I’ve been thinking a lot about prayer lately. In meeting with a friend recently, she asked me what the point is in praying if God knows our hearts and knows what we’re going to say and if He’s just going to do His will anyway? Great question. I gave some clumsy response that I can’t even remember at this point, but it got me thinking. A lot.
*Disclaimer: before I go any further, I need to remind you that I am not a Biblical scholar, just someone who loves Jesus. If you disagree with any of what I’m about to say I’m totally open to hearing alternative viewpoints, as long as there’s scripture backing it up. Thanks! 🙂
So this got me thinking: why do I pray? This is a tough topic because there is a really mysterious element to prayer, but that also makes it really exciting and wonderful. When I think about things like this it always helps me to write down my thoughts as I go, so I ended up with a list. It’s not comprehensive surely, but it helped me figure some things out:
1. God tells us to. The Bible is full of reminders to pray, so it’s gotta be pretty important, right? This helps me remember my new resolve to not try to understand and pick apart every little thing. It’s what you want, God? Ok then, I’m in. Our finite minds literally cannot comprehend God and how He works, so here is where that “faith” stuff comes in.
2. Keeps a healthy perspective. Paul says in Colossians 4:2-4 (NLT), “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. This is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.” I need to take a moment and give Paul a shout out, he is in prison and doesn’t pray that he can get out of prison but asks instead for prayer that God will use him effectively right where he was. The fact that we are still reading this 2,000 years later might just be a sign that God worked in those prayers! When we devote ourselves to purposeful prayer, we are showing God that we care about His people and their situations. We are showing Him that we are devoted to the growth and healthy development of His purposes here on earth.
3. Keeps the focus off of ourselves. It is so stinkin easy to become a self-absorbed and narcissistic person if we aren’t constantly reminding ourselves that we aren’t the only people in universe and certainly aren’t the most important. This is a struggle for me recently as my cancer can be all-consuming sometimes if I allow myself to be inwardly focused. Praying for others helps me think outside of myself and really empathize with the struggles that others are facing. We need to remember that our low self-esteem and need for constant affirmation from others may be a signal that our walk with the Lord isn’t quite on track. We all derail sometimes, no biggie. But here is where self-awareness and heart motive are important. I recently took a little break from blogging (very little lol) because I wasn’t sure anymore what my purpose was for it. Was I writing it to please God or was I writing it to get attention? My answer came through prayer, and so I continue to write.
4. Keeps the door of communication with God wide open. I read a quote that I really like that says, “Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. God’s voice in response to mine is its most essential part.” There is no relationship that can thrive, let alone flourish, without communication. Any marriage or friendship would fall apart if it was completely one sided and just straight up wouldn’t exist without a means of communicating. Prayer is our way to do this with God. Imagine if you were God, would you want to hear the cries of every human on earth? I don’t know that I would, but God is awesome and He does. He cares. And prayer is a way to show that we care about Him and His people.
5. It works. There are endless stories about miracles that could be nothing else but the hand of God working at the fervent requests of His people. God can change any circumstance if it’s His will, but He just as much can say, “No, I want to use you right there where you are.” As people charged with being the hands and feet of Jesus, through prayer God can guide us, direct us, rebuke us, convict us, forgive us, open our eyes to things, soften our hearts, and equip us for His use.
6. Jesus did it. Want to be Christlike? Then it’s time to pray. Purposefully and diligently. The gospels mention many times how Jesus would pray. Mark 1:35 says, “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.”
Humbling ourselves before God is crucial in this walk. I am scared to think where I would be in this cancer journey without the prayers we have received constantly from those near and far! Which brings me to this:
I want to pray for you. Starting tomorrow (May 21st) and going for the next 40 days (ending Sunday, June 29th) I am going to pray every day for whoever needs it. If you see this after tomorrow and still would like prayer, please let me know! I will make note of when I start and will make sure to pray for 40 days. If you could use prayer, please feel free to leave a comment here or PM me on Facebook or whatever. I only need as much detail as you think is necessary; I’m not doing this to get gossip. I’m also not doing this to make myself look good, like the Pharisees praying in the streets just to get attention and accolades from others. I’m actually doing this partially because my prayer life is pretty pathetic at this moment and I want to get it right again. I also feel like there’s a lot of hurting people out there right now who have some heavy burdens and I’d like to lift you up in prayer faithfully, just as people have been doing for us. Even if we’ve never met, feel free to leave a comment and I will be sure to pray for you and your situation for the next 40 days.
God can do big things when we let Him!!