Why Pray?


Have you ever heard anyone make the statement, “Why pray?”  It is usually in reference to lost hope and a lack of faith that prayer is going to make a difference.  During my morning devotions the thought entered my mind.  It wasn’t in reference to a lack of faith or the subject of my petition; no, it was more of a matter of fact question, “Why Pray?”  I began to think about all the different attitudes of prayer, why people pray and even how their “prayer voices” reveal their perception of God.

Prayer is important; actually that is an understatement, it is the lifeline of every Christian.  The word pray is in the Bible 306 times and prayer 109 times.  Every successful man or woman in the bible prayed, Jesus prayed, the apostles prayed, the founding fathers of the United States prayed and God heard every prayer.  I have heard people pray for daily needs, healing, lost loved ones, and direction for a situation, request things they didn’t need and things for which God answered NO.  I was brought up in an atmosphere of prayer.  If I became separated from my Mother in a store, I would stand very still and listen intently, soon I would hear “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” whispered softly.  I would follow the whispers and soon I was right by Mom’s side.  You see my mother believed in “praying without ceasing.”

I learned to pray about everything, no matter how trivial.  Some things were so trivial that God must have smiled as He said no, but I still asked just in case.  My most bizarre request was when I was about 9 or 10 years old.  I was a “fat” little kid and in the 60’s the schools made every child weigh twice a year.  We would get in a line, one by one stand on the scale and the nurse would write down our weight.  Sometimes a student would write them down as the nurse called out the numbers; a little sensitivity training would have been a tremendous help.  I remember praying fervently for the rapture to take place immediately so I could disappear.  Obviously that was not the plan of God for my life.  I stepped on the scale, lived through the humiliation and probably ate another cookie to help my self-esteem.

I find it interesting and enlightening to “eavesdrop” on prayers.  We have always attended a church where people pray aloud and corporately; this made for a fascinating hobby.  I am more captivated by their tone as they pray rather than by their words and requests.  One prayer warrior, I know, immediately changes her voice to a whiny, pleading voice.  She begs God to answer her prayer.  Although, I’m sure she would testify to answered prayer, her voice and demeanor, as she rocks back and forth on her knees, says that God is a “hard taskmaster” and we must come before him as pitiful creatures hoping for a crumb from the master’s table.  A minister acquaintance prays with a loud, demanding voice.  I assume he feels that displays the anointing and the authority that the Holy Spirit has place upon him.  I’m not sure if the loudness gets God’s attention faster and I don’t think our demands impress Him.   I always loved the Sister who just talked to God conversationally, she would even apologize to God if she got interrupted or accidently burped.  I had the feeling that God was her friend and she was very comfortable communicating with Him.

I prefer to approach God as my Father.  I have a vision of Him sitting at the table, the coffee is hot (yes, God drinks coffee) and He’s just been waiting for me to call so He can share a few moments, give some advice and pour out the daily benefits He has chosen just for me. Sometimes my tone is excited and joyful other times it is whining or demanding.  I have approached the throne boldly and pitifully.  Many times I am so overwhelmed with awe that the praises burst forth uncontrollably and other times I can do nothing but cry on His shoulder.  Whenever, day or night, He has never been too busy or let the answering machine pick up when I call.

Whatever your view is of God, whether He’s the “boss” or your best friend, take some time to pray today.  If it’s been a little while since you called Him up, just apologize! His loving arms will hold you tight and soon you will be talking to Him just like old times.  Why pray?  God’s been waiting and you need the advice.

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