If you have been in church for any period of time, you’ve heard a lot of great stuff about prayer.
You probably could even say alot of great stuff about prayer yourself.
But I wonder if some of us, we’ve got this thought that’s way at the back of our minds that we wouldn’t tell anyone else, a nagging doubt, that actually has a whole lot more influence in our lives than all the nice things we can say about prayer.
To paraphrase John Calvin,
Doesn’t God already know what I need?
In other words, why pray? Why have prayer meetings? Doesn’t God know what I need and if He wants it for me, why ask?
We know that God’s a giving God and that He says Himself says He answers those who pray, but why? It’s not like He is sleeping and we have to somehow wake Him up by the sound of our voice.
Why has God designed it that we need to pray and ask specifically in order to experience so many of the blessings He has promised us?
I don’t know how you might answer that question.
I’ll give you John Calvin’s.
He says the very question is confused.
It makes it sound like the reason God has us pray is for His sake when really the reason God has us pray is for our sake. God wants us to pay Him honor by praying but even that payment is designed to benefit us. The command to pray is an act of grace.
For one thing, the absolute best place for us to be spiritually is humbly seeking, loving and desiring Jesus and by making it so that we need to go to him in prayer to receive the benefits He has promised us, God helps keep us in the most spiritually profitable position for us.
For another, the process makes us check what we really want. If we make a habit of depending on God for everything through prayer, we can learn to check our desires and evaluate whether or not we really are wanting the right kinds of things in the first place.
Still further, when we pray for something and receive it, it makes it obvious that we received it from God and that in turns helps us become a more thankful people.
What’s more, when we have a need, pray and receive an answer to pray, it makes us want to pray even more.
Beyond all that, this is one of the ways that God continually reminds us of His concern with our lives and His control over what is happening in our lives. We all know the difference between understanding something intellectually and then understanding it experientially. When it comes to God’s sovereignty and His concern over our lives, we know that’s true from Scripture but when we are in a difficult situation, pray and see God answer that prayer, we often know that truth in a whole knew way.
Plus, it keeps us from depending on our own abilities and methods instead of God’s. I know for myself even when I pray and God answers, I still can try to take the credit. Imagine how much easier it would be for me to be deceived by pride, if God hadn’t made it so that I need to pray.