by Stanley Grabill
We are told in Ephesians 6:18 to be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” But why? Why pray? Here are three reasons.
1. To Be Like Jesus
In addition to the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11), the gospels record many specific prayers that Jesus prayed; for example, His prayer at Lazarus’ tomb, His high priestly prayer, and His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion. He must have often prayed in private, because He taught that we should enter our closet and pray to our Father in secret; repeatedly, the gospels tell of Him secluding Himself and praying alone.
People brought young children to Him for Him to lay His hands on them and pray for them, and He did not turn them away (Matthew 19:13). He prayed for Peter “that his faith should not fail” (Luke 22:32). After exhausting days of ministry, he withdrew to pray, relying on prayer for renewed strength. He prayed at His baptism (Luke 3:21). He prayed and continued all night in prayer before choosing His twelve disciples (Luke 6:12-13). When He was transfigured, He took three of the disciples and “went up on the mountain to pray” (Luke 9:28). He often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed (Luke 5:16). “He offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear” (Hebrews 5:7). “He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
Prayer is a matter of bringing together heaven’s resources
Jesus said, “It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master” (Matthew 10:25). As disciples, we should aim to be like our Teacher. It should be our supreme desire and determination, by the grace of God, to be like Jesus. And one sure way for us to be like Him is to be much in prayer. He was engaged in much prayer on earth, and He is occupying Himself in heaven, as the years of time come and go, in prayer.
2. To Keep A Right Perspective
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The renewing of our minds begins in a moment of time when God’s grace is brought to bear upon our hearts, but it is also an ongoing process.
When we consider men like Abraham, Joseph, and Daniel, and the ungodly cultures in which the lived, it raises the question, “how did these men keep their spiritual equilibrium — how did they keep their hearts set on God and their thinking straight?” Abraham went out under the stars and talked with God. Joseph had God’s perspective on the situation with his brothers (“God meant it for good”), no doubt after many years of praying. In defiance of the King’s decree, Daniel opened his window toward Jerusalem three times a day and prayed to God. He did as he was used to doing since the early days of his captivity.
When the cares of life press in; when trials are very real; when circumstances leave us feeling helpless and afraid; when we are surrounded by ungodliness and evil; time spent alone in the presence of God will serve to keep our hearts set, our minds renewed, and our inner man strengthened. Prayer serves to restore clarity when truth is called into question by naysayers and the evil culture in which we live. Prayer helps us to see life from God’s perspective.
Prayer helps us to see life from God’s perspective.
3. To Bring Heaven and Earth Together
Humble and earnest prayer is a matter of bringing together heaven’s resources and earth’s needs. T. M. Anderson wrote, “Our requirements [needs] on earth and God’s resources in heaven are meant for each other” (Prayer Availeth Much). Human needs are many and varied, but there are infinite resources to meet every one of those needs. Whether the need is spiritual, emotional, or physical; material or financial; big or small; well-known or hard to express, there is a God in heaven in a place of all power and authority. He is all-knowing and able to meet our needs. We can reach out and touch Him by faith. He is a God we can connect with. He promises concerning our needs is that He “shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
God desires to come alongside us and be our supply. He is “touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). The Lord is “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). He is an expert on suffering. If there is pain in our life, He understands. If we are hurting, He has been there too. He is able and willing to help us. God says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Continue reading Why Pray? Four More Reasons