Sunday, December 27, 2009
Article: Why Pray?
A web article on "Why Pray?" (source link here):
Why pray? Scripture offers many reasons to pray. We are to pray for:
* our relationship with God,
* forgiveness of sins,
* our friends, family, and others,
* those who do not know God,
* world leaders,
* thanksgiving and praise,
* direction, wisdom, knowledge,
* God’s provision.
Prayer is highly encouraged and commanded in the Bible. Come along as we explore these many reasons to pray in the context of God’s Word.
* Prayer not only establishes a relationship with God, it is vital to maintaining our relationship with Him. To illustrate, two friends who are in constant communion learn about each other, do things together, and share problems with each other. Thus, the key element of prayer is that it establishes a relationship with God. Abraham experienced this in Genesis 18:16-33.
This is evidenced in the life of Jesus. He constantly went before God in prayer to determine God’s will and direction, resist temptation, ask for courage, discover what His Father in heaven would do, offer thanksgiving, pray for others, etc. Matthew 26:36-39 and Mark 14:34-41 describe Jesus being very distressed about His crucifixion. He brings this matter to His Father, seeking His will.
Other Scriptures have Jesus directing believers to pray. Mark 13:33 tells us to watch and pray, for we do not know when the time will come for His return.
Jesus offers thanks before feeding the crowd in Luke 9:16. In John 11:41-45, Jesus thanks God aloud for hearing His prayer for Lazarus “for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe you sent me." John chapter 17 describes Jesus interceding in prayer for his disciples and all believers. John 17:20 says, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony.”
* Prayer is recognizing who God is and offering Him glory, honor, and adoration. Examples of this are found throughout the Bible, especially in the Psalms. Jesus illustrates this in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
* Prayer is seeking direction from God. In Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus talks about asking, seeking, and knocking, “For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks.” Jesus encourages us to ask God for things. “If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?”
* The Apostles reflected Jesus’ attitude toward prayer and encouraged and commended prayer in their writings. In Philippians 4:6, Paul tells believers to pray for everything with thanksgiving. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Paul writes, “Keep on praying.” Prayer, for Paul, is the ultimate lifeline for the believer to God. James 1:5-7 says, “If you need wisdom -- if you want to know what God wants you to do -- ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”
Why pray? Jesus is a prime example of a life lived by prayer that offers relevance, purpose, answers, and most of all, a relationship with God the Father. Jesus prayed wholeheartedly for every move He made, asking God for guidance, leading, and direction. He prayed prayers of thanks, prayers for healing, prayers for His disciples, and prayers for believers -- present and future.
Prayer is essential to fellowship with God. Not just to have our prayers answered by God, nor just because the Scriptures tell us to, though that is reason enough. God is the Father of the entire human race, and God cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) This means the child of God can pray, ask, and cast all his care upon God, his Father. Paul states in Romans 8:15, when we are His children, adopted into His family, we can begin calling him, "Father, dear Father."
Why Pray? James 5:16 provides another worthwhile answer. “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” Why pray? God says it makes quite an impact!