Wayne Nall Jr
3/6/15 at 07:34 AM 1 Comments

Why Pray?

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This is the first of a series of articles on devotional life. I start with a simple question:

Why pray?

If God is all powerful, omnipotent, and all knowing, what is the need for prayer anyway? Can't God do what He is going to do without us humans' puny little help?

Does prayer really make a difference anyway?

What is the purpose of prayer?

These are just some of the questions that come up when we talk about prayer. I hope to provide some answers to these questions and others in this and future articles. However, I think the first question we need to answer is the most basic one:

What is prayer?

When we think of prayer, what images do our minds conjure up? Perhaps a child kneeling by his bedside with his hands folded, praying a childlike prayer. Perhaps we might think of some (very old) nuns in their habits, again with hands folded, looking up to God with saintly expressions. We might even think of a soldier in a foxhole praying for God to save Him from the bullets whizzing overhead.

Well, those are all pictures of prayer…but they are incomplete pictures at best.

When we think about prayer, we almost always think about asking God for something. Dear Lord…Please send me a new "this". And I definitely need a new "that." Or…Lord spare me from "this" or "that" thing. Yet asking God for things (which we call "petition") can and should be only a small part of our prayer life. Prayer is simply talking to God in faith. It can include petition, but it certainly should include far more than these oftentimes selfish prayers. Prayer can be spoken or unspoken. It can be done literally anywhere, with any postures, using any words that are respectful to God. Prayer is being real with God. It's not just for nuns, children, and scared-spitless soldiers. Prayer is a grand privilege that is available to anyone who wants to avail themselves of it.

This is the "what" of prayer. Now let's get back to the "why" of prayer.

Why pray?

  • Because God told us to pray. This is the most basic answer to the question. Our Lord in His wisdom has told us as Christians that we are to "pray without ceasing." (I Thess 5:17) He is pleased when we talk to Him.
  • Because prayer itself is a fantastic opportunity bought for us at a very steep price

Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way…let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean… (Hebrews 10:19-22 NASB

This "new and living way" of approach to God was only made available to us through the blood of Christ, through His sacrifice of Himself. You see, under the old covenant (as outlined in the Old Testament), no one could approach God without a blood sacrifice. Even then, the average person was not allowed to approach God themselves, but had to use a priest as intermediary to take their sacrifice to God. However, now, because Jesus Himself was both our Great High Priest and our sacrifice (by giving himself up to God as the spotless Lamb of God), we now can enter His presence "in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean." Isn't that amazing! Jesus Himself is now our intermediary to the Father! What an incomprehensible privilege we have to be able to talk to the Maker of the Universe, the Creator of All Things, anytime, anywhere!

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