Just before we start an in-depth look at the Lord’s prayer, let’s consider why we need to pray in the first place. If our father in heaven knows what we need before we ask Him, why should we bother? After all it is quite clear in the bible that God does know all things;
He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. (Psalm 147:4)
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. (Psalm 139:1-3)
(1) Because He has asked us to!
You might even say He has commanded it. Jesus gave a parable encouraging us to pray “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1) It was the parable of the persistent widow.
(2) Because He wills it
It is amazing that the sovereign God, the one who created all things and controls them should want us to pray. It is a mystery, but clear in scripture that He does:
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalm 2:8)
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)
(3) So that we rely on Him
Another mystery that’s difficult to fathom is that God wants a relationship with us. He loves to be consulted and asked and just simply to talk with us. But oftentimes we don’t pray until the situation gets desperate. The story of Jonah is a case in point
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish,saying,“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. (Jonah 2:1-2)
Even when we’ve been completely disobedient, God still wants us to pray
(4) He wants our obedience
Sometimes, we just need to trust that God knows best. If He has asked us to pray, it is for a very good reason and we won’t always know what that reason is! Are you obedient? Here’s a sobering verse:
You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2)
(5) Because prayer changes things
Of course God knows our needs, but like an encouraging parent, he dignifies us and helps us experience the joy of seeing things happen through our prayers. He wants to partner with us and that we should learn and grow through this partnering relationship.
There are many other wonderful aspects of prayer we could look into and I just want to finish with a few more thoughts:
· We pray because we love. We are in a relationship with God and we want to spend time with Him.
· We want to know God more fully. Not just to get things but to know Him One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)
· We pray to acknowledge our dependence on God: In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)
· We pray so that God might receive glory – It’s all about His name and reputation
Finally, we are followers of Jesus and He actually prayed quite a lot!
Next week we will start to look at ‘The Lord’s prayer’ and discover Jesus’ richest teaching on prayer.