Why Pray?

Why Pray?


Jerry N. Duncan, Ph.D., ABPP

What is the purpose of prayer? If God’s design is established, and His will is lined out, what difference does it make if I pray?

If God has already said, “I will meet all of your needs…” (Philippians 4:19), what purpose does it serve to ask for things we need for ourselves and for those we care about?

When the disciples asked Jesus how to pray, didn’t He instruct them to ask for their daily bread and for help with temptation and deliverance from evil? Am I supposed to pray for my needs or not?

I found this interesting prayer that is identified as, “The Soldier’s Prayer”--

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do great things,
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all men, most richly blessed.

Can I trust God to have my best interests at heart when I pray? When I pray, should the prayer be based on that trust, so that my prayers for healing or help with difficult circumstances result in an attitude of peace and confidence when I am through, regardless of the “answer?”

Is prayer my opportunity to communicate directly with a Creator who originally designed me to have intimate conversation with Him, and know that He is enjoying the experience? He does you know

Is it OK to ask for things when I pray? God does not seem to be offended by prayer requests. The Old and New Testament are full of requests being made by many of God’s “favorite” people.

Apparently there are certain things that we can only have as the result of praying for them—“…you have not because you ask not” ( James 4:2). Unfortunately, we have shortchanged ourselves by developing the belief that prayer was primarily about getting things from God rather than experiencing God Himself through intimate conversation.

It appears that prayer has been designed to become our temporary alternative to the literal walking/talking relationship we were originally designed to have with God. Jesus prayed, and He instructed His disciples on the “how-to” of prayer. It must be important.

Good friends don’t mind helping us when we ask. But, they are our good friends because we have spent quantity and quality time together. We have learned to know and trust them.

God wants us to know and trust Him. Prayer is one of the vehicles for developing that “knowing” and “trusting.”

There is a reason to pray.