The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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     A member of the legal community approached me several years ago seeking assistance in addressing the topic of prayer with a friend. Apparently, the friend was questioning the necessity and value of praying inasmuch as God is aware of all of the details surrounding any situation or circumstance about which a person might pray.
     After scratching my theological noggin for a few minutes, the answer to the question “Why Pray?” seemed fairly straightforward and simple. Prayer is conversing with God. Therefore, the pray-er is engaging in active communication with the One who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of life. Even as two people get to know each other better by talking and spending time together, an individual gets to know God better by talking to and spending time with him. Recognizing that a lawyer might not be satisfied fully with the brevity of this response to the question concerning prayer, I jotted down a few more thoughts on the importance of prayer including how, through faithful praying that is faith-filled, the pray-er:
•   Acknowledges the authority for prayer. [God instructs us to pray (Jer. 29:7; Psa. 32:6; Luke 10:2,18:1; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Tim. 2:8; James 5:13-14) and Jesus’ example (Mark 1:35, 6:45-46)];
•   Affirms prayer as an act of worship and Ascribes honor to God through prayer. Because God is “worthy of worship and worthy of praise,” His character is the foundation and focal point of prayer. T.W. Hunt noted that “Honor= the integrity of God’s character and His good name” (PrayerLife). Through faithful praying, the pray-er recognizes God for who He is and worships him with prayers of praise and thanksgiving (Philippians 4:4-7) for His love, mercy, and forgiveness (Numbers 14:18).
•   Accesses God’s power through prayer. Prayer is a conduit for God to demonstrate his power, strength, love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace (Gen. 24:42-45; Heb. 4:14-16; Eph. 3:14-21; Psa. 6:9; Rom. 8:26-27). As an avenue for God’s power, prayer is vital for emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical healing (Psa. 4:1; Mark 9:14-29; Acts 10:30-33; James 5:13-16; 1 John 1:9-10);
•   Accepts God’s invitation to pray and is Aware of the blessings of prayer. [“Ask, seek, knock” and “it will be given to you…you will find…the door will be opened to you”(Matt. 7:7) and “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it”(John 14:14). (See also John 15:7 and John 16:24)];
•   Appoints prayer as a priority and Appropriates time, energy, and effort to prayer. Jesus made
prayer a priority as He got up “very early in the morning while it was still dark…”(Mark 1:35).
•   Approaches prayer and praying with the proper attitude that is:
       o   Fostered through the  character of a holy God (“Our Father…hallowed be Thy name….”);
       o   Fueled by faith [“Abraham believed God…” (Gen. 15:1-6); The woman with the issue of blood had faith “If I but touch his garment, I will be healed” and Jesus responded “Your faith has healed you” (Matt. 9:22); Regarding the centurion whose servant was healed, Jesus declared “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matt. 8:10); “…let him ask in faith” (James 1:6)];
       o   Framed in humility [“…if humble self…and pray….” (2 Chron. 7:14); “Then once again, I fell prostrate before the LORD….” (Deut. 9:18); (see also 1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6);
       o   Fashioned in sincerity [“Don’t be like the hypocrites….” (and) “do not keep on babbling like pagans….” Rather, “…go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father….” (Matt.  6:5ff). (Also, James 5:17-18)];
       o   Focused on repentance [“Create in me a clean heart and right spirit” (Psalm 51:10)];
•   Appreciates prayer as a privilege “to take everything to God in prayer” and Avails himself/herself to the opportunity not only to enjoy fellowship with God (1 John 1:3), experience His presence (Psa. 7), engage in spiritual growth (Luke 2:52; 2 Peter 3:18) and in intercession, but also to inquire of the Lord and to receive instruction and answers (Acts 22:17).
•   Anticipates God’s answer to prayer and Awaits with persistence and patience. Perhaps you have seen the acronym P.U.S.H. = “Pray Until Something Happens.” God’s answer may be “yes,” “no,” “wait,” or He may refuse to hear (Psa. 66:18). An unknown source stated, “All prayers are answered if we are willing to admit that sometimes the answer is ‘NO.’” Lewis Carroll offered, “I have had prayers answered…but I think our heavenly Father’s loving-kindness has been more evident in what He has refused me.” Similarly, Henry Blackaby implored God with “…if I ever give You a request and You have more to give me than I am asking, cancel my request” (Experiencing God).
•   Avoids hindrances to prayer. [i.e. fear and unbelief (“Why are you so fearful? Where is your faith?”- Mark 4:40), sin/unconfessed sin (Psalm 66:18; Hebrews 12:1-2)]
•   Acquires a deeper burden for and a broader perspective toward the object (needs, issues, people, etc.) of intercession.
     Admittedly, I am not certain if my response appeased the lawyer’s friend or adequately answered the question “Why Pray?” I am convinced, however, that prayer does bring about change. As Samuel Shoemaker asserted, “Prayer may not change things for you, but it for sure changes you for things.” In a similar vein, Soren Kierkagaard declared, “Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” Hmm…perhaps “change in the pray-er” is the shortest, yet most complete and accurate answer to the question “Why Pray?”