Why pray? God is going to do what He wants to anyway. Have you ever had these thoughts? I’m embarrassed to say, I have. Although that isn’t easy to admit, I think it is a valid question….and one I’m going to attempt to answer, but first I’d like to share some recent answered prayers.
I had some old carpet in my living room. I give piano lessons in that room and it had become increasingly embarrassing to have my students and their moms see that carpet. Because I had a two week fall break, I decided it was time for that carpet to go. I didn’t realize my piano weighed a ton until my son, Nathan, was helping me move it.
As we were heaving it into the kitchen, Nathan suddenly shouted, Stop! It’s buckling the vinyl flooring! Upon closer examination, it was not only buckling, I was glaring at a three inch tear. We decided the piano was going to have to stay right where it was. (Yes, it looked weird sitting near the stove and refrigerator!)
The next morning I went to order the new flooring. They said they were really busy and it would probably be two to three weeks before the installation was possible. I said, OK, that’s fine, but my heart sank. How was I going to give piano lessons with the piano in my kitchen?
Just the day before, Nathan had shared with me how God had answered so many prayers for him in the past few weeks. So I thought that would be a good place to start. I began praying that God would somehow work it out so the flooring could be laid the next week while I was off work.
Then I decided with the carpet removed it would be a prime time to repaint. I thought I had several days, but decided I’d jump right in and get the painting done. So first thing Monday morning I started painting. I had just finished that evening when the phone rang. It was a person from 21st Century asking if they could come the next morning to lay the flooring! I was speechless. I choked out, SURE! I was overwhelmed with gratitude and amazed at the timing.
Then Nathan came home. He was beaming and excitedly said, Mom, I just have to tell you what happened tonight! He explained that a guy (Danny Diaz) had given a speech that morning in class about how to change a tire. Later that day Nathan was to meet a friend. He needed gas, but decided to wait. As he was leaving, he quickly asked his friend how his walk with God was going. They ended up talking an hour and a half more.
Finally, Nathan was at the gas station. He noticed a lady at the air pump and then an obvious acquaintance of hers drove up to help. As he got in his truck to leave, he felt compelled to ask if they needed help. At first he brushed it off. They are probably fine and will just tell me they can handle it. He was ready to get home anyway. But he couldn’t leave. Something (or Someone) told him he really needed to ask them if they needed his help. What can it hurt? he thought.
He walked around the car and that’s when he noticed the flat tire. He said hello and asked if he could help. The man said, These lug nuts are so tight I can’t get them off. Nathan loosened them and the couple was so relieved, grateful, and overjoyed. It was then that Nathan thought about the speech he had heard that morning, how he had almost stopped earlier to get gas but didn’t, and how he had ended up having that extra hour and a half conversation that put him at the gas station just when this couple needed him. He was overwhelmed at God’s goodness in his life.
Prayer is simply talking with God. Another aspect of prayer that I’ve learned to appreciate is not only talking to God, but listening for His voice. No, I don’t hear an audible voice, but God the Holy Spirit lives inside of me and He is there is teach and guide me. He doesn’t shout though. We will only hear Him when we are seeking His way and are willing to obey.
So, why pray?
- Jesus did. He is our best example in this life. If He thought it was necessary to commune with God the Father while He was God in flesh living here, how much more important is it for us to pray? And He did lots of it. After long days of serving others, healing the sick, and going without food and rest, He often spent all night in prayer. It must be important.
- God wants us to ask because He wants to give us good things (Matt. 7:11). In Luke 11:5-13 Jesus gave several examples of the benefits of persistent asking. Verse 9 says Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. And He also deserves our praise and thanksgiving….those are essential parts of prayer.
- It increases our faith to see God answer. When we are “wowed” by God, we are encouraged to pray more. It helps us to trust God more as we see His good heart for us.
- It builds our relationship with God. Communication is key to any relationship. There must be both sharing of the heart and intentional listening.
- It helps us find our intended purpose in this life. As we seek God and His direction in our lives, He sometimes leads us places we would never think of on our own. He thinks differently than we do and His ways are much higher.
- It encourages others. I’ve been uplifted during the hard times in my life to know others were praying for my family and me. I could feel it. Going through the valley is tough, but knowing good friends and family are praying makes such a difference. You don’t feel so alone and you can draw strength from them and God when your own is gone.
- We are blessed and rewarded. God rewards our obedience for living life His way. And we won’t know His way unless we are in His Word and talking to Him regularly.
- It keeps our life on the straight and narrow. We are spared the negative consequences of going our own way.
- This is the only way we will have God’s power on and in our lives. Some things can only come by prayer and fasting. Once the disciples came to Jesus asking why they were not able to cast out some demons. Jesus answered that some things can only be done through prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:29)
Prayer helps us live an exciting, abundant life as we see God working in and through us. It shows me there is more to this life than just me and my little world. God has much bigger purposes and plans in this world than just what is going on with me. But God can and will help us make a positive difference if we are willing and are seeking Him in prayer.
Keep looking up,