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  • Alex Allen

Why Bother With Praying?

Have you ever told someone you were praying for them? If so, did you actually follow through or was it just something you said in the moment to make them feel better?


I'll be honest.; My prayer life stinks sometimes. As someone who loves the Lord, delivers a message on the radio every week and even stands behind the pulpit from time to time, I'll admit that I often fail to spend as much time talking to God as I should. And while the word "prayer" is thrown around quite often, I'll run the risk of sounding cynical and say that I believe many times when someone says they're "praying" for someone, very little if any prayer at all is actually happening.


The word prayer has undoubtedly lost some meaning in our culture today but the truth is that prayer is something the Bible talks about at great length. It's something that God takes seriously and something we should take seriously as well. So, if you're like me and sometimes fail to pray as often as you should, I pray this list of biblical reasons and purposes for prayer blesses and encourages you.


Reason For Praying #1 - Because God Said So


In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus is teaching on prayer and he begins by saying "when you pray." Notice he doesn't say IF but WHEN. This shows us that prayer is something that's expected of us as believers.


When you were a child, did your parents ever give the "because I said so" answer when you asked the question "why?" Perhaps you've even given your own children this answer. While it can be a frustrating response when you're on the receiving end of it, the real sentiment from a parent's perspective is "look, I'm the adult and sometimes I just know what's best for you." That's exactly how it is with us and God. If God has commanded us to do something, sometimes we just need to do it "because He said so!"


Reasons For Praying #2 - To Get Rid of Anxiety & Fear


In 1 Peter 5:7 we're told to "cast our cares" upon God because He cares for us. That word care in its original language means anxiety; and this isn't the only place in scripture where we're told to hand over our anxious thoughts to God. In Philippians 4:6-7 [NKJV] the apostle Paul writes: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."


Reason for Praying #3 - To Tell God Our Wants & Desires


In the passage we just read from Philippians, we're told not only to give our anxiety over to God but to let our requests be made known to Him as well. We're also told in James chapter 4 that we "have not because we ask not," suggesting again that it's important to express our desires to God.


It is, though, very important to understand that this doesn't mean we automatically get what we want every time. God isn't a genie or a divine vending machine. We don't insert our prayer like money and then out pops whatever we want. Notice the passage we read from Philippians doesn't say "let your requests be made known to God and He will automatically grant those requests every time." Rather, it says that God will give us a peace that surpasses all understanding.


Part of making requests to God is understanding that His will is better than our own and yielding to what He wants. Even Jesus did this when he said to the Father "not my will but yours be done" while praying in the garden at Gethsemane. (Luke 22:42) You can't name it and claim it. You can't manifest it through faith. But you can pray about it and yield to God's divine will.


Reasons for Praying #4 - To Draw Closer to God


James 4:8 [NKJV] says "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded."


This verse illustrates two purposes for prayer, one being the importance of repentance. Repentance is something many Christians don't want to talk about today. But it isn't a works based salvation concept or legalistic; it's just biblical. We're going to sin. That's just a fact. But WHEN we sin, we should turn to God for cleansing and ask the Holy Spirit for help in our sanctification so that we would not make the same mistakes again.


Finally, we should have a constant desire to draw closer to God. We do this not only through prayer but also through worship, the study of and meditation on His word, and through the biblical practice of fasting. The Word tells us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us; and when God is near to us and the influence of the Holy Spirit is stronger upon our lives, that's when wonderful things begin to happen.


Conclusion


These are just a few biblical principles regarding prayer. We could spend a lot more time talking about this subject. In fact, if you'd like to hear a little more about prayer and what the Bible says about it, I'd encourage you to join me this Sunday morning starting at 9am Eastern for the Seeking Radio Show on 93.5 WMMG. This week's subject is prayer and I pray that this article as well as this Sunday's radio program will be a blessing and encouragement to you as you strive to walk deeper with the Lord and assess your own prayer life.



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