Christopher Woznicki, “Are We Free to Pray? On the Freedom Necessary for Petitionary Prayer,” Evangelical Review of Theology 44 (2020): 49-61.
In this paper, I argue against those who claim that libertarian freedom is necessary for a robust account of petitionary prayer. I claim that theological determinism is in fact compatible with an account of petitionary prayer that aligns with several important intuitions regarding our freedom to pray. In making this argument, I draw upon the philosophical theology of the sixteenth-century Italian Reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli.
I begin by reviewing recent claims concerning the necessity of libertarian freedom for genuine petitionary prayer. I then turn to Vermigli’s account of petitionary prayer as it is articulated in his Loci Communes. I conclude by showing how Vermigli’s account is consistent with three common intuitions many Christians have about freedom and prayer: (1) God does some things precisely because we have prayed for them, (2) we freely desire the things we pray for, and (3) we are the cause of our own prayers.
Evangelical Review of Theology (website: http://www.worldevangelicals.org/tc/)