Have you ever thought to yourself, “why do people pray?”. I believe its a valid question. If God is all knowing, all powerful, then whats the point? Doesn’t God already know what we would pray about? Doesn’t the bible say that God’s intentions for us are for good?
Growing up, prayer for me was something I had to participate in before I was able to eat my dinner. I was required to sit patiently at the dinner table until everyone took theirs seats (mom, dad, and my two sisters) then we would all bow our heads and my dad would pray over our food. I was always amused that God was this ever powerful, super natural being, but he was concerned over our food…seemed a bit odd to me.
What are your early memories of prayer? What emotion did it spark for you?
I am sure most of you know or at least heard of the Lord’s prayer–where Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray. Matthew 6:9–13:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.“
So why did Jesus give us these instructions on how to pray? Obviously Jesus himself found that prayer was key to his ability to walk and fulfill God’s will in his life. In fact, the word tells us that Jesus was sweating blood in the garden of Gethsemane before he was taken by the Roman guards to be crucified–that is some serious praying.
People pray out of joy, out of pain, out of love, out of frustration, out of fear, for show, for possessions, for healing, for patience, for food, prayer for hope, prayer for unity, prayer for protection, prayer out of selfish ambition, in moments of desperation, when there’s nothing left to pray for…people pray. If you step back and think about it, prayer is embedded and tied in with the most intimate moments of a persons life.
Rather than get into deep philosophical explanations of why people pray, I wanted to share with you the reason I am praying in this season of my life. My wife is pregnant with our first child, and its absolutely amazing. I cannot express in words the feelings I have day to day. However I have found myself praying more and more for my future child. It’s a new type of prayer that I have never prayed before. I find it beautiful that prayer evolves and changes throughout life and that we can bring joy to God through our whispers to him.
The line of “Give us today our daily bread” in the Lord’s prayer is what is echoing in my heart because the life that is being knitted in my wife’s womb is out of our control. I must have faith that God will protect and grow our child perfect in his eyes. I am finding that I am becoming less selfish in my prayers (not that I was selfish before!). Before I would pray for personal growth, maturity, for integrity, for the ability to obey his word, etc. But now I am praying for the life of my wife, and the life of my child. Prayer has shifted from internal to external–and it feels new.
This is what prayer means to me now. I find it beautiful that my conversations with God will never stay constant but it will always shift and change.
But going back to my original question–why do people pray? Why do YOU pray? That–you can only answer for yourself.