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The ‘Why’ of Prayer


By Ryan Modisette

“If God already knows what I am going to pray about, then why do I even need to pray?” Most of us have asked questions like this sometime during our lives, especially in seasons when it seems like our Lord is distant and His answers are few.

Often when we seem to be stranded in a spiritual desert, instead of diving into the oasis of God’s word and drinking deeply from the well of His grace, we lose our resolve, and like weary travelers wandering through desert land, we start letting go of things we think will weigh us down.

For many Christians, prayer is one of the first things to be dropped by the wayside when adverse circumstances come our way; for most of us, prayer really doesn’t seem like it is that important.

But it is. Jesus used the last moments of his life before he was seized, interrogated, ridiculed, beaten, and ultimately crucified, to spend time praying to his heavenly Father.

This was supremely important for our Lord. Prayer was not an afterthought, a burden, a hassle, or a block of wasted time; even with his gruesome death staring him in the face, prayer was a source of refuge and comfort, joy and peace, for our beloved Savior.

It was in prayer that Jesus stilled his soul, synched up his desires with his Father’s will, and found the joy to persevere through the unrelenting torment that the following hours would bring.[1]

The great agony weighing upon our Redeemer drove him to his knees time and again; how foolish it would be then to think that we could do without prayer in our lives when the God-man himself was in such desperate need of heavenly assistance to carry out his Father’s plans.

If we truly wish to honor our King, then we, like Jesus, need to fall on our faces and admit our total dependence on His infinite might. We need to cry out, “Lord, I am frail and prone to falter; you are all-powerful and inconceivably perfect! I cast myself into your gracious, everlasting arms because even when I am faithless, You remain faithful!”[2]

Lastly, prayer is a two-lane highway.

We communicate to God, praying for His name to be exalted in all the earth, asking for Him to meet our daily needs, pleading for His forgiveness and fellowship, and requesting His strength to triumph over trials. By lifting up our hearts to our Father in this way, He takes our burdens upon Himself and grants our weary souls needed relief and rest.

And God also communicates with us.

By answering our prayers, He is saying, “I have heard your groaning, and I have remembered you my child.”[3] Our Father delights to give good gifts to his cherished children, and He withholds no good thing from us.[4] Yet, God will never give us anything which would drive us further away from Him, the greatest Gift of all.

By giving us His word, He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness; through the pages of the Bible, the Lord instructs us, nourishes us, strengthens us, and transforms us.[5] With Scripture, God tells us exactly what we need to know to know Him intimately and surely; and it is through this personal acquaintance with our Rescuer and through a thorough knowledge of His inspired text that many of our fears are squashed, our strivings ceased, and our prayers met.

So let us imitate the founder and perfecter of our faith by praying consistently and fervently, knowing that every word from God and every prayer to God is a gift meant to ground our trust in our unchanging Cornerstone and deeper our relationship with our delightful Beloved.


[1] Cf. Psalm 37:7; Matt. 26:39; Heb. 12:2
[2] Deut. 33:27; 2 Tim. 2:3
[3] Exodus 2:24-25
[4] Luke 12:32; Psalm 84:11.
[5] 2 Peter 1:3

 

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