“Why pray? Is there any reason to pray if God already knows what’s going to happen? I’ve prayed before and nothing came of it…God didn’t answer me…I don’t really even believe he cares…”
These questions and feelings about prayer are common to many people, even people who have been Christians for a long time.
Why do we pray? Or better yet, why should we pray?
We pray because God wants to be in relationship with us. He wants to be able to hear our prayers and to answer them.
God wants his people to be involved in the day-to-day affairs of his kingdom work. He wants us to gather together in his name, or to pray in private, so that we can ask and see him at work in our lives and in our world.
We don’t pray out of compulsion, as if he requires us to pray or he won’t work in our lives. He’s already at work in our lives, but we don’t often see it unless we pray. Generally, we see his work the more we pray and the more we ask him to be a part of our lives.
When we pray, we get to demonstrate our faith in God by acknowledging that we care about what happens. We get to see that God cares too, because we see him at work.
Also when we pray, we can look back, and see God at work in our lives, answering even the smallest of prayers.
Now, does he answer all prayers? No. Not all prayers are meant to be answered and not all are in line with his plans. And some prayers, though good, may be left unanswered to serve a greater unknown good. I used to really struggle with this aspect of prayer.
Many of the questions I posed at the outset, are questions I’ve struggled with in my own faith. I’ve often been afraid to talk to God through prayer, because if he didn’t answer I would feel hurt or rejected. It was easier to not ask, than to be told no. I didn’t have much faith in prayer.
A counselor once asked me, “How’s your prayer life?” I said “Fine.” But I thought, “Why pray when I don’t believe God will answer.”
But I was wrong. God does care and he does listen to us. There are many reasons why some prayers are answered and others are not, but we must step out in faith, trusting, to ask God to be a part of our lives, to be in relationship with us, which he so longs to be. Christ was sent to us because he cares, because he wanted to walk among us, even suffer among us, to bring us new life. Even Christ prayed while he was here.
As I’ve grown in prayer, I’ve been better able to see God’s faithfulness to me. I’ve been able to see God work in the small and big details of my life. And I’ve felt his presence more when I pray.
What have been your struggles with prayer? Please leave a comment below.
Here are some of my other posts on prayer: