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Why do we pray?

Scott Lim

3 November 2020

These are some of the questions that I am routinely asked as the principal of Planetshakers Bible College: Why do I need to pray? Does God hear my prayers? If God knows everything, can prayer change things?

I think prayer is one of the fundamental privileges that we are given as Christians. What is it? It is simply communication with God. What a privilege! Think about this for a moment—the holy, all-mighty, and all-powerful God of the universe wants to interact with you and I! Incredible!

Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, put it this way: “To be a Christian is to pray.” It is fundamentally ‘part and parcel’ of our faith, but more importantly, I believe it is an existential feature of our collective humanity. Anthropologists will tell you that every civilisation—past or present—has divine communication central to it’s cultural experience. From the ancient Aztecs and Mayans, to the Greeks and Romans—even our Indigenous Australians— all embraced some form of prayer. This continues to be seen in the modern-day.

Do you want to know the amazing thing about our Christian faith? Not only is prayer central, but we also have a God who promises to communicate back to us when we pray!
The writer of the book of Hebrews in the Bible, tells us this:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Wow, what a promise! We can approach God with confidence. It shouldn’t surprise us that God wants us to draw near to Him since the cornerstone of every strong relationship is communication—and prayer is exactly that! He wants to be in relationship with us and that means talking to each other—honestly and frequently!

Why should I pray?

  1. God’s Word tells us to pray

    What could be simpler? God is so in love with us and so desires a relationship with humanity (after all, that is why Jesus went to the cross for us), that He commands us in His Word to pray. Here are some Bible passages that reinforce this:

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
“Pray continually”

Prayer is an act of obedience. God calls us to pray and we choose to respond out of honour for Him.

God is so in love with us and so desires a relationship with humanity, that He commands us in His Word to pray

  1. Jesus, our perfect example, prayed regularly!

    In theology, I believe the two greatest mysteries of our God are the Trinity and the humanity/divinity of Christ (also known as the ‘hypostatic union’). For the latter, we are familiar with the theological truth that Christ was and continues to be both divine and human all at the same time. Therefore, if He is God, why does He need to pray? Well, I believe that Jesus prayed in order to demonstrate to us, as His disciples, the power and importance of prayer. Christ routinely prayed as seen in the following examples:

“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone.”
“Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”

So, the simple fact is that if Jesus prayed fervently and regularly, so should we!

  1. Prayer is how we communicate with God

    As previously detailed, prayer is powerful because it is the main method by which we communicate with our God. In our prayer time, we can magnify and adore Him, confess our sins and ask for repentance, seek His help to forgive others and to ask Him to deliver us from the evil one. Does that sound familiar? It’s the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13, NIV). Prayer also grants us the opportunity to present our requests to God. The first section of the Lord’s Prayer details this; ‘give us today our daily bread.’ God not only wants to communicate with you but He also desires to shelter you, to provide for all of your needs and to strengthen you!

God not only wants to communicate with you but He also desires to shelter you, to provide for all of your needs and to strengthen you!

” … if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land”
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the lord will renew their strength.They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need”
  1. Prayer is powerful— it helps us overcome!

    The Bible is very clear that we do not battle against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in spiritual and heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12, NIV). If this is a real battle that we must face in our lives (spiritually at least), then what are our spiritual weapons? Well, they are the ‘armour of God’ (Ephesians 6:13-17, NIV) and prayer! Anyone can be strong spiritually if they pray, intercede and seek God for their breakthrough. Can I encourage you today that prayer helps us overcome obstacles and challenges in the spiritual realm! We can call upon God to grant us power over evil.

Anyone can be strong spiritually if they pray, intercede and seek God for their breakthrough.

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
  1. Answered prayer is a powerful testimony

    Finally friends, think about this: When you go to God seeking relief or a miracle in some area of your life and He faithfully answers your prayers, not only do you experience victory in that particular situation, but you also gain a great testimony. Revelation 12:11 tells us that it is by the blood of Jesus and the power of our testimony that the enemy is defeated. Answered prayer is a testimony (when declared to others) and therefore, a powerful weapon to defeat the enemy!

Revelation 12:11 tells us that it is by the blood of Jesus and the power of our testimony that the enemy is defeated. Our answered prayer is a testimony— a powerful weapon to defeat the enemy!

So there you have it, prayer is powerful! Prayer draws us close to God and is a powerful weapon against the enemy in our lives. Why don’t you try it today and make it a habit in your life! You have full access to our great God!

Key Points

  • God wants us to draw near to Him since the cornerstone of every strong relationship is communication—and prayer is exactly that! He wants to be in a relationship with us, and that means talking to each other—honestly and frequently!
  • God is so in love with us and so desires a relationship with humanity, that He commands us in His Word to pray.
  • If Jesus prayed fervently and regularly, so should we!
  • God not only wants to communicate with you but He also desires to shelter you, to provide for all of your needs and to strengthen you!
  • Prayer is powerful! It helps us overcome obstacles and challenges in the spiritual realm.
  • Revelation 12:11 tells us that it is by the blood of Jesus and the power of our testimony that the enemy is defeated. Our answered prayer is a testimony—a powerful weapon to defeat the enemy!