(A short series on the 5 tenets of Calvinism aka TULIP. I am taking a shallow view in hopes that readers will be challenged to do additional research and biblical study on their own).
In your prayers you ask God to save a specific person. You would not pray this way unless you believed that God would move in such a way as to change that persons’ heart. John Piper states that “irresistible grace refers to the sovereign work of God to overcome the rebellion of our heart and bring us to faith in Christ so that we can be saved. If our doctrine of total depravity is true, there can be no salvation without the reality of irresistible grace. If we are dead in our sins, totally unable to submit to God, then we will never believe in Christ unless God overcomes our rebellion.”
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day,” Jesus states in John 6:44. If as looked at previously there is none righteous then on our own we will not choose good. Romans 8:7 states that “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.” How is it then that a man would submit to God since he is not able?
Again from Piper, “Someone may say, "Yes, the Holy Spirit must draw us to God, but we can use our freedom to resist or accept that drawing." Our answer is: except for the continual exertion of saving grace, we will always use our freedom to resist God. That is what it means to be "unable to submit to God." If a person becomes humble enough to submit to God it is because God has given that person a new, humble nature. If a person remains too hard hearted and proud to submit to God, it is because that person has not been given such a willing spirit…….
NOTE: It should be obvious from this that irresistible grace never implies that God forces us to believe against our will. That would even be a contradiction in terms. On the contrary, irresistible grace is compatible with preaching and witnessing that tries to persuade people to do what is reasonable and what will accord with their best interests.”
It seems that the key point in all of Calvinism is whether or not God is sovereign in all He does. If he moves men and history or if we act in our own free will and in some way He responds to that—or is forced to. What is the biblical view of God? That for me is the crux of the issue.