On Thursday mornings at 8:30am, the doors of the pastor’s room are opened for our parents to join us in praying for the College and its students. Many people lead busy lives and not everyone is able to come in and join us, so can I encourage you to set aside some time at home each week to uphold our college in prayer. I was recently challenged by this article on prayer and thought I would share it with you.
Why do we pray?
Through prayer we offer praises to God, confess our sins, and thank him for his many blessings. It is the way we draw near to God when we are in need of comfort. Nearly everyone reaches a moment when the only thing he or she can think to do is pray. Tragedy, uncertainty, unrest, fear, insecurity, and trouble can bring even the most self-assured individuals to their knees. Why is it the urge to pray only seems to come when the going gets tough? When life is going well and everything is on track, we think ourselves to be fully capable of handling it all. Many people only recognise their need for God when things begin to fall apart.
What does the Bible say is the reason God wants us to pray?
Jesus provides clear instructions when it comes to prayer. In what is perhaps His most well-known public address, the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shares with His followers what has become known as “The Lord’s Prayer”. His example models prayers of praise, submission to the will of God, reliance upon Him for daily sustenance and requests for forgiveness and deliverance. Jesus’ prayer focuses more on honoring God than listing needs to be met.
Interestingly, shortly after this instruction on how to pray, Jesus reminds his followers that “the Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). This raises a fairly obvious question: if God already knows what we need, why bother.
The answer: Prayer is not a transfer of information, but rather an act of humility.
Prayer requires us to admit that perhaps we don’t quite know it all. In our culture, there is great pressure to have the answers, to convince everyone that we have it all together and to be completely self-sufficient.
According to Scripture, God is all-knowing and completely wise which means He understands everything about a situation and sees the best path through it (Psalm 147:5). While our days are filled with expectations and demands, God is waiting for the moment when we say, ”I don’t know, but I know who does.”
Ultimately, Jesus demonstrates through His own life that prayer provides an avenue to the Father. Throughout the New Testament, we’re told that Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16). He was actively carving out time alone to meet with the Father in prayer.
In Luke 10:27, Jesus issues the command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” But how can we love someone with whom we never speak? It is only through prayer that one can move from knowing about God to knowing God.
Perhaps you’ve never experienced a moment when, out of desperation, you bowed your head to pray. That’s ok. There is a first time for everything. But you don’t need to wait until a crisis looms to begin a relationship with God through prayer.
If you have never really prayed, I urge you to give it a try. After all, the Bible tells us that your prayers will be met with God’s delight (Proverbs 15:8, Psalm 149:4). The act of prayer leads to peace, patience, and perseverance we all so desperately need. With that in mind, what have you got to lose?
Donna Newell, College Pastor