My nephew just turned four years old a couple of weeks ago. He is cute and precocious, and is fully in the stage of development where he asks about a million questions a day. Most of them start with “why?” Why won’t my tractor start? Why is that doggy barking? Why do I have to take a nap? Why do I have to wear pants to church?
Valid questions for a four year old boy, most of which are met with patient answers from his parents. Sometimes, though, the answer is just “because I said so.”
Why do we pray? That’s my question today. There are several reasons, I think. One is quite as simple as an answer from Jesus saying “because I said so,” and that is reason enough. But there are other reasons we can point to in search of an answer to this question.
We pray because prayer does something in us. The act of prayer is itself a practice in humility. It requires us to come before the Lord to ask, seek, praise, confess, mourn, and rejoice with someone whose power and presence is everything we need. Prayer also strengthens us against temptation and conforms us closer to the will of God. Our communication with God through prayer also helps us feel closer to Him and experience His love for us. These are some of the things that prayer does in us.
But we also pray because prayer does something for God. Not in the sense that we have any control or power over God (we don’t), but in the sense that God created prayer because He WANTS to talk with us and because prayer is the means God has ordained for some things to happen. Prayer brings us closer to God’s will and heart, which gives Him glory and joy, and our prayers are a part of His plan for accomplishing His will in this world.
And finally, we pray because Jesus said so. Jesus was always in “prayer mode.” He prayed alone, in public, before meals, through important decisions, before and after healing people, in obedience to God’s will, for the faith of His followers, in blessing, in grief, in praise, in power. He was always in connection with God. He instructed His followers to always pray, and to not give up. Sounds like a good idea, huh?
If you’d like to learn more about why prayer matters, check out this article.