WHY DO WE PRAY – Ray E. Horton
Why do we pray? It doesn’t change God. He’s already done it all. And He already knows our hearts, our needs, our concerns. What does prayer do? Prayer changes us!
Prayer Changes Us
Let’s take an example from human relationships. Usually when a person is down or discouraged, or just needs to talk, we sometimes want to solve their problem, but usually we just need to listen. They usually already know their answers, and simply need the encouragement of love. A hug, kind, understanding words and a listening ear are the best expressions of love that we can give. It is love that heals the heart, not being preached at.
Encouragement brings hope as we begin to see beyond our current circumstances. We need to take the moment out to ask ourselves what thought patterns are leading to our negative feelings
And what does God do when we pray? He listens, affirms us, encourages us and loves us. Yes, prayer can be a time to pour out our hearts to God; it’s cathartic.
But, once we’ve been encouraged, that encouragement really needs to be received. Too much sympathy, without encouragement received, can lead to self-pity. Encouragement brings hope as we begin to see beyond our current circumstances. We need to take the moment out to ask ourselves what thought patterns are leading to our negative feelings. The Word reminds us to “take our thoughts captive.” We don’t ignore our negative feelings, but we allow love and faith – a vision of the greater truth – to protect our hearts. Are we not told to guard our hearts?
We can pray in faith or we can pray in fear. God understands, and wants to hear our concerns, even though he already knows them. He wants to love us by gently pointing us to the truth of His Word. We need to make the transition at some point and let Him love us – let our minds be renewed – to see beyond the circumstances. Then we can praise Him and worship Him IN all circumstances. The Word doesn’t say praise Him because of all circumstances, but in all circumstances, because He is bigger than our circumstances.
So, once we’ve poured our heart out to God, we need to let Him heal us, encourage us, and give us a vision of how He sees us. Then as we draw near in thanksgiving, praise and worship in our hearts, the joy of the Lord, that comes from better understanding God’s perspective, becomes our strength.
Don’t Cling to Problems and Make Them Idols
What we need to seek is a deeper understanding, a renewal of our minds to the revelation our righteousness in Christ
We too often make our concerns and problems idols, clinging to them, and meditating on them more that on our relationship with our loving Father through our precious Jesus. We need to let them go and “seek Him first.”
In Matt 6:33, we have one of the most important instructions or guidelines in God’s Word. “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.” What does that mean, to seek first the kingdom? In Rom. 14:17 it says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
The kingdom of God is righteousness. What’s that mean? It’s obviously not our righteousness, it’s His. And why need we seek it, when the Word says we already have His righteousness? What we need to seek is a deeper understanding, a renewal of our minds to the revelation our righteousness in Christ.
God’s Word says that the Mystery of the ages is Christ in us, the hope of glory, now revealed to us.(Col. 1:26). That being the case, our understanding of God’s indwelling presence does not come naturally—our minds need to be renewed to that truth, to who we are in Christ. Renewed to the understanding that we are a new creation in right standing with God. “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21).
So, why pray? let us pray to become more and more aware of who we are and all that we have in Christ, our wonderful inheritance: “giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled us to be partakers in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12). It is that knowledge that answers so many of our prayers.