If you’re struggling in your prayer life, rest assured that you’re not alone. We all go through seasons of closeness and seasons of distance in one area or another. This question – what’s the point of prayer – was asked by several of our members on eBible, an interactive Bible teaching tool and platform. In fact, it’s one of the top questions of all time on eBible, and it has received dozens of answers. You can view the original question here. I’ll summarize a few of the answers below, and hopefully, you’ll be encouraged to take your prayer life to the next level.
For the Christian, praying is supposed to be like breathing, easier to do than to not do. We pray for a variety of reasons. For one thing, prayer is a form of serving God (Luke 2:36-38) and obeying Him. We pray because God commands us to pray (Philippians 4:6-7). Prayer is exemplified for us by Christ and the early church (Mark 1:35; Acts 1:14). If Jesus thought it was worthwhile to pray, we should also. If He needed to pray to remain in the Father’s will, how much more do we need to pray?
Prayer Helps Us Discern God’s Will
For situations in which we do not know God’s will specifically, prayer is a means of discerning His will. If the Syrian woman with the demon-influenced daughter had not prayed to Christ, her daughter would not have been made whole (Mark 7:26-30). If the blind man outside Jericho had not called out to Christ, he would have remained blind (Luke 18:35-43). God has said that we often go without because we do not ask (James 4:2). In one sense, prayer is like sharing the gospel with people. We do not know who will respond to the message of the gospel until we share it. In the same way, we will never see the results of answered prayer unless we pray.
Aside from prayers for mercy (Luke 18:7; Psalm 6:9), there are many reasons to pray and many kinds of prayers.
- Forgiveness (1 Kings 8:30-34, II Chron 6:24-25, Jer 36:7)
- Various requests concerning the body of Christ and other believers (Eph 6:18-20, II Cor 9:12-15)
- Intercession (Acts 8:24, II Samuel 12:23) or the reverse of not praying to intercede (Jer 7:16-19, 1 John 5:16)
- God finds it pleasing (Rev 8:3-4)
- Adoration of God/glorifying God: (Matt 6:9-13)
- Confession (1 John 1:9; James 5:16)
- Thanksgiving: (II Cor 9:12)
- To turn our hearts from troubles or anger to righteous response: (Psalm 77; Psalm 4)
This is hardly an exhaustive list!
God does hear our prayers, made in Jesus’ name. In fact, to pray something in Jesus’ name is to put the seal of Jesus’ authority on it. Even if you feel sometimes that God wouldn’t or doesn’t listen to you [though He does], understand that God the Father does listen to His own son! This is for God’s own glory. (John 14:13)
Build A Relationship With God
When the disciples observed Jesus praying, they were amazed at how He prayed until they asked Him “Teach us to pray”. In fact the bible says that Jesus spent all night in prayer. I have tried to spend all night in prayer–believe me it is not possible without repeating yourself over and over again. But how did Jesus do it? I think He spent time conversing with God, that talking as much as listening. He simply asked in my view, what God wanted Him to do the next day and God provided answers. That is why after these prayers people would marvel at how He spoke!
I do not think prayer is about telling God what we want. Rather it is about asking God what He wants us to do. It is about totally surrendering ourselves to God and asking Him to do His will in us as it is done in heaven.
Rom 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself intercedes with groans too deep for words”. In my view therefore God knows what we should be praying for and the Holy Spirit inspires the right prayer in us.
I hope you learned a lot from these answers! To view the original question and sign up to be a member of eBible, click here!