From the time they were very small, we taught our children to pray.
We prayed at meals, at bedtime, and when a fire truck or an ambulance would go by. As far as our kids were concerned, prayer was as normal as eating, sleeping and taking a bath. It was part of our lives – an essential activity in our daily routines.
So, it shouldn't surprise me that our children took prayer seriously.
One of my favorite memories took place after school one day as I was driving Emily to her dance lessons. She was just five-years old—one of the cutest kindergartners I've ever known. For a moment it was quiet in our car as if Emily were pondering some deep or heavy subject. All of a sudden, she gasped loudly. It scared me a little bit because it was so sudden.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Mom, we have got to stop right now and pray for my future husband. I'm going to get married one day, and we need to pray for him," she exclaimed.
So, we did... that day and many, many times since. When I meet the man that Emily will marry one day, I'm going to tell him the story.
So, why do we pray?
God knows everything already anyway. He's almighty, sovereign and in control of all things. What could we possibly add to His wisdom with our feeble attempts at prayer?
It's a great question. To answer it, I'd like to propose six great reasons for us to pray:
First, we pray because we are God's children and He LOVES to hear from us!
The Lord takes great delight in us! Zephaniah 3:17 reminds us of this promise:
"For the Lord, your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."
When I answer the phone and it's one of my children calling, my heart beats a little faster. Since they are both in college and incredibly busy, I love to get a call from them or have time with them face to face.
Our God is the same way. When we make time for Him and call on Him, He loves it! Truly, our voices and our prayers are a sweet sound in His ears.
Second, we pray because it deepens our trust in God.
Prayer changes us! It increases our faith! To take our requests, our needs, our concerns, and our hurts to the Lord in prayer brings about change in us.
When we dump our cares on the Lord, we rise up with peace and with a resolve that we didn't have before we prayed. Consider the words of Philippians 4:6-7:
"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
Truly, to pray is to cast our cares on the Lord and trust Him completely.
Third, we pray because it causes us to depend on God.
We pray because prayer reminds us that God is the Creator and we are His creation. There is something humbling about prayer. To acknowledge that God is God and we are not—this is such a positive and a healthy thing for us to do.
Prayer limits our pride and our self-reliance. It adjusts our attitudes. Prayer helps us to turn our attention back to heaven.
In Isaiah 40, we are reminded of the greatness of our God. Verse 26 tells us:
"Look up into the heavens.
Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing."
Truly, we pray because it takes our dependence off of ourselves and places it on the Lord.
Fourth, we pray because it gives us the chance to express ourselves completely to the Lord.
There is healing in the expression – in the pouring out! In Psalms 62:8, we read: "O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge."
Pastor Adrian Rogers used to regularly remind us, "What we uncover, God will cover. But, what we keep covered, God will uncover."
In our honesty with our heavenly Father, we find healing, help, and wholeness. Prayer is a healing and restorative process.
Truly, our honest prayers can bring better health to our lives.
ifth, we pray because our prayers move the heart of God.
There is something about our prayers that changes, impacts, and affects the way that God acts. Scripture teaches us about this principle and encourages us to fervently pray.
In James 4:2, we are told: " Yet you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it."
No. We do not get every single thing that we pray for or ask for. And, often, this is a good thing.
We will not be able to determine how our God will answer our prayers, but we are instructed over and over in the Bible to pray. When we pray, God responds. Our prayers impact the heart of the Lord.
And, our only job is to pray. God is the one who must answer the prayers. That is His job and His responsibility. Our requests touch the heart of God. Although He may not be ready to answer our requests, He loves to hear us ask.
Truly, our prayers influence the heart of God.
Sixth, we pray because it's an amazing way that we get to be involved with what God is already doing in our world.
Through our prayers, God works to heal, save, help and assist other people. We pray because it allows us to participate in God's work around the globe. To pray is to do ministry. To pray is to serve the Lord and others.
Throughout Paul's ministry, he was constantly asking for prayer and being supported by the believers in prayer. In 1 Thessalonians 5:25, Paul simply writes: "Brethren, pray for us."
Recently, our pastor returned from a mission trip to Myanmar, also known as Burma. A family from our church serves in this region, and we support them through gifts and visits to serve alongside them.
Myanmar is a very poor nation that is bordered by China, India, Laos, and Thailand. The people have very little but they are an incredibly generous group. Additionally, those who've come to believe in Jesus are devout and serious about their faith.
During my pastor's visit, one of the leaders told him that they had been earnestly praying for America, for our presidential election, and for our country.
Throughout the fall, they regularly met, got on their faces, and prayed for the United States. Their greatest request... that God would continue to bless our nation and keep it focused on Him because so many other nations were depending on us.
What a wonderful example of a group of people partnering with God in prayer!
"True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that - it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth." -Charles Spurgeon
Melanie is a Christian blogger, Motivational Speaker, Author, and Marketing and Social Media Consultant. She's married to Randy and mom to two awesome college students. God's grace never ceases to amaze her. You can find out more about Melanie and her ministry at www.melanieredd.com.