and loud enough. God said “sorry, help cancelled for lack of interest” Silly Idea.

  3. Prayer Request: Storm Heaven For Eric

    Please pray for the conversion of Eric McDonald to true faith and hope in Jesus Christ!!!

    Our Dear Lady, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us. My Dear Mother Mary, pray for my friend Eric McDonald.Please show him your maternal love and care.Please pray for the conversion of his soul.May God Almighty, Save his soul. Most Loving Mother, I miss my friend Eric.I do not know where he is nor how he is!!!Mother Most Holy,Protect him and keep him safe.Please see that his needs are meet and that he experiences the joy of salvation.Help Eric in the name of Jesus Christ Amen!!!

    May St Michael, defend and protect Eric.May he bring Eric home safely!!!

    1. Hello Diane,

      The Baltimore Catechism tells us that ” God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.” This is your purpose in life.

      Having said that, I can totally understand not having a sense of purpose. Without knowing you, I can say that many times this stems from a lack of activity. If you are busy with things you are passionate about, it’s hard to even have time to be depressed.

      Of course, I don’t know your particular situation, including if you are suffering from medical depression.

      Please be assured of our prayers and if you’d like for others to pray for you, please post your prayer request on our prayer wall here.

      God bless you.

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