Should I Even Pray?

Growing up in a country where most of its citizens are Catholic meant that prayer was a constant practice that could be seen all around. Prayers are said practically everywhere, whether it be in school, at home, at church, or even in malls. Although this is true, a lot of times the prayers we utter turn into mindless mumblings—prayers without heart.

Yet I also have great memories of real and fervent prayers. I remember the passionate prayer one of my friends said for another friend before she went on a short-term mission trip. Every now and then my dad prays heartfelt prayers that leave him crying before the whole family. Those were some instances that made me feel like I needed to pray better. And I wanted to. But sometimes I do not feel like praying at all. Other times I seem to have no reason to. I mean why would God, who knows the beginning and the end, need to hear my little voice? Does my prayer even count? If God still accomplishes his purposes why bother anyway?

            But before we answer that question, we must first ask, “What is prayer?”

WHAT PRAYER IS

            My favourite definition of prayer was one by John MacArthur. He said this, “The essence of prayer is simply talking to God as you would a beloved friend—without pretense or flippancy.” You simply talk to God like He is one of your close friends! Here’s the catch: you need to do with authenticity and respect. You are talking to the creator of the universe after all.

            A familiar thought to us is that in any relationship communication is vital. So it is with our relationship with God.  God speaks through His Word and we speak through prayer. We pray to align our will with God’s will. We know this, yet we treat prayer like hurried cellphone calls—we do it quick, we do it brief. Most of the time prayer ends up becoming nothing more than a bunch of demands and personal favors springing from our own selfish interests. Herein lies the problem.

THE ULTIMATE TEST

“It is the highest activity of the human soul and therefore it is at the same time the ultimate test of a man’s spiritual condition.”

~Dr. David Martyn-Lloyd Jones

            Oh, how often do we find it difficult to pray and it is not because we simply cannot put into words our thoughts. We are not inclined to pray because our hearts are not right with God. Dr. Jones’ observation is as astute as it gets. It is the highest activity of the soul for we are talking to the thrice holy God—the omnipotent and omniscient being. Hence, when we talk to God the true colors of our hearts are tested. The true king sitting on the throne of your heart is revealed. And it may be that you, somebody else, or something else is sitting on that throne where only God should be sitting.

            This is why we pray so little or pray so much but with so little zeal. It is no accident that when Jesus taught his disciples to pray in (Matthew 6:9-13) he first said, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It shows us that at the heart of every prayer we must be admiring God, seeking His kingdom, and pursuing His will.

 But we don’t do that much, don’t we? We mostly just barge into petitions about us, our wants, and our wills. Prayer makes clear the true state of our souls. So our first prayer must be of God searching our hearts and minds.

GOD CAN HANDLE IT

            It says in (Isaiah 46:10) that God knows the beginning to the end and accomplishes His purposes. God’s plan cannot be changed or thwarted. His plans will be fulfilled. If this is so, then why bother to pray? “God already knows how things start and finish, it doesn’t matter what I pray anyway.”

            So, should I even pray?

WHY WE SHOULD PRAY

            The answer is yes. Yes, God knows the beginning and the end, but we forget the space in between. There is the process or the means by which He accomplishes His purposes. And we pray not because we want to change God’s plan, but we recognize the great privilege to be part of it. You can be part of the means. Not only is it a privilege, but it is a call for Christians to pray. Prayer for the Christian is like breathing, the Christian will die without doing it.

            Furthermore, God says that as we pray He hears us. We are all familiar with this famous verse in (Jeremiah 29:11), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  This verse speaks of God’s sovereignty, but maybe we are not familiar with what next verse says. In (Jeremiah 29:12) it is written, “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” Our understanding of God being in control should not hinder us from praying, but it should motivate us to pray as God grants us the opportunity to take part in His plans.

WHAT PRAYER BRINGS

            What do we discover as we press on to pray? Luke shows us what we find, “For everyone who asks receives and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:10). We find answers to our prayers. And most of the time these answers are not what we think they will be. Often, they are better as we discover what God truly wills for our lives.

PRAYING IN THE MIDST OF A CRISIS

            As I am writing this, there are currently more than three million COVID-19 cases worldwide, with more than two hundred thousand deaths. In the Philippines, the number of cases is nearing the nine thousand mark, with a death toll of more than five hundred. Now is a time for true fervent prayers. There is widespread fear, oppression, and incompetence. We can see the government’s failure, the people’s apathy, the marginalized members’ struggle. Yes, it is of great value that we speak up and do something for if not then our prayers were mere wishes. But for the Christian this is also a call to pray for we have a God who listens.

Photo Credits: Amaury Gutierrez

2 responses to “Should I Even Pray?”

  1. Thanks for the follow 🙂

    Like

  2. Beautifully expressed. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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