2010-08-14 - Why Pray?
Originally Published 2000-10-25
Recently I was asked, "If God is all-knowing, all-powerful and has everything planned out, why pray?" It is a common question and an excellent one. I have found in the Bible four reasons for prayer, and today I am going to lay them out for you to examine and think through. You may know additional reasons; if so, I would love to hear them.
The first and most obvious reason to pray is God's command that we do so. Prayer is an act of obedience, on our part, toward God.
Matthew 26:41 (NIV) Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
Notice how Jesus did not say "if you pray" or "when you feel like praying." He expects us to pray.
Secondly, God knows everything, yet His general will allows for flexibility in our involvement in carrying out His work. For example, while He may have chosen me to play a role in leading someone to Christ, He allows me to make the choice of accepting or turning down the opportunity. If I choose not to, then I lose the blessing of being a part of God's plan, but this person will still be saved. Someone else will be part of the process, in my place. God wants us to be participants in His plans, not just observers.
Ephesians 1:3-5 (LB) How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ. Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault-we who stand before him covered with his love. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!
Even before the beginning of time, God started dealing with us. What an awesome fact to grasp! He has a plan for His children, and we can be a part of it via our prayers.
Thirdly, prayer is an act of submission, on our part, to God. We are not submissive by nature. Many men that I speak with have trouble getting down on their knees and praying to God, because they don't feel in control, or somehow believe it is unmanly. But submission to God is a key to the Christian life and fulfilling His perfect plans for us.
Luke 22:42 (NIV) "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."
Jesus' prayer in Luke is the greatest prayer of submission ever. When we can truly start praying, "Lord Your will be done, not mine," then we can become a part of His plans. Submission is not weakness; in actuality, it takes great strength and faith.
Finally, prayer is about our communion and fellowship with God. Through prayer we grow closer to Him and become more concerned about seeking His will than receiving our answers.
1 John 1:3-4 (NIV) We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.
Father-Help us to pray and to be submissive to Your will. Forgive us when we throw up our hands and say that it is no use to pray because You have everything planned out. Help us to be participants in Your plan, and not just observers -- so that we may have full fellowship with You through Your Son Jesus. In His name. Amen.