Praying is a fascinating practice observed throughout the world, but why do people pray? Prayer is in its simplest terms is a means of attempting to communicate with God, yet it is also far more than that. In the same way that across the globe, individuals have a desire to worship something, someone or even themselves, some who neither claim to be religious nor spiritual, still pray and seek divine intervention. This uncovers our often-unexpressed spiritual needs.
The Bible gives perfect guidance concerning why to pray, how to pray and what to pray for. These questions inevitably overlap, though let us firstly consider why the need to pray in the first place…
We may feel comforted or reassured by praying to God or with someone else. If we understand something of who God, the Lord, is – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and what His character is like, that will help us with reference to all those questions.
God has created us to glorify Him and to be at peace with Him through a right relationship. We are finite and God is infinite. God knows us better than we know ourselves and is entirely cognizant of what we actually need and what is good for us. Since God made us and knows everything about us, we all have a kind of positional relationship with as our Creator. However, only those who have turned to Him and trusted Him, who recognised that their sin separated them from Him, can know Him and thereby please Him through faith (Hebrews 11:6, the Bible).
The Bible instructs us to pray at all times and in everything to give thanks. Prayer increases our reliance upon God and makes us less dependent upon ourselves. Through prayer according to God’s will and purpose, a person will increasingly have a closer relationship with God. To those who draw near to Him, God will draw near to them also (James 4:8).
God answers prayer and also expects us to pray. Sometimes God answers our requests speedily, at other times our requests may not be granted and at other times we have to wait since God’s timing is flawless. Throughout scripture – the Bible, we see many characters praying on varied occasions, and this demonstrates that prayer is not about accessing a ‘Divine vending machine’ to obtain what we want out of selfish motive, but is about cooperating with God to achieve His purpose in our lives and the lives of others. In Acts 6:4 in the Bible, we see that the disciples were committed to prayer and ‘the ministry of the word.’ Considering that, should not we set not set aside time to pray daily to the Lord our Creator and read the Bible also?