"When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened."
There is nothing more frustrating than being a parent and trying to follow the good book. "Spare the rod and spoil the child" is in the back of any effective parent's mind when it comes to uprearing.
OK, so the concrete definition of the "rod" has changed and taken the back burner to other effective reinforcements in the form of consequences. Nonetheless, moral values get enforced and fully functioning beings emerge with diligent patience.
But even with the best interests at heart, and the strongest stance enforced, there are times when we relinquish punishments. How can you say no to that pleading face that has just apologized to his brother and straightened up the living room in good faith? Sometimes you just can't because good intentions bring forth a whole new spectrum when a child knowingly repents from bad behavior.
And God changes his mind too.........
God changed his mind about destroying the people of Nineveh. He called Jonah to tell the city of Nineveh that God was going to destroy the city in forty days. To Jonah's dismay, "the Ninevites believed God." (Jonah 3:5. When the king of Nineveh heard Jonah's prophecy he said,
Let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone
call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their
violence. Who knows? God may get relent and with compassion
turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish. (Jonah 8-9)
When God saw their change of hear, "he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened". (Jonah 10)
God can change his mind when we demonstrate a change of heart.
And so we may be tempted to think, "What may be will happen". God will do what he sees best so what's the point? Why pray? Nothing can be further from the truth. Just as in Nineveh, we too can change God's heart. Our prayers matter and that is why we pray.