Why Prayer Is Important

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“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…”

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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:

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15 thoughts on “Why Prayer Is Important

    • Hey Kirby, I think that’s a great question. A good starting place is to ask God to show himself to you, to teach you, and to help you understand better what he desires for this world and your life.

      I find it helpful to pray in categories, but it’s by no means a rigid formula. I like to praise God for who he is and what he’s done in the world and how I can see him in places of my life. Next, I confess where I have fallen short of what he desires for me in my life. Then, I thank him for the blessings in my life, and end with praying for the needs of others and myself. Of course, sometimes I just pray for one of these things and that’s all I am able to pray.

      Prayer doesn’t have to be a long extended exercise though. It’s really meant to connect you to God at various times in your day. When you think of something or see something that you think you could pray about, just say a quick prayer right there, even as short as “God help me in ___,” or “God show me ___,” or “Help me know you better and see myself as you see me in Christ.”

  1. Sometimes my prayers get off because I pray what I want and not what He wants as I know from His Word. My will be done!
    I think in my case, I limit God in my prayers.
    His will be done! He always has a better answer than I do.

    • How true. He definitely has better answers than we do!

      I get off track a lot as well. There are so many distractions and competing interests for our time and thoughts. I just try and start new each day and confess when I’m having trouble focusing. Thank God for his free and loving forgiveness, which he gives us, and for his guiding hand in drawing us back to him over and over again.

  2. I remember learning the acronym ACTS
    A is for Adoration: pray telling Jesus how much you love him
    C is for Confession: pray for forgiveness (interesting enough I find we all forget to do this and this is one of the MAIN reasons to pray)
    T is for Thanksgiving: thank God for things in your life, especially answered prayers
    Then…..
    S is Say prayers for others and yourself

    I love this because sometimes I find I jump straight to the ‘selfish’ prayers, but this acronym helps me to remember to put those prayers last!

    Great post Keeley

    • Thanks Cameron, yes, that’s a great way to remember and formulate your prayers. I try and stick to some variation of that as well, otherwise my mind wanders. Even if my mind wanders in the middle of this, I can always move to the next letter and get back on track. It might feel forced at first, but it begins to feel more natural with time.

      Lately, I’ve been praying through the Psalms as well, which means I’ve been reading one psalm, then taking this acronym and praying using the words from the psalm as the guide point for my ACTS prayer. It helps me think of things I never would, and gets me reading and praying through Scripture as well. Thanks for sharing!