God is almighty, sovereign and in control of everything. God knows everything already anyway. Then why do we need to pray? There have been several occasions in my life when I have been asking this question to myself. It is a great question. What could we possibly add to God’s wisdom with our feeble attempts at prayer? But most people agree that praying is good. We need to pray, because we need something beyond ourselves. We can actually see a need to pray all around us making it obvious why do we need to pray. Why do we pray? We pray because it is how we communicate with God. In Luke 11:1 we see one day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” There is nothing more important in life than to learn how to pray. Prayer is the most important thing we can learn how to do. Prayer is where we learn to talk to God, understand him, connect with him, and understand ourselves. Why is it important to pray? Prayer gives us untapped power. It unlocks, ignites, heals, transforms, empowers, and calms. When we deal with our sin, God listens to our prayers and acts on our behalf. Leaving things unresolved makes it difficult for us to be honest in prayer and we feel let down and vulnerable, causing our prayers to be distracted. Our prayers have a spiritual impact and prayer initiates a Godly action on our behalf. Our prayers create activity in the spiritual realm and influence the physical realm. Prayer is a weapon that attacks and defeats the spiritual forces of evil. When we pray truthfully, acknowledge and confess our sin prayer unlocks us. When we keep silent, we have no strength and our guilt remains. When we pray honestly, we are energized and God gives us confidence, trust and freedom. Prayer refocuses us on God and not on ourselves or other people.
When we call ourselves Christians, taking upon us the name of Christ and trying to be like Him we should pray. When Christ was on the earth He set an example by praying. He prayed for guidance, He prayed for his disciples and followers, He prayed in gratitude and praise, He prayed when he instituted the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, and when He was on the Cross. So, if we are calling ourselves Christian, and becoming like Christ, then we should pray, as He did. Prayer is indeed our opportunity to come to know God and build a relationship with Him. However, it is critical to understand that in order to build that relationship we must understand that prayer requires two-way communication. Building a relationship with God is similar to building relationships with people around us, conversations need to go both ways; we talk, and then we listen. It is the same with God. Prayer allows us the opportunity to tell God how we are feeling, ask for guidance, assistance and answers to questions, but it is also our opportunity to learn from Him what His will is for us. We need to pray to come to know God and build a relationship with Him, to ask for strength, healing, or to make requests or petitions, to come to understand God’s will for us and because we are commanded to do so. We can also pray and ask God to help us find purpose in our lives. He has a plan for us and desires to lead and guide us. I know from my own experience that when I have humbled myself in prayer and offered myself as a tool for Him, God has guided me in making life plans and decisions. He has even given me purpose that gets me through performing the mundane and seemingly purposeless tasks of daily life.
Prayer is the key to the heart of God. Prayer is the only way to a real and personal relationship with God. There is nothing we can’t pray about. There are abundant references to prayer in the Bible. The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing” and “in everything give thanks to the Lord.” When we choose to have a positive attitude, we realize we have received many blessings for which to give God praise. We find intimacy with God through communicating with Him in prayer. We go to Him in faith, knowing that He hears and answers all our prayers. Be confident that God knows and wants what is best for us; so ask that His will be done in all we seek from Him. Then, thank Him for it, even though it has not happened yet. True prayer is all about telling God what is in your heart, communing with God as you grasp His will, communicating with God through His words, feeling especially close to God, sensing He is there before you, and believing you have something to say to Him. When praying, you must have a heart that is quiet before God, and you must have a sincere heart. Do not carelessly say whatever comes to mind. There must be a burden on your heart, that is, you must have an objective when you pray.
In conclusion let me say, we pray because we are God’s children and He loves to hear from us. He loves us and He has promised to hear us when we pray. 1 Peter 3:12 says “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 John 5:15 says “And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” Prayer is possible because Jesus Christ has removed the barrier between us and God—a barrier caused by our sins. We pray because it deepens our trust in God. Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” We pray because it causes us to depend on God. Isaiah 40:26 says “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” We pray because it gives us the chance to express ourselves completely to the Lord. Psalm 62:8 says “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” We pray because our prayers move the heart of God. James 4:2 says “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” We pray because it is an amazing way that we get to be involved with what God is already doing in our world. 1 Thessalonians 5:25 says “Brothers and sisters, pray for us.” Mother Teresa once said like this about prayer “I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that He will guide me to do whatever I am supposed to do, what I can do. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.” “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.”