In light of recent events, it’s easy to ask, “Why pray?” It’s easy to question His power and will. It’s easy to falter in faith. And so I sat down to reflect on why we pray.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7
We pray because we question
Throughout the Old Testament we read laments and psalms filled with questioning. These examples let us know that it is okay to question, and that God wants us to turn to Him no matter our state. With questions, confusion, even accusations, we are to cry out to God.
We pray because we’re broken
In our hurt we turn to God because we do not know all of the answers. We live in a broken world and all too often we experience this brokenness first hand. We turn to God in prayer amidst this brokenness knowing that Jesus Christ has experienced the pain of this world and that He desires so much more for us.
We pray because we need help
It is in our hurt that we grow in compassion. Through tragedies large and small, God takes my heart and shapes the issues and the people I care about. He broadens my perspective and helps me learn how to care for my neighbor. In my pain I cry out through prayer for His help and His will.
We pray to seek peace
As I pray, I seek the peace that only God can provide. Rarely is life in a state where nothing is wrong, and so it’s not a peace of circumstances, but it’s a peace of His presence. I pray that my soul would find rest in Him even amidst the chaos that so often surrounds us.
We pray to gain courage
Through prayer, God calms my spirit so that I can see beyond personal stressors to take in the situation as a whole. From that vantage point He gives me the courage to ask with His love as a guiding light. I can look past my needs, as they are fulfilled in Christ and through His community, and then offer a hand to those around me. I pray for the courage to willingly enter into brokenness alongside my brothers and sisters in order to freely display the love of God.
We pray to find answers
And so we pray, not because everything has a reason, but because God can use this brokenness for His will despite the sin that lead it into being. He can shape us through the tragedies of a sin-struck world. He can work through brokenness. Though we may never find answers for the tragedy itself, we are able to find answers to our personal struggle and to how we can be involved in the process of healing.
We pray to grow closer to God
Often times I pray for the things I need, thus creating a one sided conversation. Instead I need to turn to God for relationship. Through the ups and downs of this life, we pray because we desire to draw nearer to God, and to allow God to grow our ability to love like He loves.
I need to remind myself more often than I do that God desires relationship for the sake of relationship itself. As we tune our hearts to hear Him, we will desire to do so more often. Slowly but surely we will grow in how we relate to God throughout our day. We have the power of God at the fold of our hands.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.
– Matthew 21:21
And so we pause. We meditate. We seek His will. We pursue His Word.
We let Him shape us as we surrender the joy and pain to His capable hands.
Then we go to serve His creation with the love of Christ.
I above photograph is part of an art project I created. More information can be found here.