The first instance of prayer happens in Genesis 4:26 (it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment!).
It reads: “Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord.”
That was humanity’s first cry to God after Adam and Eve were banished from Eden, that we know of in the Bible.
Since the beginning, prayer has always been a key pillar of faith. It should come naturally to us as Christians, at least on paper. But when it doesn’t, that lethargy can sometimes stem from one question.
If God knows everything, why do we even bother praying?
It’s a valid question, so here are three points of reflection that will help us understand why prayer is essential.
Prayer is commanded by God
It’s a fact that God knows everything in our minds before we even utter it. It’s right there in Matthew 6:8b: “… for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Unfortunately, some of us read verses like that and end up concluding that God’s omniscience means actually praying to Him is optional.
However, that verse in Matthew 6 is part of a chapter that’s all about prayer — the bad kind and the kind that the Lord desires to hear.
Indeed, in the very next verse, Jesus teaches His disciples the Lord’s Prayer, and He says “This, then, is how you should pray”.
This is but one of the many, many examples in the Bible that confirm it is God’s will for believers to pray.
God’s omniscience does not mean we can neglect prayer; it does mean we can be excited about praying, because we are talking to Someone who has all the answers.
It delights God when we humble ourselves and pray to Him.
Prayer can seem meaningless especially when we cannot feel the tangible presence of God. Certainly, there are days when we may feel like we’re shouting into a void.
But know this: God always responds to our prayers. God responded to Moses when he interceded for the Israelites (Exodus 32:30-33). God responded to Hannah’s pleas for a child by answering her prayer (1 Samuel 1: 19-20).
God will respond to you. So rest assured that God listens when you pray — though you must be prepared to follow what He says in His answer and to follow His timeline!
Finally, Jesus Himself prayed all the time while He was on Earth (Matthew 26:39). If our desire is to be like Jesus, shouldn’t we want to pray like Him as well?
Prayer challenges and changes us
Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why you pray?
More often than not, we look at prayer as just something like a feedback form — a handy telephone line that wires all our many requests to God above.
But prayer is more than just making a plea or petition to God, it is conversing with the Creator of the universe.
Throughout the Bible, God speaks to His people. Indeed, He often asks them questions in conversations with them.
God asks Adam and Eve about what they had done in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:13). Jesus asks the two blind men what it is that they wanted (Matthew 20:32).
Although God already knows our answers, He asks the questions not for His benefit but our own.
He challenges us as we petition and pray, and helps us learn more about Him, ourselves and the world.
Prayer is therefore powerful because it is communication with God. Prayer brings us clarity and reveals His will for our lives each day.
If we only ever pray to tick off items on our wish list, we dilute the power of prayer, reduce God to a genie and are missing out on so much more.
Prayer teaches us to trust
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26)
Praying is an act of faith. It involves trust because we are admitting what we need, and it is also an act of trust when we accept God’s answer and carry out His instructions obediently.
By praying, we acknowledge that God is sovereign and that we need Him in our lives. Praying in itself is worship unto God.
It’s also evidence of God’s love for us.
Indeed, talking to God wasn’t always so convenient. In the Old Testament, It involved an intercessor (usually a priest) because we could never be holy enough to approach God.
But God, in His love for us, sacrificed His Son just so we could be saved and have a relationship with Him.
That was a price we could never afford, for access we could never have — but God paid it for us.
That’s one more reason why we should pick up the phone and give the Creator a call a today, so will you pray?
- Do you pray regularly?
- Why do you choose to pray?
- Is there anything you feel led to change about your prayer life?