From the time they were very small, we taught our children to pray.
We prayed at meals, at bedtime, and when a fire truck or an ambulance would go by.
As far as our kids were concerned, prayer was as normal as eating, sleeping, and taking a bath. It was part of our lives – an essential activity in our daily routines.
So, it shouldn’t surprise me that our children took prayer seriously.
One of my favorite memories took place after school one day as I was driving Emily to her dance lessons.
She was just 5 years old—one of the cutest kindergartners I’ve ever known.
For a moment it was quiet in our car as if Emily were pondering some deep or heavy subject. All of a sudden, she gasped loudly. It scared me a little bit because it was so sudden.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Mom, we have got to stop right now and pray for my future husband. I’m going to get married one day, and we need to pray for him,” she exclaimed.
So, we did… that day and many, many times since.
When I meet the man that Emily will marry one day, I’m going to tell him the story.
(I think I’ll also ask him what was going on in his life in the spring of 2001 when his future wife was praying for him!)
So, why do we pray?
God knows everything already anyway.
He’s almighty, sovereign, and in control of all things. What could we possibly add to His wisdom with our feeble attempts at prayer?
It’s a great question.
To answer it, I’d like to propose 6 great reasons for us to pray:
First, we pray because we are God’s children, and He LOVES to hear from us!
The Lord takes great delight in us!
Zephaniah 3:17 reminds us of this promise:
“For the Lord, your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
When I answer the phone and it’s one of my children calling, my heart beats a little faster.
Since they are both in college and incredibly busy, I love to get a call from them or have time with them face to face.
Our God is the same way. When we make time for Him and call on Him, He loves it!
Truly, our voices and our prayers are a sweet sound in His ears.Truly, our voices and our prayers are a sweet sound in His ears. Click To Tweet
Second, we pray because it deepens our trust in God.
Prayer changes us!
It increases our faith! To take our requests, our needs, our concerns, and our hurts to the Lord in prayer brings about change in us.
When we dump our cares on the Lord, we rise up with peace and with a resolve that we didn’t have before we prayed.
Consider the words of Philippians 4:6-7:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Truly, to pray is to cast our cares on the Lord and trust Him completely.Truly, to pray is to cast our cares on the Lord and trust Him completely. Click To Tweet
Third, we pray because it causes us to depend on God.
We pray because prayer reminds us that God is the Creator and we are His creation. There is something humbling about prayer. To acknowledge that God is God and we are not—this is such a positive and a healthy thing for us to do.
Prayer limits our pride and our self-reliance.
It adjusts our attitudes.
Prayer helps us to turn our attention back to heaven.
In Isaiah 40, we are reminded of the greatness of our God. Verse 26 tells us:
“Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing.”
Truly, we pray because it takes our dependence off of ourselves and places it on the Lord.Truly, we pray because it takes our dependence off of ourselves and places it on the Lord. Click To Tweet
Fourth, we pray because it gives us the chance to express ourselves completely to the Lord.
There is healing in the expression – in the pouring out!
In Psalms 62:8, we read:
“O my people, trust in him at all times.
Pour out your heart to him,
for God is our refuge.”
Adrian Rogers used to regularly remind us,
“What we uncover, God will cover. But, what we keep covered, God will uncover.”
In our honesty with our heavenly Father, we find healing, help, and wholeness.
Prayer is a healing and restorative process.
Truly, our honest prayers can bring better health to our lives.Truly, our honest prayers can bring better health to our lives. Click To Tweet
Fifth, we pray because our prayers move the heart of God.
There is something about our prayers that changes, impacts, and affects the way that God acts. Scripture teaches us about this principle and encourages us to fervently pray.
In James 4:2, we are told:
“ Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.”
We do not get every single thing that we pray for or ask for.
And, often, this is a good thing.
We will not be able to determine how our God will answer our prayers, but we are instructed over and over in the Bible to pray. When we pray, God responds. Our prayers impact the heart of the Lord.
And, our only job is to pray. God is the one who must answer the prayers. That is His job and His responsibility.
For example, I think of a time years ago when my son Riley was about 4 years old.
I was putting on my makeup in the master bath of our home, and he came up to watch. For a long while, he just stared and watched—mesmerized by something I was doing.
Finally, after a few minutes, he looked up at me with huge blue eyes and asked,
“Mommy, would you marry me?”
I would have if I could have!
But, I had to tell him that I was already taken. I was married to Daddy, and God would have to send him his own wife.
Honestly, just as my little boy’s request touched my heart, so also our requests touch the heart of God.
Although He may not be ready (or in my case able) to answer our requests, He loves to hear us ask. Our requests move His heart just as my little son’s request moved my heart that day.
Truly, our prayers influence the heart of God.Truly, our prayers influence the heart of God. Click To Tweet
Sixth, we pray because it’s an amazing way that we get to be involved with what God is already doing in our world.
Through our prayers, God works to heal, save, help, and assist other people. We pray because it allows us to participate in God’s work around the globe. To pray is to do ministry. To pray is to serve the Lord and others.
Throughout Paul’s ministry, he was constantly asking for prayer and being supported by the believers in prayer.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:25, Paul simply writes:
“Brethren, pray for us.”
A wonderful example of prayer ministry
Recently, our pastor returned from a mission trip to Myanmar, also known as Burma. A family from our church serves in this region, and we support them through gifts and visits to serve alongside them.
Myanmar is a very poor nation that is bordered by China, India, Laos, and Thailand. The people have very little but they are an incredibly generous group. Additionally, those who’ve come to believe in Jesus are devout and serious about their faith.
During my pastor’s visit, one of the leaders told him that they had been earnestly praying for America, for our presidential election, and for our country.
Throughout the fall, they regularly met, got on their faces, and prayed for the United States. Their greatest request… that God would continue to bless our nation and keep it focused on Him because so many other nations were depending on us.
What a wonderful example of a group of people partnering with God in prayer!
Truly, to pray is to get “in” on what God is doing around the world.Truly, to pray is to get “in” on what God is doing around the world. Click To Tweet
Why do we pray—if God already knows everything anyway?
Let me answer in the words of some giants of the faith:
“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.”
– Charles Spurgeon
“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”
– Abraham Lincoln
“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.”
– Mother Teresa
“To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.”
– Billy Graham
“Prayer is the link that connects us with God.”
– A.B. Simpson
“When the devil sees a man or woman who really believes in prayer, who knows how to pray, and who really does pray, and above all, when he sees a whole church on its face before God in prayer, he trembles as much as he ever did, for he knows that his day in that church or community is at an end.”
– R.A. Torrey
Want more on prayer?
Here’s a free printable for you, and you might want to check out these additional articles on prayer.
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Join us as we take a clear and practical look at some of the most basic and essential tenants of the Christian life – the doctrines of the faith.
Each week, we will highlight and explain a core doctrine. Then, we will pose the question, “Why does this matter to you and me?”
You can catch all of this year’s “Delight in Doctrine” posts by clicking HERE.
For the purposes of the study, our main texts will be first, the Bible, of course, and Wayne Grudem’s classic, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine.
It is our prayer that by the end of 2017, we will all find more delight in understanding what we believe and why we believe it.
“…And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)
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