Why We Pray

Recently I was asked the question, “Why do we pray?” It’s a good question. If God is powerful and sovereign, which the Bible is clear that He is both, then why do our prayers matter. God is totally capable and in total control. What difference do our prayers make? I can think of a lot of motives for praying. Some of them are grounded in Scripture, and some of them are merely human. Why do we pray? Sometimes we pray because we are desperate for Someone, Something bigger than ourselves. Sometimes we pray because we expect the Genie in the Sky to come immediately to our aid. Sometimes we pray because we are commanded to in Scripture. Sometimes we pray because it is what we were trained to do. (All those blessings before a meal can certainly be a rote habit.) Sometimes we pray because we’ve promised someone else that we would. Sometimes we pray because we are thankful. And sometimes we pray because it’s our last resort. But as I pondered these reasons, even the good ones, I wondered what the Scriptural motive for prayer should be. And that led me to a slightly different question, “What does Scripture tell us about why we should pray?”

Jesus tells us that our Father in Heaven delights to hear from us.  When He told the parable of the wicked judge who refused the poor widow justice until she had worn him out with her request, he ended with the exhortation, that God, is not like that wicked judge. He is a good judge who longs to hear from us, and longs to respond to our needs.

Jesus also modeled a life of prayer that was rooted in relationship. Although most of His prayers are not recorded in Scripture we are told when he prayed and where. Jesus went off by himself to pray when he was busy, when he was exhausted from ministry, when he was about to be betrayed and deserted. Jesus found comfort in prayer because it was his lifeline to relationship.

From Jesus’ teaching and example we can see that prayer is a key element in knowing and loving our Father. It is an essential part of a relationship with our Savior. So I guess the real question is, “If we have the opportunity and invitation to intimately know the Creator of the universe through prayer, why wouldnt we pray?


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