Why Do We Pray?
“15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:16-18)
There is a right way and a wrong way to pray. We have those who teach us in this world about praying and are quick to tell us how to pray. Most would say that we should bow our heads and close our eyes and our prayers would be heard. But, the Scripture is riddled with people standing with their eyes and hands lifted before heaven praying and God seems to hear. There are others who go the other way. They lay themselves flat on the ground and spread their hands out before them and lay their petitions before the Father. There are those who kneel on one knee or two. Some would have eyes open while others would have them open and looking toward heaven. So, if we are going to get this praying thing down, we need some kind of a standard.
James, in his writing helps us with this issue. Actually, he identifies the standard. “And the prayer offered in FAITH…” Our standard has little to do with the posture we assume in prayer but EVERYTHING to do with the fact that it is in FAITH. The Biblical standard for prayer is that it is offered in faith.
We must believe that God is capable of dealing with whatever our needs are, whether great or small and whether the needs are ours or those of someone else. Often we lift up prayers to God for the needs of others. Sometimes we see what we ask for come to pass and at other times we see something different.
What do you do when a really sick person whom you are praying for passes on? Did you not have enough faith? Is that why they did not get well? Have you ever considered that the person for whom you are praying in faith might be doing a little praying themselves? What if they are praying for God to go ahead and take them on home? Now you have two prayers in conflict. Which one should God answer? Which one will He answer? What if you are praying for God to make a particular house purchase work out because you love that house so much? And, what if five other families are doing the same… all in faith? Could that happen? Who should God answer. Does God do like the phone message you get when you get put on hold? “Please remain on the line. Your call will be answered in the order it was received.” I think not.
Praying in FAITH is not just the idea that God WILL do what you and I want. Praying in faith is believing that God is completely capable of answering the request, but it is also believing that God is capable of dealing with the issue in a way that sees the issue in a universal manner. One life could change the whole direction of events in the world. We only get a glimpse of a scene when we look at life. God sees every brush stroke in the scene. He operates with a knowledge and a power to change world events that you and I cannot even begin to imagine.
So, why do we pray? Because faith demands it. If we truly believe that God can do the un-imaginable, it should stagger us and cause us to be awe stricken. So, pray and pray and trust God to do what He does best. Let Him be God and let Him make the decisions… believing that whatever He does will be the best, whether we can see it or not.
Let us bow, or stand, or kneel, or lift our eyes before heaven, but above all, let us pray.