By Andrew Martinez
My thoughts on “Why do we pray?”
Prayer is a spiritual discipline that is one way we connect with God. God speaks to us primarily through the Bible, and we pray to him as a response back. The kinds of prayer are many:
Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication/Petition (asking God for something).
A thriving prayer life will include a variety of prayers.
Imagine a relationship with your mom where all you did was ask her for stuff, but you never said thank you, apologized, or praised her. That would be a warped relationship!
In the same way, prayer enables us to respond to God as well and to align our will to His will.
Our natural tendency is to take things into our own hands out of pride, selfishness, or independence — but God designed us to thrive when we humbly recognize our frailty, human limitation and dependence on Him.
Jesus, who lived 2000 years ago and considered one of the most impactful people in history, spent a lot of time in prayer– one reason being to align his will to Gods. Prayer is a way to build a relationship with God just as conversation is a way we build relationship with others.
If you’re a good person, Why Pray?
So Jesus was a good person and he prayed. He taught others (who were not good people) they need to pray, too. Praying has nothing to do with whether you’re a good person or not. In fact, the Bible teaches we’re not good people at all! Everyone is a sinner!
If we think we’re a good person, we might be comparing ourselves to Hitler or Stalin. But in reality we need to compare ourselves to the Holiness of God. Before a Holy God, are you an objectively good person? If our thoughts and hidden actions were live streamed on YouTube, would people say that we are a good person?
Why do people go to church (and pray)?
One reason is God designed life to be lived in community and not isolation. When a follower of Jesus is saved, they are saved from a life of independence and isolation and saved into a relationship with Jesus. We go from isolation to community with other believers who also have a relationship with Jesus.
We need community to grow in Christian life – just like you can’t become a better football player unless you’re part of a team who is engaged in the same training and mission as you!
If you want a thorough answer, I would recommend these essays by CS Lewis! click here
Sources to Read:
Prayer as a Spiritual Discipline and Connection with God Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
God Speaks Through the Bible 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Kinds of Prayer 1 Timothy 2:1: “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.”
Aligning Our Will to God’s Will Matthew 26:39: “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.'” Jesus’
Example of Prayer Luke 5:16: “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” We’re not good people. No one is Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Isaiah 64:6: “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.”
Life in Community, Importance of Church Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
Acts 2:42: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
“God knows everything about us, He created us! Prayer is talking to God: for thanksgiving, discernment, confession, for help and guidance, for healing and as an act of worship.” -James Endorf