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Why Pray?

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WHY PRAY

1. Prayer is an essential practice of the Christian life.

2. Prayer is the language spoken in the Kingdom of God.

3. Prayer was practiced by believers of both the Old Testament and New                Testament eras.

4. Prayer was taught and modeled by Jesus.

5. Prayer is irreplaceably important.

6. Why pray? Here are 21 reasons...

1.  Because God commands us to pray. Seek the Lord while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near. Isaiah 55:6. When God delivered His people from Babylon and took them safely back to their own land, it was a witness to the other nations. It also gave Israel another opportunity to be a light to the Gentiles (49:6) and bring them to faith in the true and living God. While it was important for Israel to seek the Lord and be wholly devoted to Him, it was also important that they share this invitation with the nations.

What is involved in “seeking the Lord”? For one thing, it means admitting that we are sinners and that we have offended the holy God. It means repenting (55:7), changing one’s mind about sin, and turning away from sin and to the Lord. We must turn to God in faith and believe His promise that in mercy He will abundantly pardon. Repentance and faith go together: “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).

But no one should delay in doing this! The phrase “while He may be found” suggests that, if we do not take His invitation seriously, the invitation may cease while we are delaying. In the Parable of the Great Supper, God closed the door on those who spurned His invitation (Luke 14:16–24; see Prov. 1:20–33). “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).[1]

Isaiah tells us to call on the Lord while he is near. God is not planning to move away from us, but we often move far from him or erect barriers of sin between us. Don’t wait until you have drifted far away from God to seek him. Turning to him may be far more difficult later in life. Or God may come to judge the earth before you decide to turn to him. Seek God now, while you can, before it is too late.

“Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7 You and I are human and fallible; we make mistakes. Only God can judge perfectly. Therefore, we must pray and seek His wisdom and direction. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5).

Young King Solomon knew that he lacked the needed wisdom to judge Israel, so he prayed to God; and the Lord graciously answered (1 Kings 3:3ff). If we are to have spiritual discernment, we must keep on asking God, keep on seeking His will, keep on knocking at the door that leads to greater ministry. God meets the needs of His children.[2]

knowing God takes faith, focus, and follow-through; Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.

Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 Imagine never worrying about anything! It seems like an impossibility; we all have worries on the job, in our homes, at school. But Paul’s advice is to turn our worries into prayers. Do you want to worry less? Then pray more! Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray.  God’s peace is different from the world’s peace. True peace is not found in positive thinking, in absence of conflict, or in good feelings. It comes from knowing that God is in control. Our citizenship in Christ’s Kingdom is sure, our destiny is set, and we can have victory over sin. Let God’s peace guard your heart against anxiety.

2. Because God hears us when we pray. Lord, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will listen to their cries and comfort them. Psalm 10:17 He hears the prayers of the persecuted, He sees their plight, He strengthens their hearts for whatever trials He permits and He eventually judges those who abuse them. People of faith can depend on the God of heaven, but the self-confident and arrogant “people of the earth” have no future with the Lord.[3]  God will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so people can no longer terrify them.

We will fulfill our vows to you, for you answer our prayers, Psalm  65:2 In Old Testament times, vows were taken seriously and fulfilled completely. No one had to make a vow, but once made, it was binding (Deuteronomy 23:21-23). The vow that is being fulfilled here is the promise to praise God for his answers to prayer.

When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.  Psalm 138:3 Thanksgiving should be an integral part of our praise to God. This theme is woven throughout the Psalms. As we praise and thank God for material and spiritual blessings, we should also thank him for answered prayer. Remember when you asked God for protection, strength, comfort, patience, love, or other special needs, and he supplied them, did you remember to thank him? Beware of taking God’s provision and answered prayer for granted.

3. Because God answers when we pray. Moses and Aaron were among his priests; Samuel also called on his name.  They cried to the Lord for help, and he answered them. Psalm 99:6  You could not approach the throne of the king of Persia unless he held out his scepter and gave you permission  but access to God’s throne is available to His children through Jesus Christ (Heb. 10:19–25). Under the old covenant, God provided priests who ministered at the altar and were mediators between His needy people and their Lord, but today Jesus Christ is the Mediator (1 Tim. 2:5) who constantly intercedes for us (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). To the lost sinner, God’s throne is a throne of judgment, but to the believer, it is a throne of grace (Heb. 4:14–16), and we can come to Him with our worship and praise as well as our burdens and needs.

Often Moses, Aaron, and Samuel had to intercede for the disobedient people of Israel, and the Lord heard them and answered (Ex. 17:1; 32–33; Num. 14:11–38; 16:48; 1 Sam. 7, 12). God named Moses and Samuel as great men of prayer (Jer. 15:1). God’s gracious ministry to His old covenant people is still available to His new covenant family: He speaks to us from His Word (Ex. 33:9; Num. 12:5–6; 1 Sam. 3:3), hears our prayers and answers, disciplines us when we sin, and forgives us when we confess (1 John 1:9).[4] ;

Then when you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply. Isaiah 58:9 We cannot be saved without faith in Christ, but our faith lacks sincerity if it doesn’t reach out to others. God says he wants our lives to go beyond our own personal growth to acts of kindness, charity, justice, and generosity. As we reach out to others then he will answer us.

4. Because the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray. So you should not be like cowering, fearful slaves. You should behave instead like God’s very own children, adopted into his family—calling him “Father, dear Father.” Romans 8:15 Paul uses adoption to illustrate the believer’s new relationship with God. In Roman culture, the adopted person lost all rights in his old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate child in his new family. He became a full heir to his new father’s estate. Likewise, when a person becomes a Christian, he or she gains all the privileges and responsibilities of a child in God’s family.  We are no longer like “cowering and fearful slaves”; instead, we are the Master’s children. What a privilege! Because we are God’s children, we share in great treasures as co-heirs. God has already given us his best gifts: his Son, forgiveness, and eternal life; and he encourages us to ask him for whatever we need.

5. Because it is an evidence of our conversion to Christ. The Lord said, “Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you arrive, ask for Saul of Tarsus. He is praying to me right now. Acts 9:11 prayer was an evidence of Paul’s conversion to Christ. So it is with us. Ananias was available to do God’s will, but he certainly was not anxious to obey! The fact that Saul was “praying” instead of “preying” should have encouraged Ananias. “Prayer is the autograph of the Holy Ghost upon the renewed heart,” said Charles Spurgeon[5]

6. Because it is powerfully effective. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results. James 5:16 Christ has made it possible for us to go directly to God for forgiveness. But confessing our sins to each other still has an important place in the life of the church. (1) If we have sinned against an individual, we must ask him or her to forgive us. (2) If our sin has affected the church, we must confess it publicly. (3) If we need loving support as we struggle with a sin, we should confess that sin to those who are able to provide that support.  The “confessing” that James wrote about is done among the saints. He was not suggesting confessing our sins to a preacher or priest. We confess our sins first of all to the Lord (1 John 1:9), but we must also confess them to those who have been affected by them. We must never confess sin beyond the circle of that sin’s influence. Private sin requires private confession; public sin requires public confession. It is wrong for Christians to “hang dirty wash in public,” for such “confessing” might do more harm than the original sin.[6]                      

There are some practical lessons from this section that we must not overlook. For one thing, disobedience to God can lead to sickness. This was David’s experience when he tried to hide his sins (Ps. 32). Second, sin affects the whole church. We can never sin alone, for sin has a way of growing and infecting others. Third, there is healing (physical and spiritual) when sin is dealt with.  James wrote, “Make it a habit to confess your sins to each other” (literal translation). Do not hide sin or delay confession. [7]

7. Because it delights God when we pray. The Lord hates the sacrifice of the wicked, but he delights in the prayers of the upright. Proverbs 15:8.

8. Because we have direct access to God. Hebrews 10 tells us that God desires obedience and a right heart, not empty compliance to the sacrifice system.  Christ came to offer his body on the cross for us as a sacrifice that is completely acceptable to God. God’s new and living way for us to please him is not by keeping laws or even by abstaining from sin. It is by coming to him in faith to be forgiven, and then following him in loving obedience.

9. Because prayer relates to everything in our lives. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 Paul does not write, “Pray about it!” He is too wise to do that. He uses three different words to describe “right praying”: prayer, supplication,and thanksgiving.“Right praying” involves all three. The word prayer is the general word for making requests known to the Lord. It carries the idea of adoration, devotion, and worship. Whenever we find ourselves worrying, our first action ought to be to get alone with God and worship Him. Adoration is what is needed. We must see the greatness and majesty of God! We must realize that He is big enough to solve our problems. Too often we rush into His presence and hastily tell Him our needs, when we ought to approach His throne calmly and in deepest reverence. The first step in “right praying” is adoration.

The second is supplication, an earnest sharing of our needs and problems. There is no place for halfhearted, insincere prayer! While we know we are not heard for our “much speaking” (Matt. 6:7–8), still we realize that our Father wants us to be earnest in our asking (Matt. 7:1–11). This is the way Jesus prayed in the Garden (Heb. 5:7), and while His closest disciples were sleeping, Jesus was sweating great drops of blood! Supplication is not a matter of carnal energy but of spiritual intensity (Rom. 15:30; Col. 4:12).

After adoration and supplication comes appreciation, giving thanks to God (see Eph. 5:20; Col. 3:15–17). Certainly the Father enjoys hearing His children say, “Thank You!” When Jesus healed ten lepers, only one of the ten returned to give thanks (Luke 17:11–19), and we wonder if the percentage is any higher today. We are eager to ask but slow to appreciate.

You will note that “right praying” is not something every Christian can do immediately, because “right praying” depends on the right kind of mind. This is why Paul’s formula for peace is found at the end of Philippians and not at the beginning. If we have the single mind of Philippians 1 then we can give adoration. (How can a double-minded person ever praise God?) If we have the submissive mind of Philippians 2, we can come with supplication. (Would a person with a proud mind ask God for something?) If we have the spiritual mind of Philippians 3 we can show our appreciation. (A worldly minded person would not know that God had given him anything to appreciate!) In other words, we must practice Philippians 1, 2, and 3 if we are going to experience the secure mind of Philippians 4.

Paul counsels us to take “everything to God in prayer.” “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything!” is his admonition. We are prone to pray about the “big things” in life and forget to pray about the so-called “little things”—until they grow and become big things! Talking to God about everything that concerns us and Him is the first step toward victory over worry.

The result is that the “peace of God” guards the heart and the mind. You will remember that Paul was chained to a Roman soldier, guarded day and night. In like manner, “the peace of God” stands guard over the two areas that create worry—the heart (wrong feeling) and the mind (wrong thinking). When we give our hearts to Christ in salvation, we experience “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1); but the “peace of God” takes us a step farther into His blessings. This does not mean the absence of trials on the outside, but it does mean a quiet confidence within, regardless of circumstances, people, or things.[8]

Verse 8 continues telling us what we put into our mind determines what comes out in our words and actions. Paul tells us to program our mind with thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Do you have problems with impure thoughts and daydreams? Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, books, conversations, movies, and magazines. Replace harmful input with wholesome material. Above all, read God’s Word and pray. Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and pure. It takes practice, but it can be done.

10. Because the promises of God are the basis of our prayers. Remember your promise to me, for it is my only hope. Psalm 119:49 Remembering is not recalling, for God never forgets; it is relating to His people in a special way. The psalmist prayed that God would use the Word to work on his behalf. The writer had hope because of the promises God had given to him, and he prayed that those promises would be fulfilled. When Daniel found in the prophecy of Jeremiah the promise of Israel’s deliverance from captivity, he immediately began to pray for the promise to be fulfilled (Dan. 9). True faith not only believes the promises but also prays for God to work. In his believing and praying, the writer found encouragement (“comfort” comes from the Latin meaning “with strength”), and he did not abandon his faith or run away from his problems. He was revived with new life![9] ;

I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking to me about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! Isaiah 65:24

11. Because prayers we utter on earth make it all the way to heaven. And as he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense—the prayers of God’s people! Revelation 5:8 praise and prayer were united, for incense is a picture of prayer rising to the throne of God [10]

12. Because spiritual blessings come through prayer. and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. Matthew 6:33 To “make the Kingdom of God your primary concern” means to put God first in your life, to fill your thoughts with his desires, to take his character for your pattern, and to serve and obey him in everything. What is really important to you? People, objects, goals, and other desires all compete for priority. Any of these can quickly bump God out of first place if you don’t actively choose to give him first place in every area of your life.

13. Because the end is near. The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7 We should live expectantly because Christ is coming soon. Getting ready to meet Christ involves continually growing in love for God and for others (see Jesus’ summary of the law in Matthew 22:37-40). It is important to pray regularly and to reach out to needy people. Your possessions, status, and power will mean nothing in God’s Kingdom, but you will spend eternity with other people. Invest your time and talents where they will make an eternal difference.

14. Because of God’s faithfulness in answering past prayers. Answer me when I call, O God who declares me innocent. Take away my distress, have mercy on me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1 David knew that God would hear him when he called and would answer him. We, too, can be confident that God listens to our prayers and answers when we call on him. Sometimes we think that God will not hear us because we have fallen short of his high standards for holy living. But if we have trusted Christ for salvation, God has forgiven us, and he will listen to us. When you feel as though your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling, remember that as a believer you have been set apart by God and that he loves you. He hears and answers, although his answers may not be what you expect. Look at your problems in the light of God’s power instead of looking at God in the shadow of your problems.

I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath! Psalm  116:1,2 God is so responsive that you can always reach him. He bends down and listens to your voice. This writer’s love for the Lord had grown because he had experienced answers to his prayers. If you are discouraged, remember that God is near, listening carefully to every prayer and answering each one in order to give you his best.

15. Because prayer is sometimes our only recourse in times of trouble. Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory. Psalm 50:15 the people were offering sacrifices and forgetting their significance! The very act of sacrifice showed that they had once agreed to follow God wholeheartedly. But at this time their hearts were not in it. We may fall into the same pattern when we participate in religious activities, tithe, or attend church out of habit or conformity rather than out of heartfelt love and obedience. God wants righteousness, not empty ritual. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. Psalm 91:15 It is comforting to know that God watches over us even in times of great stress and fear.

16. Because prayer is an expression of love for God. The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

17. Because prayer is inextricably linked to abiding in Christ. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! John 15:7 Many people try to be good, honest people who do what is right. But Jesus says that the only way to live a truly good life is to stay close to him, like a branch attached to the vine. Apart from Christ our efforts are unfruitful. Are you receiving the nourishment and life offered by Christ, the vine? If not, you are missing a special gift he has for you.

18. Because when we pray we are following the example of Jesus. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen and build up your brothers.” Luke 22:32 Satan wanted to crush Simon Peter and the other disciples like grains of wheat. He hoped to find only chaff and blow it away. But Jesus assured Peter that his faith, although it would falter, would not be destroyed. It would be renewed, and Peter would become a powerful leader.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

19. Because prayer is our means of ministry to all in authority over us. I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks. 2 Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity. 3This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 for he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.   1 Timothy 2:1-4  Although God is all-powerful and all-knowing, he has chosen to let us help him change the world through our prayers. How this works is a mystery to us because of our limited understanding, but it is a reality. Paul urges us to pray for each other and for our leaders in government. Our earnest prayers will have powerful results. When our life is going along peacefully and quietly, it is difficult to remember to pray for those in authority, because we often take good government for granted. It’s easier to remember to pray when we experience problems. But we should pray for those in authority around the world so that their societies will be conducive to the spread of the Good News.

20. Because prayer is a source of genuine delight. My heart is breaking

as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks—it was the sound of a great celebration! Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!  I will praise him again—my Savior and 6 my God! Psalm 42:4-6

Depression is one of the most common emotional ailments. One antidote for depression is to meditate on the record of God’s goodness to his people. This will take your mind off the present situation as you focus your thoughts on God’s ability to help you rather than on your inability to help yourself. When you feel depressed, take advantage of this psalm’s antidepressant: Read the Bible’s accounts of God’s goodness, and meditate on them.  The writer poured out his soul in prayer, pleading for the Lord to set him free and take him back to Jerusalem. But then he confronted himself (v. 5) and admonished himself not to be downcast but to hope in the Lord and wait on Him. The repetition of this admonition (v. 11; 43:5) suggests that the writer was having his “ups and downs” as he struggled with his circumstances and himself. He would find his consolation and peace only in the Lord, and not in nature (vv. 1, 6–7), memories (v. 4), or nursing grief (v. 3). His hopes had been shattered, his prayers were unanswered, his enemies were vocal, and his feelings were more than he could handle, but God was still on the throne. God’s presence was with him and he would yet have the joy of worshiping God in Jerusalem. That was God’s promise in His covenant (Deut. 30).[11]

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1 “We will go” is the better translation. Whether this was an invitation to someone living far from Jerusalem, or to David living in Jerusalem, the statement expressed determination and dedication. David’s love for God’s house was wellknown (27:4; 65:4; 2 Sam. 7:1–3). He rejoiced at an opportunity to go with other worshipers to praise the Lord. [12]

Going to God’s house can be a chore or a delight. We may find worship a chore if we have unconfessed sin or if our love for God has cooled. But if we are close to God and enjoy his presence, we will be eager to worship and praise him. Our attitude toward God will determine our view of worship.

21. Because Christ is present in the prayers of His followers. For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20 In the body of believers (the church), the sincere agreement of two people in prayer is more powerful than the superficial agreement of thousands, because Christ’s Holy Spirit is with them. Two or more believers, filled with the Holy Spirit, will pray according to God’s will, not their own; thus, their requests will be granted.  We also need to look at the context of this verse:  Matthew is writing about discipline within the church. The local church must be a worshiping community, recognizing the presence of the Lord in their midst. The Holy Spirit of God can convict both the offender and the church, and He can even judge sin in the midst (Acts 5).

There is a desperate need for honesty in the church today. “Speaking the truth in love” is God’s standard (Eph. 4:15). If we practice love without truth, it is hypocrisy. But if we try to have truth without love, it may be brutality. Jesus always taught the truth in love.[13]

Conclusion.

1. Just as God inhabits the praise of His people, He inhabits their prayers.

2. Think about the implications of Jesus’ promise that when we pray together He is right there our midst.

3. Prayer is a glorious, amazing privilege.

4. May we determine more than ever to devote ourselves to faithful, fervent prayer.


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[1]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1992). Be comforted. An Old Testament study. (Is 55:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[2]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Mt 7:6). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[3]Wiersbe, W. W. (2004). Be worshipful (1st ed.) (48). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Cook Communications Ministries.

[4]Wiersbe, W. W. (2004). Be exultant (1st ed.) (38). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Cook Communications Ministries.

[5]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Ac 9:10). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[6]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Jas 5:14). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[7]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Jas 5:14). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[8]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Php 4:6). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[9]Wiersbe, W. W. (2004). Be exultant (1st ed.) (116). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Cook Communications Ministries.

[10]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Re 5:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

[11]Wiersbe, W. W. (2004). Be worshipful (1st ed.) (162). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Cook Communications Ministries.

[12]Wiersbe, W. W. (2004). Be exultant (1st ed.) (150). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Cook Communications Ministries.

[13]Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Mt 18:15). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

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