Why should we pray? I gotta admit, I kinda love this question. I mean, what the heck is the point of prayer? Prayer is powerful thing. We hear that all the time. But why is prayer so powerful? What exactly happens when we pray?
I think one of the biggest reasons why people pray is to get answers. And you know, I would put myself in that category, too. 🙂
I pray for answers in my own life, answers for why bad things happen to good people, answers to the complex questions about the universe. Why am I here? Why were we even created? Having questions is not a bad thing. I think God actually loves it when we come to Him with our questions.
The problem though is God doesn’t always answer our questions. And if He does, it’s def not always the answer we want. So, if we’re praying only to receive answers, and then we don’t even receive an answer (let alone the answer we want)…well then, why even keep praying?
Using “answers” as your motivation can feel like a losing battle sometimes. That’s why “answers” can’t be the only reason for prayer. That’ll make you quit praying REAL quick.
Or maybe you have the perception that praying should be a grocery list of things you need. Lord, please give me a pony, a husband, lots of money, 3 beautiful children, and a 5-bedroom house. If you wanted to throw in a Lexus, well, I wouldn’t be upset. 😉
But let’s just assume (just for argument’s sake) that we’re not only asking for materialistic items. How about the really difficult grocery list? Lord, please save my child from cancer. Lord, please help my husband find employment. Lord, please save my marriage.
But even for these requests, the Bible tells us that God already knows what we need before we even ask Him (Matthew 6:8). So once again we have to wonder, what’s the point?
And finally, what leaves me the most perplexed is when I hear stories of how God woke people up in the middle of the night to pray for someone else who is in need. Whaaat?! Why? Couldn’t God just help them on His own? Why would God need someone else’s prayer as well?
These are all very good questions, and they all kinda leave you wondering, what is the point of prayer? Why should we be praying?
So, with all of that said, let’s look at Jesus. He’s our standard, right? Jesus prayed ALL THE TIME. But why? Jesus was perfect. Did He need something? Did He not understand the complexities of the universe? The man wasn’t sinning, so we can assume He wasn’t asking for forgiveness. So why did Jesus need to pray?
I have a crazy hunch that the same reasons why Jesus was praying are the same reasons why WE should be praying. So, let’s take a deeper look into the 5 reasons why we should pray. (and honestly, there’s more than 5 reasons to pray, but let’s just keeping things simple, kay?) 🙂
5 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Pray
1. To Strengthening Your Relationship with God
If you take anything away from this post, I hope this point is the one you take home with you. The biggest reason to pray is to communicate and create a relationship with God.
We learn from the Bible that Jesus would frequently leave the crowds and go to a private place to pray (Luke 5:16). I honestly find this very telling. Was Jesus just a loner? I don’t think so. What it tells us is even Jesus needed time alone to be in relationship with God. It is through prayer that we are able to communicate our emotions and desires with God. It is where we talk with Him as if we are talking to a close friend. Prayer allows us to openly share how we feel, our thoughts, our ups and our downs. After all, God is the only one who truly knows how we feel, or what we are going through.
2. To Ask for Guidance
Even Jesus asked for God’s guidance. When choosing the twelve apostles, Luke 6:12-13 says, “Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles.”
All of the reasons to pray are special to me, but asking for guidance might be my favorite. I say that because it constantly amazes me how much God will lead you when you simply ask. When you ask God for help, you are allowing Him to mold you and fill you up with more of Him, and less of everything else. God is a gentleman after all, He won’t force you to do anything. But if you ask for His guidance, He will swoop in and help you in ways that you didn’t even know you needed help.
- Do you need help forgiving someone who has wronged you? Ask.
- Do you need God to guide you towards your purpose? Ask.
- Do you need God to lead you in your business. Ask.
- Do you need God to send you a word of encouragement? Ask.
- Do you need a friend in your life? Don’t be shy, ask for it.
The one thing I would be wary of is only praying when you need help. Trust me, this is easy to do. Have you ever heard of the term “valley Christian”? It’s a fairly new term for me, but it basically means you only ask for help during the low parts of your life. The “valley”. You should absolutely pray during your valleys (please do!) but that shouldn’t be the ONLY time you pray. You shouldn’t have the attitude of, well humpy dumpty is back together again. Thanks God, peace out! God is not a magic genie.
Instead, prayer should be a continual conversation (Reason #1), whether you need something, or not.
3. To Ask for Forgiveness
We don’t really see from Jesus’ life him asking God for forgiveness, however Jesus was perfect. So, there’s that.
But, Jesus does discuss forgiveness during his famous Sermon on the Mount. During this sermon Jesus gives us the Lord’s Prayer as a template for how we should be praying. In it He specifically highlights forgiveness. Jesus says, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).
That is honestly some pretty heavy stuff. Since we are all humans (everyone nod your head – yes I am a human), that means we are all also sinners. As much as we try, we still mess up, and we are constantly in need of forgiveness from our Heavenly Father.
Asking for forgiveness is an important part of prayer, but it is also important to remember to forgive others as well. If you find that hard to do – then maybe circle back to #2 and ask for guidance to help you to forgive. 🙂
4. To Unlock Faith in Your Life
This is actually one reason for prayer that leaves me constantly amazed. One of the most bizarre miracles in the Bible has to be from Mark 9:19-29. In this story a boy is unable to hear or speak due to an evil spirit. The disciples are unable to cast out the evil spirit, so Jesus (who is quite annoyed by their inability) has to do it. The boy’s father says, “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” To this Jesus responds, “What do you mean, ‘If I can? Anything is possible if a person believes”. The father instantly cries out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”. Then Jesus rebukes the evil spirit.
Later the disciples ask why they weren’t able to cast out the evil spirit, to which Jesus replies, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer”.
I’ll let you chew on that one for a second.
In Matthew 17:14-20 this exact same story is told again. This time when the disciples asked why they couldn’t cast out the demon Jesus responds, “you don’t have enough faith. I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible”.
Prayer is a powerful thing. Prayer is the key that unlocks faith in our lives. By regularly communicating with God we learn to have complete trust and reliance on Him alone. This trust allows us to have a stronger faith so we can believe without doubt or hesitation.
Mark 9:23 says, “Anything is possible if a person believes.” Jesus puts a lot of emphasis on simply believing and having faith.
- “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” – Matthew 21:22
- “Daughter, be encouraged! Your faith has made you well” – Matthew 9:22
- “Because of your faith, it will happen” – Matthew 9:29
- “Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.” – Luke 5:20
I believe that by having faith, your prayers unlock something in heaven which allows God to move in your life. We must believe, but you must first unlock faith so you can believe without doubt.
5. To Ask for Something You Want
Raise your hand if this one comes the easiest to you (I know I am the first one to raise my hand). You might already have guessed that getting our needs met is not the primary purpose of prayer. However, it is still a central part for why we should be praying.
When Jesus wanted something, He didn’t hesitate to instruct the disciples to pray for it. In Matthew 9:37-38 Jesus says to the disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more works into his fields.”
There’s nothing wrong with asking God questions or asking God for “things”. Nothing wrong with it at all, actually. Quite the contrary, the Bible actually encourages us to ask for what we want (James 4:2) and tells us that God cares about our needs (1 Peter 5:7) and wants to bless us with good things (Matthew 7:11).
Jesus actually says in Matthew 21:22, “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.”
I have an amazing story of some friends of mine who were looking to purchase a house. They prayed to God for their perfect house, already knowing the exact type of house they wanted, the neighborhood they wanted, and the price they wanted. They even added in a little prayer for God to include a pond in the back. After months of searching for their house, their real estate agent comes to them saying he can’t believe it, but a house in the neighborhood they were wanting just lowered their price and was now in their price range. They anxiously go to look at it and are amazed that it’s everything they had asked for in prayer. It even had a little pond in the back.
Coincidence? I don’t think so. I think that’s God being a good Father who wants to bless His children with good things. Pray for what you want. Pray for the life you want. Pray small things and pray for your biggest goals and dreams. If it’s important to you, then it’s important to God. After all, Jesus says that if you have faith, you can ask for anything in prayer and you will receive it. 🙂
Why do you think you should pray? Love to know in the comments below!
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