Saturday, November 11, 2023

Why Pray? (Ephesians 6:10-24)

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions …" (Eph. 6:18).

One of the most common questions relating to God’s providence is “If God has ordained all things and knows all things, why, then, do I pray?” To deal properly with this dilemma, we must clarify two things about prayer. First, prayer is designed for our benefit not God’s. Second, prayer is a means God uses to bring about His purposes. He uses prayer just as much as the preached Word or the service of His people.

A.W. Pink said, “Prayer is not designed for the furnishing of God with the knowledge of what we need, but it is designed as a confession to Him of our sense of need.” God invites, even commands, us to pray. In praying, we confess our utter dependence upon Him, and in that confession, we are drawn closer to Him. Prayer is an act of worship in which we draw close to the presence of God. And just as we are warmed when we spread ourselves before the sun, so we are changed, affected, renewed, strengthened by the light of God and His grace when we spread ourselves before Him in prayer and supplication.

Prayer is one way in which we commune with our heavenly Father. Jesus communed with His Father while He suffered the trials and temptations of this world. He found relief and comfort in pouring out His soul to His Father, and we too can find that same peace and comfort if only we would come into His presence more often and with the sincere desire to commune with Him. So often we do not benefit from our prayers because we use them as shopping lists. We tell God what we want, but we fail to worship Him, to adore Him, to seek Him in our prayers. Instead, we seek something He can give us, and when we do not get it, we are frustrated and wonder why our “prayers do not work.”

Prayer always “works” because it strengthens us and our relationship with our heavenly Father. It also works because through prayer God brings about His eternal decrees. In giving us the grace to pray, God answers our prayers, thus executing His providential plans. We play a role in God’s purposes even when we are on our knees. May each of us, in obedience to Him, pray on all occasions, seek His face, and glorify Him as we confess our need of His grace.

Read Mark 1:35; 6:46–47; Luke 5:15–16; 6:12; 9:18; and 22:41–42. What do you learn from Jesus’s example? How would you characterize your prayers? Do you seek God often? If you cannot pray, could it be that you do not love God? Spend at least 15 minutes in prayer today. Adore and worship Him.