Reasons to Pray

I know prayer is important and in this article I want to begin a short series of thoughts that focus on the reasons to pray. It can seem like the primary motivation for prayer is simply to get answers. Prayer can feel like a grocery list: “Our Father, who art in heaven – Gimme, gimme, gimme!” This is sort of a “shop in heaven” way of praying. But I would propose that just filling the shopping list is not the best reason to pray, and more than that – I have found it to be the least satisfying!

The #1 Reason to Pray - Relationship!

I am first and foremost called to pray, because it is the most valuable practice to build and steward my love relationship with Jesus Christ. It is the practice of my faith. Hear me now -this is important. Christianity is not primarily rules. Its a relationship and relationships need to have activity and practices that keep them alive.

Certainly God has standards, but we don’t become Christians because we receive standards. We become Christians because we receive God’s greatest gift, the forgiveness and salvation that comes through faith in Jesus Christ. God loved us and sent His only Son to take away any and all hindrances to relationship. Jesus died for us and lives in us to reveal the Father’s heart and offer us the privilege of abundant life… relational life.

Learning to Live in Love:

What I need, then, is to build my love relationship with Him. I have to learn to allow Him to embrace me, to care for me, to point out my needs and how He meets them (Phil. 4:19). I need to listen to Him and I desperately need to talk with Him. That is the definition of prayer… listening and talking with God.

The Apostle Paul prays, “that you may be able to comprehend… what is the breadth and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…” (Eph. 3:1-19)

I need to comprehend and “know” His love in all of its facets. The word “know” in this passage is the same word used for the intimate closeness of a husband and wife in sexual embrace. The Apostle Paul is praying that you and I will experience that kind of love with Christ - not sexual, but intimate, deep, close, without distraction. It is so deep that Paul later says it “passes knowledge”.

One place we can experience this is in prayer. When we get honest before God, we have access to His love in a unique way. The Bible calls this experience “fellowship” and seldom do we ever find ourselves closer to Him than in prayer. When we pray, we can experience His love, be bathed in it, clothed in it and overflowing with it… to let it soak into the dry cracks and crevices of our lives and to learn how to give it back. It goes beyond, just being in God’s Presence, we can experience His Glory and Splendor (the essence of who He is) and find His deep affections for us.

A Supernatural Environment:

I could share personal testimony of the wonderful power of prayer. It serves as the environment where our wounds are healed and our broken-ness is restored. As we learn to receive and give love in genuine relationship with the Holy Spirit, God’s power is revealed. Prayer is one place God can get at us and speak to us like He did Moses, ”face to face” as a man speaks to his friend. Prayer is one of the most effective ways for God to minister to us. Think about that for a moment - God wants to minister to you and I. His hope is to walk with us, father us and instruct us in His ways… revealing His thoughts toward us (Jer. 29:11). You and I can taste and see that the Lord is good. We can come to understand that His love is better than life. And when we are captured by love we will reflect that reality to those we come into contact with. Its an amazing relational reality!

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