Why Should We Pray?
Prayer is a gift from God. It is the one way in which Christians can have an open and honest conversation with the Creator of the Universe. But if you’ve never been a praying Christian, it can be challenging to understand why we should pray; those who do have a practice of prayer understand why we need prayer and how prayer can help the people we pray for, and ourselves. Let’s explore prayer and how this spiritual practice can not only help but even transform your life.
Do we need to pray?
We need prayer as much as we need air to breathe. Prayer acknowledges our dependence on the Holy Spirit to guide us to live the way God wants us to live. Jesus warned His disciples about trying to move forward solely on the basis of their strength: Mark 10: 27 “And Jesus looking on them said, with men, it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”
- We pray to serve God. (Luke 2:36-38)—Just as did the prophetess Anna, we are to worship, pray, fast, and serve God day and night. As Christians, we love God, and prayer is a way to show our love.
- We pray because God commands it. (Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 4:2, Luke 18:1)—We are to bring every anxious thought, worry, and petition to God, without ceasing and with thanksgiving. God will understand us and, through Jesus, guard our hearts and minds. By devoting ourselves to prayer, we can be watchful for Christ’s return and thankful for his redemptive grace and to pray and not give up.
- We pray because Jesus prayed. (Mark 1:35; Matthew 14:23, Luke 5:16, Mark 14:34-36)—There are many times recounted in the Bible where Jesus called upon the Lord. He too felt the temptations of this world and needed God’s Peace and Strength to carry on. Jesus prayed before preaching to the 5,000 in Galilee, after that event, after he healed large crowds, and when he accepted God’s Will over his own in the garden.
How can prayer help?
Prayer, taken seriously and in the form of a daily practice, is a powerful tool that can protect us and help us prosper. Before we get into how prayer can help, let’s look at what prayer is not. Most importantly, prayer is not a wish, even though we can share our wants and needs with God. But it is written that when we pray in God’s Will, our heart’s desires will be satisfied.
This does not suggest to make a laundry list of one’s desires and bring them to God so that he will give us what we want. On the contrary, God answers prayers in three ways: yes, no – and wait. In our world of instant messaging, instant information and instant gratification … it’s challenging to wait and be patient for an answer.
But when we pray in God’s Will and trust that He will do what is best for us, our prayers line up with His desires, and He wants nothing more than to see His desires become a reality in our world.
7 ways we can use prayer.
1. Against spiritual attacks
We can pray to overcome demonic barriers. Like the little boy in Matthew, we are often confused and overtaken with lies the world tells us. In this boy’s case, his will was dominated by evil. Jesus rebuked the demons possessing the boy and cast them out. We can do the same with our demons. (Matthew 17:14-21)
2. To ask for forgiveness and repentance
There was only one perfect, sinless man, and he was our Lord Jesus. All of the rest of us come from and have a sinful nature that needs to be forgiven. If we ask for forgiveness and turn from our ways, God, who is merciful and just, will cleanse us, and through His Son, Jesus, restore us to righteousness. How wonderful is that!?! (Romans 3:23-26)
3. For discernment
It could not have been an easy decision to commit to teach 12 regular men to do the work of God. We see that Jesus took his time to make such a decision, spending much time in prayer. We too can use prayer to help make significant decisions. When we turn to God for guidance, we may find that He leads us to an even better answer, one we didn’t know existed. His wisdom is far beyond our own. (Luke 6:12-13)
4. To humble ourselves before the Lord
As humans, it’s in our nature to try to do everything within our own power and strengths, and the world supports this thinking. As Christians, however, we find that our path is made straight if we learn to humble ourselves and rely on the Lord. When we kneel with open hands and a bowed head, we submit our mind, body and spirit to communicate with God. This is a fantastic gift and allows us direct communication with God. If we continue to humble our will daily, God will hear us and we can accomplish God’s calling for our lives. (John 15:5,7, NIV)
5. To glorify God
We pray to demonstrate our faith. The Bible tells us that He will do as He has promised. By praying to Him and connecting to His will, and then taking action based on His guidance, He will bless our lives abundantly more than we could ask or hope. (Ephesians 3:20)
6. To give thanks
Be thankful for everything in your life, including that life itself. Everything we are and have comes from God. With Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, God saved us in a way we couldn’t have accomplished through the old sacrificial system. We will always have troubles, but Jesus has overcome the world, and through him, we have peace. (John 16:33)
7. As intercession
When Jesus died for us and sent Christians our Advocate, the Holy Spirit, He allowed us direct access to God. This gift allows Christians to raise others to God through prayer. Even if those others may not be Christian, we can ask on their behalf for God’s Will to be done in their lives. Because God wants to bring all the lost back to Him, this is a prayer He gladly hears. (John 17: 20-23)
Prayer is a conversation.
There will be times in your life when words will fail you. Know that the Lord will hear your wordless prayers and groans. At times like these, the Holy Spirit speaks for us. The Holy Spirit will share everything and anything burdening our hearts and raise it to God for strength and resolution.
How should we pray?
Jesus gave us the “Lord’s Prayer” ( Matthew 6:9-13.) to use in our daily lives. However, the Lord’s Prayer is far from the only way you can pray; in fact, your prayer might not have words; it may be feelings, groans, or images in your mind’s eye that you lift to the Lord.
There is no right or wrong way to pray. The fact that you are make a conscious decision to sacrifice your time to spend time with the Lord is the first step showing you that your prayer is pleasing to God. Come to the Lord in sincerity, honor and humbleness. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” (James 5:16)
The most important thing we need to remember about prayer.
God will answer. His answer may not be as audible or obvious as many of us would wish. His answers come in the form of a Bible verse we read, a sermon we hear from our pastors, repeated messages we hear from other believers, and even dreams and visions. These are all ways that God communicates with his children.
Remembering to listen.
While we go to God with our hopes, dreams, praise, needs, pains and inevitable disappointments … we need to remember to listen. God’s answer may come to us in the small voice in our Spirit or the hug of a child. When you pray, remember to listen and trust in God to answer.
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About the author: Eva Hatzenbihler is a Christian, wife, mom, real estate investor, and freelance copywriter for all things real estate, mortgage, small business and to Glorify God through words. To learn more visit our about page.