Prayer should be an important part of any believer’s life. The Bible mentions prayer over 300 times, including both descriptions of people praying and instructions for us to pray.
Prayer is, quite simply, talking to God. You can talk to God to thank Him, ask Him something, or express how you feel. You can pray to God out loud or silently, alone or with other people.
But why is prayer so important? If God already knows everything (1 John 3:20), including what we are going to say (Psalm 139:4), what we need (Matthew 6:8) and what He is going to do (Isaiah 46:10), why pray?
There are several reasons why we should pray as Christians:
Pray Out of Faithful Obedience
God’s Word commands us to pray. We are told to pray at all times (Ephesians 6:18), without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), about everything (Philippians 4:6). We are to “be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12) and “continue steadfastly in prayer” (Colossians 4:2).
We are also expected to pray. In Jesus’s instructions on prayer in Matthew 6, He says “when you pray,” not “if you pray” (Matthew 6:5-7). Much like with fasting, Jesus assumed that all His followers would pray.
Pray Because of the Examples of Others
Just about anyone in the Bible who accomplished anything worthwhile or provided an example worth following is shown praying. Abraham (Genesis 20:17), Moses (Psalm 90:1-17), David (2 Samuel 7:18-29), Elijah (James 5:17-18), Mary (Acts 1:14), Peter (Acts 10:9), and Paul (Acts 16:25) all prayed, just to name a few. Daniel prayed even when he knew it would get him thrown into the lion’s den (Daniel 6:6-10); prayer was that important to him.
Jesus prayed often, both publicly (Mark 6:41; John 11:41-42; John 17:1-26) and privately (Mark 1:35; Mark 6:46; Luke 5:16). If Jesus found it necessary or helpful to pray, surely the same applies to us.
Pray Out of Adoration for God
God is holy (Psalm 99:5) and is fully worthy of our praise and adoration (Revelation 4:11). Prayer is one way we can worship the Lord. When we prayerfully consider His works (Psalm 8:3) and ascribe to God His glory, majesty, dominion, and authority (Jude 1:25), it rightfully honors Him and takes the focus off ourselves.
Pray Because God Deserves Our Thanks
Every good thing comes from God (James 1:17). God doesn’t owe us anything; everything we have is an unearned gift. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord” (Psalm 92:1) because He deserves it; He is good, He has done great things, and His love endures forever (Psalm 136:1-26). The discipline of giving thanks through prayer also helps us develop an appropriate attitude of gratitude.
Pray Because You Have Sin to Confess
We have all sinned, and we should confess our sins to God (1 John 1:8-9). God already knows about our sins (Psalm 90:8), so we don’t confess to inform Him of what we’ve done wrong. Instead, confession is about acknowledging that we have sinned, asking for forgiveness, and turning away from sin. Repentance, or turning away from sin, is an essential call for Christians (Romans 2:4), and confession is the first step toward repentance.
Pray Because You Have Needs
As a good Father, God wants to hear our requests and give us good things (Matthew 7:7-11). God will grant our requests if they are in accordance with His will (1 John 5:14-15).
It may seem that God will do His will regardless of whether or not we pray for it, but God’s Word is clear that He wants us to pray and ask. It might be His will that we would play an active role by praying. We also have the example of Jesus, who prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Bringing requests to God is a way of “casting all your anxieties on him” (1 Peter 5:7) by trusting that He will provide what you really need. When you “let your requests be made known to God,” you can “not be anxious about anything” and have “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:6-7). And, in bringing everything to Him, you can learn more about His character and what is in line with His Word.
Pray Out of Love for Others
Don’t pray only for your own needs, but for the needs of others.
The Bible instructs us to pray for each other (James 5:14-16) and for all people (1 Timothy 2:1). Praying for others helps align our hearts with God’s heart to love all people (John 13:34).
You can love others by praying for them and by praying with them. Prayer is a part of fellowshipping with other believers (Acts 2:42). Praying together brings us closer as a body and keeps us focused on God.
If you would like more opportunities to gather in prayer, we host a prayer service every Sunday at 5 PM in the Chapel. There you can pray with others, pray for others, or request prayer for yourself. You can also learn about other ways to serve through prayer, or submit prayer requests, on our prayer page.