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“If God knows everything, why should I pray?”—Jay
There are many texts in the Bible which address prayer. It is a broad topic that has given rise to many different methods and views of communion with God. Since we can’t discuss all of these, let’s focus on a few basic reasons for prayer.
Genuine prayer is essentially a way of life, a continual dialogue with God, speaking and listening to Him (I Thess. 5:17). It is a rehearsing of God’s promises and provision, a grateful celebration of joy and life.
Often, prayer is simply a quiet place of rest and reflection.
We pray, then, because we enjoy being in God’s presence.
Prayer is the deep cry of the soul when human resources come to an end. We are invited to bring all our petitions to God — and we are promised His peace (Phil 4:6-7.) Prayer is also intercession for others who are need of His grace and strengthening (e.g., Col. 1:9-12).
We pray, then, as a conscious affirmation that God is ultimately our refuge and strength (see, for example, Ps. 39 and 40).
In prayer, we acknowledge our dependence on God. The “Model Prayer” (Matt. 6:9-11) affirms that the holy, sovereign, heavenly father is the one in whom we place our trust and whose purpose we desire to see fulfilled on earth.
We pray, then, in order to open ourselves to the transforming work of God who teaches us how to live, to trust, and to forgive.
With these things in mind, we more clearly understand that prayer is not simply a recitation of a wish list, focused on “me and what I want.”
Prayer is an activity that, in the doing, changes me, making me into the person God wants me to be, recreating my mind and spirit to be more like His.