Why pray?

Question: "Why pray? What is the point of prayer when God knows the future and is already in control of everything. If we cannot change God's mind, why should we pray?"

Why pray? Why pray when God is already in perfect control of everything? Why pray when God knows what we are going to ask before we ask it?

(1) Prayer is a form of serving God (Luke 2:36-38). We pray because God commands us to pray (Philippians 4:6-7).

(2) Prayer is exemplified for us by Christ and the early church (Mark 1:35; Acts 1:14; 2:42; 3:1; 4:23-31; 6:4; 13:1-3). If Jesus thought it was worthwhile to pray, we should also.

(3) God intends for prayer to be the means of obtaining His solutions in a number of situations:

a) Preparation for major decisions (Luke 6:12-13)
b) Overcoming demonic barriers in lives (Matthew 17:14-21)
c) The gathering of workers for the spiritual harvest (Luke 10:2)
d) The gaining of strength to overcome temptation (Matthew 26:41)
e) The means of strengthening others spiritually (Ephesians 6:18-19)

(4) We have God's promise that our prayers are not in vain, even if we don't receive specifically what we asked for (Matthew 6:6; Romans 8:26-27).

(5) He has promised that when we ask for things that are in accordance with His will, He will give us what we ask for (1 John 5:14-15).

Sometimes He delays His answers according to His wisdom and for our benefit. In these situations, we are to be diligent and persistent in prayer (Matthew 7:7; Luke 18:1-8). Prayer should not be seen as our means of getting God to do our will on earth, but rather as a means of getting God's will done on earth. God’s wisdom far exceeds our own.

In situations for which we do not know specifically what God's will is, prayer is a means of discerning God’s will. If Peter had not asked for Jesus to call for him to come out of the boat and onto the water, he would have missed that opportunity (Matthew 14:28-29). If the Syrian woman with the demon-influenced daughter had not prayed to Christ, her daughter would not have been made whole (Mark 7:26-30). If the blind man outside of Jericho would not have called out to Christ, he would have still been blind (Luke 18:35-43). God has said that often we go without because we do not ask (James 4:2). In one sense, prayer is like sharing the gospel with people. We do not know who will respond to the message of the gospel until we share it. It is the same with prayer: we will never see the results of answered prayer until we pray.

A lack of prayer demonstrates the a lack of faith and a lack of trust in God’s Word. We pray to demonstrate our faith in God, that He will do as He has promised in His Word, and will bless our lives abundantly more than we could ask or hope for (Ephesians 3:20). Prayer is our primary means of seeing God work in others' lives. Because it is our means of "plugging into" God's power, it is our means of defeating a foe and his army (Satan and his army) that we are powerless to overcome by ourselves. Therefore, may God find us often before His throne, for we have a High Priest in heaven who can identify with all that we go through (Hebrews 4:15-16). We have His promise that the fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much (James 5:16-18). May God glorify His name in our lives as we believe in Him enough to come to Him often in prayer.

Recommended Resource: Prayer, The Great Adventure by David Jeremiah.

Related Topics:

Who are we to pray to, the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit?

What are some hindrances to effective prayer?

How can I have my prayers answered by God?

What is the proper way to pray?

What does it mean to pray without ceasing?

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