Faith Encouragement

Why Pray?

CTA - Christ to All /May. 11, 2021
Why Pray?

By Barry Keuralainen

What are you bored with these days?

What if the answer is “my prayer life”?  After a year of our lives being restricted, so much has grown old and dull.  Maybe even our prayers?  Could it be that when our daily prayers feel tedious, our Father’s desire is for us to find freshness and new blessings in the routine of our daily prayers?

Why pray?  Because Jesus prayed!  We can assume that Jesus followed the Jewish practice of praying at least three times a day.  He prayed all night before choosing the disciples. He began his ministry in 40 days of prayer and fasting.  We are well acquainted with his prayers offered up in tears and bloody sweat at Gethsemane. When I grow weary of my own prayer life, I find new strength in Jesus, who had a need to pray. We are told that, even now, “He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (Romans 8:34 NLT).

What difference does prayer make?  Ask Jesus!  Prayer matters.  Prayer matters because at its core, prayer is about presence and perspective.          

Presence: Jesus referred to God as Father 170 times. In prayer, he sought to abide in the presence of his Father.  Prayer begins with the invitation, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 KJV). Be still!  Stop striving.  Stop worrying.  Stop doing. Be still in the presence of your Father. He knows the burden, the hurt, the fear within us.  Prayer is simply placing ourselves before him and inviting him to lay His wounded hands upon us.  Prayer invites us into presence, into a relationship.  It stands to reason that like any relationship, prayer will include moments of joy, frustration, closeness, distance, even moments of boredom. Through it all, prayer leads us to discover that at its essence, prayer is sharing time and space with the Father. 

Presence then offers perspective: Prayers can easily become self-focused.  All too easily our prayer life can become a shopping list of requests.  Jesus would teach us otherwise.  When asked by the disciples to teach them how to pray, he began, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 6:9 KJV). He gave us his prayer.  What is he teaching us in this prayer?  He is shifting our focus from self to him.  He is inviting us to desire the things that matter to him. The first part of the prayer focuses entirely on him; his name, his kingdom, and his will. The second half of the prayer focuses on the struggles of living here on Earth with things like forgiveness, temptation, and evil.  In between there is one simple prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11 KVJ). Could it be that this simple request is the fulcrum for the entire prayer? The place where the things of heaven and the things of this world meet?  God asks of us: Will you not grow weary of the daily repetition of trusting me and looking to me for what you need in that day alone?

This powerful prayer offers us perspective!  It invites us to see everything, the universe, this world, our own life through the eyes and heart of our Father.

Prayer matters to God, for there is power in our prayers.

In Revelation, there is a moment in chapter 8 where there is silence in heaven for half an hour. Then, an angel collects all the prayers from God’s children—prayers of praise, anger, grief, gratitude, despair—and mixes them with incense and presents them to God.  The silence is broken as the prayers are thrown down to Earth: “There were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, and an earthquake” (Revelation 8:5 ESV). Your prayers, your daily prayers, have power because God hears them and is moved by them.

Your prayers are heard in the silence of heaven and they carry power—the power of our Father who hears and responds to your prayers this day.

Application questions:

  1. What is the best time on your calendar to seek His presence?
  1. Where in the Lord’s Prayer is Jesus inviting you to change your perspective? 

 

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