Are there some people who have more clout with God than others? When joining people in a community of prayer, are there certain people who have more influence with God than others?

Moses seemed to have more influence than others in his day when he prayed for the deliverance of Israel. The same thing can be said about Abraham with respect to Sodom.

Are there people to whom God listens more attentively than others? Better, are there people who have the favor of God more than others?

“The prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (Jam. 5:16).

What does that mean? Does it speak to divine clout?

If there is such a thing as divine clout, how does that relate to grace?

Finally, if there is anyone out there with this extra measure (or treasury) of clout, can you tell them send some prayers my way? Direct them to my mother’s condition. If need be, I can make an argument that will put Moses’ argument to shame for the effectiveness of divine healing in this case. I really can! I will use this blog to spead the news and the whole world can rejoice in God’s grace.

Is there such a thing as clout with God?

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    19 replies to "Open Discussion: Clout with God?"

    • Kevin Rogers


      That is a great question. Especially in the context of praying for your mom.

      I suspect that clout with God is not something one would necessarily recognize in themselves. Did Moses know? Certainly not at first. Abram? Not sure.

      We tend to look at ourselves fault-first when we approach the Almighty (or we wouldn’t need grace to welcome us).

      Maybe the humility that accompanies greatness in the Kingdom blinds us to the effectiveness and influence we have on God.

      Kind of like Tommy. The pinball wizard cannot see or hear what he’s doing, but everyone else is amazed at the ability.

      Kind of like Rainman. Doesn’t realize what a miracle it is to instantly count matchsticks when they fall.

      If we pursue influence and clout with God, I fear that it could easily slip into self-empowerment rather than humble servitude. (kind of like Simon the Sorcerer).

      Lord, I join with my unmet brother today and ask that you would heal his mother. Amen.

    • John

      Or is it those with “clout” spend more time in His Word and in relationship With him? But then I think of Joseph (and his colorful coat) — didnt God have special favor for him? Good question.

    • Matt Hofer

      In other words, am I less important in the eyes of God then say Abraham or Moses or even David? In my opinion, the righteous man can accomplish much because the righteous man prays much. God is unchanging; I on the other hand vacillate back and forth. As I move closer and further away from God so does my “influence”. I walk away from God, and although He through the Holy Spirit chases me, my effectiveness as a witness and as a warrior is lessoned because of my behavior. All the great men of “faith” in the bible had one thing in common…they were in constant communion with God…even David, after his sin repented and restored fellowship. So many times I do not understand the depth of God’s love and acceptance, and when I sin do not restore fellowship. Is there a hierarchy with in God’s system? Well maybe that gets into rewards and crowns…but I know that He loves me every bit as much as David, or Moses. Gods use for me in his divine plan might never be know this side of heaven, and may never be written in a book, but that doesn’t mean that He values me less than Abraham.

    • Lisa Robinson

      John, I am reminded of a recent Living on the Edge broadcast, in which Chip Ingram was talking about prayer in context of James 5:13-18. He recalled how there had been times he and the elders had been called to pray over someone, which resulted in miraculous healing. And there were other times, when he and the elders had been called and they ended up burying the person. Can you attribute the latter scenario to less time in the word or in fellowship? Or perhaps it’s just Romans 9:15-16 in action.

    • J.R.

      I would say it’s not the clout of the person but the clout of the message and truth God wants to revel through the person. Yes, God chose Moses and others and they had His ear but God had a specific task for them through His clout.

    • Greg

      Looking at the history and content of this blog and the reasons behind some of it, where do you think it would be, and what do you think we would all be thinking about, if you and your mother were not suffering as ya’ll are now?

      I think suffering and joy are both used by God for his glory. Clout may be nothing but good timing with God’s overall intent and purposes.

    • Dave Z

      I’d think this would apply – “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Implying the reverse is true for the unrighteous. Of course then we get into the meaning of righteous.

    • Derek

      What do these men (i.e. Moses, Abraham) have in common?
      They had a deep, genuine relationship with God. They were truly humble. They dared to take God at His Word.
      If it can be said that these also characterize our lives, who can deny that God might accomplish monumental, miraculous things with us?
      As D.L. Moody, also a very humble man who accomplished great things for the kingdom of God, often told his audiences, “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”

    • Susan

      Funny you should ask, because I’ve been considering this lately. “The prayers of a righteous man accomplish much….”
      I’ve been so fortunate to have Dan Wallace praying for me on several counts over the past year and a half, and I will say that God has answered his prayers in some incredible ways. I have often thought of James 5:16 as I’ve reflected on this. The matters which he has spoken with God about are things which involve relational issues—relationships between God and others, and person to person relationships. In other words, I have seen some significant spiritual changes take place, with resulting positive changes in human relationships. The things Dan has prayed about, for me, have not been matters of physical healing…..but I sure would be pleased if God would answer my prayers for him, that he would experience relief from his current physical suffering.

      I will say about Dan, that he is a man who honors and values God’s word perhaps more than anyone I’ve ever known. He has a humble heart, and is very concerned with living a godly life.

      I’m not saying that everyone should send their requests to Dan, but I do think that it makes sense to share your burdens with a godly and righteous person who is willing to pray with you.

      I haven’t asked Dan to pray that my father won’t develop Alzheimer’s (as this seems to be what is beginning to manifest), but I might like for him to pray that God will give us the grace and wisdom to deal with whatever might arise in a way which honors Him, and best helps all involved…..and reflects Jesus to others. Not that there’s anything wrong with praying for healing, but sometimes God will not remove a physical ailment. My daughter has CP. We all prayed that God would heal her of it for quite awhile when she was young. He did not.

      So, I’m speaking from personal observation. The prayers of one godly man have accomplished MUCH in my life, and in the life of my family.

    • Stuart

      Perhaps the righteous are more attuned to God’s will, rather than their own, so they ask more appropriate requests?

      Or maybe God honors their devotion more?

      That’s something I’m not sure I’ve given much thought to but find intriguing.

      That aside, I’m sorry for the trying situation. I’m not very righteous, but I’ll throw my prayer in for you. Strength in numbers, right? Although I think of God more as a quality over quantity…

    • Greg

      This is all very tricky to deal with. I’ve heard stories where very godly people prayed specific prayers and were answered, and others who never got the answer they wanted.

      The same can be said for those who appear to have been ungodly people.

      I think it swings both ways, and the key seems to be lining up one’s prayers with God’s will for the moment.

      You have great men of God who have some serious clout, like Moses and Abraham, getting their prayers answered. But then you have perhaps even greater men of God who don’t get their prayers answered. David praying for the life of his son, and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

      Maybe we are reading the verse in James wrong?

      Either way, we don’t know why some prayers get answered and others don’t. I doubt there is a reasonable formula of any kind one can use to gain favor with God in a manner that insures his prayers are answered in as much as they aren’t directly a part of God’s will for that moment.

      Maybe its all about lining up with God’s will? Maybe a more righteous person is better in tune with God’s will, and so can direct his prayers in such a way as to “tap into” providence. Maybe as one matures in the faith his will is given up and given over to God so that they become one in purpose. The desires of our heart being placed there by God, etc. Think the Borg from Star Trek, except the assimilation is voluntary on our part!

      Maybe the answered prayers we see come from this union of wills. I think its close to this in some way, because I doubt our prayers could ever make God do something he willfully opposed.

      Just kinda thinking out loud here.

    • Leslie

      Honestly, I tend to side with Susan on the subject. I too have had a few similar experiences.

    • John Carroll

      It seems to me that every conversation these days should begin with an agreement on the meaning of terms used. Right from the get go I was uncomfortable with the very phrase ‘clout with God’. It implies that God is like a CEO of a multinational company, or the President or supreme ruler of some nation who of necessity will listen to and be influenced by a select group of people. Whereas the Scripture says that ‘in Him we live and move and have our being’, and also ‘that without faith it is impossible to please God’ But I have found that when I am humble or have been humbled before God my very requests change. This is in keeping also with the teaching of Scripture, is it not?

    • Jim

      Personally I feel I have no clout with God. I fell into sin six years ago and though I confessed, repented, and changed I feel that God has chosen simply to ignore me and my prayers ever since. I ain’t remember the last time God answered any prayers of mine at all which is why I have basically become prayerless in the recent days.

      The church has given up on me. God has given up on me. I see God answering prayer and blessing the lives of people who continue in sin and who preach a pop-evangelical message. Yet God has decided that I am a worthless piece of trash and he wants nothing to do with me. Why does God love other people so much more than he loves me?

    • Derek

      Greg, the example of David praying for his son is actually very appropriate for this conversation. God actually DID answer David’s prayer at this time – not in saving his newborn son’s life, but in a restored communion with him and reduced punishment for David’s horrible, murderous actions. When you look at the circumstances of this story, you realize how important it is for us to come clean with God, no matter how far we’ve wandered, and plead for his help and restoration.
      Genuine humility matters a great deal when we come to God in prayer. We should never forget that “God gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud.”. If we are demonstrating pride in a variety of areas of our lives, we are certain to meet God’s resistance, which is actually for our good – because it often brings us to a place of surrender.

    • Joe

      Even if there are some who have more status with God than others, still, who are those people?

      Are they necessarily the self-styled, self-appointed “elect”?

      Who are the truly righteous? Those who identify themselves as such?

      Or will only God know and “judge,” at the end?

    • WLS

      “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me…”. That Might explain why the prayers of a righteous man are more effective.

    • Susan

      Jim, I think that it is quite wonderful that you have acknowledged your sin before God and repented. When a person comes to God with a truly humble and repentant heart God will not reject such a person. It is “the kindness of God which leads us to repentance” in the first place. It is actually a great evidence of God’s love for you that he sent his Spirit to convict you of your sin and bring you to a place of repentance. What would your life be like now if He had not?

      It sounds as if you are still experiencing the consequences of your sin in some ways. That’s hard, but many can echo your story of the long-term price they have paid for wrong done…the losses they grieve over which cause continual pain.

      I know what it is like to suffer for years, under the hand of another, and see no rescue from God. But, now, many years later I have finally experienced God’s transforming work. I have suffered unjustly for years, but now I can see how God used it to refine me for His purposes. I’ve also seen an amazing change in the one who persecuted me for 21 years! Did I give up on prayer during those 21 years? I would say that I did to some extent. I needed someone to pray for me….to pray with fresh faith. I do believe that although what I suffered was injust, and it was the continued sin of anther toward me, that God allowed it, and used it in my life. Thus it became a tool of God for my own sanctification. Just think of how much Paul suffered as he pursued God’s call in his life….and remember that He begged God repeatedly to remove the “thorn in his flesh”…”a messenger of Satan to trouble me” 2 Cor. 12:7-10
      God did not remove it, in answer to Paul’s prayer. But told Paul, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul learned in time to accept this from the hand of God, and even to be thankful for it, and how God used it in His life.

      So, Jim, it is possible that you are not praying in line with God’s current will for you (?) I would so wish to encourage you to remain in God’s word. Make it a daily habit. I think that you will gain perspective, in time, which will help and encourage you. God will speak to you from His Word. He DOES love you. The proof is in His word, and in the fact that He sent his Son to suffer in your stead and to pay the price for the sin you have committed.
      God laid it on my heart to respond to what you wrote. Is that not also evidence of his love for you?! (and I really don’t have time for this!….but in God’s economy, I do).

      Prayers for you! Susan

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