So why do we pray anyhow?

How to pray? A series on prayers of the Bible.

Prayer is like beauty, nearly impossible to explain but marvelous to experience.

Prayer is like beauty, nearly impossible to explain but marvelous to experience. Photo Tumblr

WHY do we pray? There are two things I must say about this question.

1) For me, there is no satisfactory answer. For years now, I’ve meditated answers from renowned Bible teachers and theologians — and all the answers come up short. I tend to agree with the atheists: if God is omniscient and infinitely benevolent, then why do we need to pray?

stunningflowers2) The second part is critical. The effect of not finding an adequate answer to the question WHY is… disaster: we stop praying. If you ask why too much, you will conclude there ought to be no need for prayer. Regardless of the “soundness” of reasoning, stopping praying is soundly adverse.

241857442458513822_YDtvMSC3_bGod doesn’t bother to explain the WHY of prayer. He simply commands us to pray. And the weight of scriptural evidence implies that certain blessings won’t happen if we don’t pray. I’m not denying God’s unquestioned sovereignty. There’s an uncomfortable tension here that I’m comfortable with. I may never resolve the WHY, but I have decided to never abandon the WHAT*.

Just pray. Don’t look for explanations any more than you would look for an explanation of falling in love. Scientists try to reduce romance to hormones, to evolutionary theory, to getting the best mate in order to pass on genes — oh brother! talk about deficient and boring reasoning. I’ve noticed that atheists don’t stop falling in love just because there’s no adequate explanation.

From Susan's Poetic Blogosphere.

From Susan’s Poetic Blogosphere.

Prayer is falling in love with Jesus. It’s your relationship with Him. It also accomplishes powerful things in the universe. But you don’t get your every whim. You trust God to exercise His discretion. When you align your prayers with the Bible, you can be confident that He will answer (that is faith). When it doesn’t seem like His answer is best, we can trust that He will not defraud us.

*It is my experience in 33 years of Christianity that the theologians who are strong on emphasizing God’s sovereignty, don’t pray. While they are right about His sovereignty, they are wrong to disobey the Bible’s admonition to pray.

51 responses to “So why do we pray anyhow?

  1. I have been scrolling through blogs for about an hour now, thinking I would never find anything interesting until I saw yours. I am Christian as well, and lately I have been feeling down. Reading your blog post reminded me that all I need is to trust in God. I like how you pointed out that even if we feel that God doesn’t give us the right answer I always take comfort in the knowledge that he provides me with what I need.

  2. yourothermotherhere

    16 Rejoice evermore.
    17 Pray without ceasing.
    18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

  3. Very nice and interesting post. Godd reminders regarding why we should pray.. Thank you!

  4. Prayer is the ‘only link’ between man and the Source called God. Without prayer man is a ‘self-made’ orphan. That God can be called by any name. Without the awareness of that Supreme Source, a man or a woman is not even worthy of a worm! I am grateful that, that Source makes my eyes go wet in my prayer! God bless you Mike!

  5. I want to wholeheartedly echo the way you end your post: Love is the reason why. Every theory and reasoning for why we pray comes up short when it treats God as an indifferent entity or a distant power source. When we recognise God as our Father who loves us and prayer as communication with Him, then suddenly the question ‘why’ is very easily answered. Without communication there is no relationship. Prayer is crucial for loving God and knowing HIs love.

    Great blog my friend.

  6. You’re right that it’s about relationship. I’ve come to consider it a conversation, regardless of any outcome — ideally, one that brings us into closer harmony with God’s will, rather than our own. Maybe because I’m part of a tradition that practices a “waiting worship,” centering into a shared silence, I’m conscious that prayer also requires us to listen — in our hearts and emotions, especially, rather than simply keep talking. And prayer also requires us to act — so we might actually pray with our hands or feet even more than our lips.

  7. Prayer has always been a mystery to me as well, as wonderful as it is. The best explanation I can come up with is that God really did give dominion over the earth to mankind, and in prayer we submit what little bit of dominion we have to God, which in a sense “frees Him up” to do what is best, whether it is what we specifically prayed for or not. And yes, I love to pray!

  8. of course He is always present in the ground of my being but I need to let go of my intellect and self-absorption and ego-centric way of living to relax into His presence, to allow the Spirit irise up and take centre stage Until I can say with St. Paul,”No longer I that lives but Christ that Lives in me>”

  9. I don’t like to put things down so closed mindedly BUT you can’t be a Christian and NOT put PRAYER as your #1 Priority simply for it is you relationship & time spent with your FATHER GOD!!!! My life must have Prayer and Praise(Worship) they give me strength with God or Power, they give me insight to His mind, they give me a attitude of surrender to His will, they help me to change my heart and desires to align them to His, they give me Hope, they give me Peace, they give me His Presence in difficult situations. I could go on and on here but I need to finish breakfast and go for my walk with Jesus!!!

  10. Because He has given us free will we have the choice to pray. Through prayer we acknowledge that we choose God, that we recognize we cannot see, live, or be without His acknowledged presence on our lives.

  11. Prayer is a direct link between one’s spirit and God’s. My faith is always uplifted when I see direct answers to prayer – especially when it is a specific time requested one! Prayer is worship, gratitude, a cry for comfort and a peaceful acceptance that since He cares and desires only what is best for us, that His Will be done regardless of what I desire. 1 John 5:14, Mathew 21:22, Philippians 4:6, and on and on . . .We have not, because we ask not.

  12. Love that last pic, and post

  13. My favorite reason to pray, is that I am acknowledging how much I need HIM.
    Thanks for sharing this message Pastor!

  14. For me prayer is one way to communicate to God ( praise is another) . My relationship grows as I learn to listen for and obey what God tells me.

  15. I snuggle in the arms of my Father in prayer, as a child in the arms of his father. I am secure in knowing He loves me, and free as a child to ask my father to help me…I leave the results in His hands, and as a child of God I know He will do what is best for me…whatever the answers may be. I have felt confident in prayer all the days of my life, for no particular reason, I guess, except faith in the Bible and His Word. Thought provoking post.
    Thank you.

  16. I love prayer. It changes my perspective and brings me into communion with God.

  17. I always find it funny how we has humans wait until we have exhausted all other options we then will turn to prayer as a last resort. When to our knees is the first place we should be. Thank you for your post

  18. refusingtopanic

    Love the post. I like the points you made. I pray Scripture a lot and heard once that praying Scripture was reminding God of His promises. Not sure He needs reminding but I sure do! πŸ™‚
    I agree with prayer being about relationship. Can’t have much of a relationship if you aren’t talking to one another.
    Honestly, I haven’t thought much about God’s sovereignty being a reason NOT to pray – as I recall, Moses changed God’s mind a few times back in Exodus…how’s that for a mind-boggler?

    • To the Moses-changing-God’s-mind/sovereignty question, we call it a “tension” — it is something that is not easy to explain. While the atheists have a field day, what has helped me is to understand that a guitar works by tension. It is not the one extreme point or the other that makes the cord sing its melody, but the tension of it stretched across the two points. Did Moses change God’s mind? Are all events in history already planned out? You cannot make the guitar work with only one of the points. Nor should you try to explain the other point in terms of the one point. Both points are absolutely essential to be able to make music. While atheists laugh at us for not defining one or other other point, we Christians make music.

  19. “Prayer is falling in love with Jesus.” Always, you give me some little nugget to savor for the day πŸ™‚

  20. Thanks for your posts on prayer. I heard once that we pray to change the world and God mainly wants to change us, so we miss the point of prayer. We look for external answers to prayer when the real answers that eternally matter are internal, how He is shaping us into Christ’s image.
    Thanks for the like on my blog!

  21. Pingback: Marinating in Encouragement | Just As I Am

  22. Great read! For me; Prayer is our form of communicating with our CREATOR and meditation is the art of allowing our CREATOR to communicate with us. Relationship building is what it’s about.

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