This question is often asked by frustrated, worried, thoughtful, loving, faithful Christians. The question is: WHY SHOULD WE PRAY?
This is a list in my files (if you know where it originated, please let me know so I can credit the author) that I have saved for several years. It inspired me in 2004 when I found it and acts as a reminder for me when I wander too far from my knees.
1. Prayer enhances our fellowship and intimacy with God. “I love the Lord, because he hears my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live” (Psalm 116:1-2). “Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know’” (Jeremiah 33:2-3).
2. The Scriptures command us to pray. “Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart” (Luke 18:1). “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18). “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). “I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).
3. When we pray, we follow the example of Christ and other great people in Scripture like Moses and Elijah. “And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35). “The people therefore cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire died out” (Numbers 11:2). “Then it came about at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel, and that I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again” (1 Kings 18:36-37). “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16; cf. 5:17-18).
4. Prayer appropriates God’s power for our lives. In prayer, God allows us to participate with Him in the accomplishment of His purposes and demonstration of His power. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). “And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31; cf. Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 4:2-4).
5. We receive special help from God when we pray. “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
6. Prayer makes a genuine difference. God uses it to change people and shape history (Luke 11:9-10; James 5:16-18). “When I pray, coincidences happen; when I don’t, they don’t” (William Temple).
7. Prayer develops our understanding and knowledge of God (Psalm 37:3-6; 63:1-8; Ephesians 1:16-19). In it we acknowledge our dependence upon Him for all our spiritual, emotional, intellectual, and physical needs so that we continue to trust Him for everything. “In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God’s thoughts after Him: to desire the things He desires, to love the things He loves” (Richard Foster). “Prayer—secret, fervent, believing prayer—lies at the root of all personal godliness” (William Carey).
8. Our prayers and God’s answers give us joy and peace in our hearts (John 16:23-24; Philippians 4:6-7). Our problems may not disappear, but in prayer we gain a new perspective on our problems along with the peace and patience to stand firm.
9. Prayer helps us understand and accomplish God’s purposes for our lives. This was what Paul desired for the Colossians: “we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience” (Colossians 1:9-11). “Spiritual power is not the power of prayer, but the power of God realized in action through a man in the attitude of prayer” (J. A. Hanne).
10. Prayer changes our attitudes and desires (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). In prayer we acknowledge the greatness of God’s character and our desire to become more conformed to His character. We also acknowledge that in His wisdom He works all the things that happen in our lives together for our good (Romans 8:28). “Prayer keeps us trusting God for everything, opens the way for the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of Jesus, and enables God to touch the lives of others whom we meet” (David Watson).
- Prayers Please (hurtingbuthopeful.wordpress.com)