Four Reasons for Praying

You do not have because you do not ask.
—James 4:2

Why do we need to have a praying heart? Today we will see four biblical reasons for praying.

First, prayer develops our intimacy with God. Occasionally somebody will come to talk to me and say, “Pastor, I don’t know what to do. I feel so distant from God. In fact, I’m not even sure I believe God exists anymore.” So I’ll ask about their prayer life or their program of reading the Bible. And if they’re honest, they’ll admit that it’s been months, if not years, since they’ve talked to God or spent time in His Word. And they wonder why they feel alienated from God and begin to doubt His existence?

How long could you keep up a friendship with somebody you never communicated with or had any contact with? When communication stops, the friendship eventually expires. It’s the same way in our relationship with God. Prayer is vital to keeping that relationship vibrant and alive.

Second, prayer unleashes the power of God. Let’s be honest: the reason most of us pray is because we want God to do something for us, don’t we? I mean, intimacy with God is a nice byproduct of prayer, but the main reason we pray is we want God to act. And you know what? There is nothing wrong with that. James said, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). The Bible says prayer is essential for God to act on our behalf. Now, there’s no blanket guarantee in the Bible that if we pray, God is automatically going to do what we ask Him to do. In 1 John 5:14, we find this condition for answered prayer: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” God’s answer to our prayers always falls within the boundaries of His perfect will. But the fact that God doesn’t always say yes to our prayers shouldn’t keep us from asking Him. Sometimes God answers immediately. Sometimes we wait a long time. But the key is to ask God and to leave the results to Him. Prayer unleashes the power of God.

Third, prayer allows us to experience the peace of God. Acts 16 records Paul’s second missionary journey. And one of the stops Paul made on that missionary journey was to the city of Philippi, where he met Lydia and she helped found the church there. But Paul and Silas were arrested and thrown into prison. Acts 16:25 tells us, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” Here’s a remarkable thing: two men who were beaten within inches of their lives and thrown into prison are praying and praising God. The reason Paul and Silas had such peace was because they were praying and praising God. You see, the supernatural peace was the result, not the cause. Prayer and fear cannot exist in the same heart. Prayer dispels fear just like light dispels the darkness. Prayer protects us with the peace of God.

There’s a fourth reason to pray, and it’s essential to understand. Prayer aligns our will with God’s will. Isn’t that how Jesus taught us to pray? “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). To be honest, most of us are more interested in getting our will done in heaven than in getting God’s will done on earth. But prayer has a way of changing that. It helps us get to the point where we say, “God, whatever You want, that is what I want.” And you’ll discover that the longer you pray, the shorter the distance between your will and God’s will.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Developing a Trusting Heart” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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