What’s the point of praying if God is just going to do what He wants to do anyway? Why pray when God already knows everything? I have asked both these questions at some time or another in my life both seriously and rhetorically, in anger and in sadness. However, the answer is simple – because He commands us to.
-Pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17 ESV)
-Pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44 NIV)
-Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12 NIV)
-And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:18 NIV)
-Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
-Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2 NIV)
Have you ever really thought about the fact that as a Christian we are commanded to pray? Prayer is not optional. For a long time I never really quite grasped the gravity of those instructions. Not to say I didn’t do it, I did, but it was mostly because that’s what Christians did and it was what I was taught. Furthermore, I had seen God do incredible things in the lives of others because of prayer. It wasn’t until the death of my mother that my very own prayer life changed. For a while I couldn’t, didn’t, wouldn’t pray. We had prayed so fervently and faithfully for my mom’s healing. We believed that God would heal her and restore her health on earth. When she died, despite our best and sincerest efforts, I was devastated and I felt forsaken. It was at that time that I posed the aforementioned questions to my uncle who was instrumental in helping me deal with her death. He was the one who gave me the simple answer. “Because God commands us to.” That was seven years ago.
I struggled with that answer being “enough” for me. Later I had an epiphany! I realized that even Jesus prayed! Jesus prayed, even when it meant Him having to bend His will to face death and separation from God to reconcile us back to the Father, He still prayed. He understood that sometimes the answers to your prayers may not be the way you expected them but it was the will of the Father. He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”(Matthew 26:39 NLT) I mean I knew it but I hadn’t totally processed it or it hadn’t really registered for me. Jesus prayed and He was Jesus! If Jesus had to pray as God commanded, then surely we do too! Whether we want to or not. Whether we understand His ways or not. Whether our prayers are answered in the way we think they should be or not!
-After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. (Matthew 14:23 NIV)
-Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray. (Matthew 26:36 NIV)
-Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. (Mark 1:35 NIV)
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:16 NIV)
-One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. (Luke 6:12 NIV)
-Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1 NIV)
God’s command to pray is for reasons other than prayer itself. These reasons help mold and make us into better Christians who are better able to serve and praise Him. Through prayer we build our relationship with God. It’s our primary communication tool with God. It opens doors for us and allows us to witness or be a testimony for someone else. Prayer also gives us power over the enemy but at the same time it keeps us humble.
So after it is all said and done, we will not only pray because He commanded it, but we’ll pray because we command it in our lives. When things go awry, as they sometimes will, don’t give up on God and don’t give up on prayer because through it all He remains sovereign and when it is all over, He’s ALL that matters. We may not understand it initially or we may not “get it” right away but eventually the light bulb will come on for all of us!
Thank You for life’s experiences that have drawn me closer to You. Thank You for showing Yourself through my prayer life. Help me to understand that prayer is not just a means of getting what I want because You know what I need better than I do anyway. Keep me during times when I may pull away from You Lord because of hurt or despair. Thank You for those who intercede on my behalf during those times dear Lord. Thank You for giving us prayer as a means to communicate and connect with You Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Pressing, praying sisters I EMPOWER you to continue to strengthen your prayer life even when Satan tries to discourage or hinder you. Sisters, I EMPOWER you to pray when you don’t want to pray and when things don’t go your way. I EMPOWER you to pray not only because God commands it but because you don’t know what you would do without it!
What situations in your life have either positively or negatively impacted your prayer life? How have you learned and grown from them?
Mrs. Coretta Collins is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, writing, movies and spending time with family and friends. She is avid about health, healing and helping which serves her well as a Family Nurse Practitioner in a hematology and oncology practice. Striving to be led by the Lord throughout life and having overcome significant challenges, her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Coretta is a member of St. John A.M.E. Church, Birmingham, Alabama. She resides in Calera, Alabama with her awesome husband and two wonderful sons.