I’ve been struck and shocked lately by how many people around me do not pray to God. I guess if a person does not believe there is a god at all, then he/she would not pray. I guess if a person believes in a god but is convinced that god is not good or trustworthy, then he/she would not pray. I guess if a person becomes jaded, scarred and hurt by life often they might conclude that their prayers accomplish nothing and are purposeless and not worth the effort. Oh, how it hurts my soul to think of people so lost and alone –without any caring, advocate in this difficult evil, fallen, sorrowful world.
“What good do prayers do?”, one comment on Facebook said. “No, I don’t pray anymore”, said another to my face in a time of need. Oh friends, if I don’t take a stand for God and His truth on the privileges and benefits of prayer, what kind of a redeemed, chosen, follower of Christ would I be?
A google search of the question, “What good does prayer do?” yielded me about 272,000,000 results in 0.50 seconds, ranging in posts promoting prayer as effectual and helpful to those pointing out the uselessness of prayer on the first page of links Google chose to show me. Greater Bible scholars than me have written multiple books on the topic of the effectiveness of prayer and on how to pray. The purpose of my blog writing is not primarily to teach Bible truths. So I guess I’m just going to share with you WHY I am a woman of prayer to God and perhaps an example of how prayer has helped me. Readers, I hope you might consider — why do I really pray? Or why am I not praying to the God of the universe? Is prayer a good use of my time? Is prayer to God something I should consider doing?
God is real; He is good; He is trustworthy. He has infinite power to do whatever He wishes. No one can thwart God’s sovereign plans. God has already made up His mind what His plan of salvation is for the human race, and He is going to do what He is going to do, right? So why pray? I actually struggle with that very question from time to time, but I choose to follow Jesus’ example and obey the Bible’s instructions on prayer instead.
“Question: “What is prayer?”
Answer: The most basic definition of prayer is “talking to God.” Prayer is not meditation or passive reflection; it is direct address to God. It is the communication of the human soul with the Lord who created the soul. Prayer is the primary way for the believer in Jesus Christ to communicate his emotions and desires with God and to fellowship with God.
Prayer can be audible or silent, private or public, formal or informal. All prayer must be offered in faith (James 1:6), in the name of the Lord Jesus (John 16:23), and in the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26). As the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia puts it, “Christian prayer in its full New Testament meaning is prayer addressed to God as Father, in the name of Christ as Mediator, and through the enabling grace of the indwelling Spirit” (“Prayer” by J. C. Lambert). The wicked have no desire to pray (Psalm 10:4), but the children of God have a natural desire to pray (Luke 11:1).” https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-prayer.html
Why I pray–here’s a quick top ten just off the top of my head: 1. Because God cares for me and wants me to share my heart with Him. 2. Because God is real, all powerful, and He considers and answers my prayers to Him. 3. Because I love to talk to my best friend often. 4. Because Jesus prayed to His Father. 5. Because God’s Word commands me to pray and stay in fellowship with God. 6. Because there are many, many examples in the Bible of how righteous people prayed to God and God worked through their prayers and provided help in time of need. 7. Because there are many, many examples in modern day life and in the history of the church where righteous people prayed to God and God worked through their prayers and provided help in time of need. (Recall that “righteous people” are not perfect people practically, but people who have repented of sin, are trusting Jesus, and have been justified in Christ.) 8. Because prayer comforts and brings peace to my soul. 9. Because when I pray with and for others it comforts and brings peace to their souls. 10. Because there is no one else and nothing else to turn to in this pathetic, sad, sorrowful, evil, lost world.
In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” Psalm 10:4.
People who do not believe in or love God do not desire to pray, but people who believe in God through Jesus and love God have a new heart that desires to pray.
Recently I found myself at the hospital bed of a very, very sick, suffering loved one after a surgery. It was 3 am. I was suffering acute fatigue and tiredness after a long day, night, and with little end in sight, and things got a little bit hard–but I was needed to serve. Where would I turn to find strength, grace and help in time of need? Despite my own illnesses and discouragement? I turned to God through the Bible and prayer. A review and quick reading and praying from Isaiah (Chapters 40 to 53 roughly) in between the labor of helping this person in time of need provided such comfort and strength! Oh friend, if you’ve never experienced how greatly God can comfort your soul through the Bible and communion with God in time of need–oh how you are missing out! And I received miraculous, physical ability to serve in time of need that I believe was an immediate answer to my prayers and the prayers of so many loved ones and friends who were praying for me. Is it measurable this side of eternity? No. It takes faith–faith in Jesus who loves us so much and who cares for us. Faith in a God who already has a sovereign plan, yet who gives us the privilege of somehow participating in it through our faithfulness to pray.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16.
So a warning dear readers/friends if you are dissing my God about prayer or in any other way. One day you will be profusely ashamed. And righteously judged for rejecting God and Jesus Christ. Oh please call on Him at a time when He may be found. Now, today is the right time to find peace, grace, strength and help in time of need through salvation found in Jesus Christ alone.
Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. In the Lord all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory. Isaiah 45:24-25.
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11.
There are so many more Bible verses I could cite that tell of God’s righteous judgment to come. But if you don’t believe the Bible is true and if you don’t believe God is real and good, you’re not gonna listen. So what can I do? All I can do is lovingly sound a warning, even though it is very unpopular and abnormal in our culture to do so. And I have to take the risk that you may reject me for my warning and stand for God, because I must obey God rather than people. I can continue to live out my life as an example of one old lady, persevering in following Christ, imperfectly, but consistently learning to obey God’s Word. And what else can I do? I can pray. And I am praying as I send out these thoughts–for everyone I know, love, and have had the slightest contact with on this planet–for God’s mercy to call you out of the darkness of despair and hopelessness to His beautiful light. Or for God to call you out of your own seeming self-sufficiency, or your distrust, or whatever is holding you back from being found by Jesus. I want to be rewarded by grace by God for the good things God is helping me to do; I do not want to be ashamed at Christ’s second coming. I am proud and grateful to God to be a woman of prayer.
And there is salvation in no one else [but Jesus Christ], for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
But he [Jesus] said, What is impossible with man is possible with God. Luke 18:27
Oh Jesus, have mercy, and bring truth, light, and salvation to many. Help people be willing to repent and turn from their sin and to realize what a powerful, trustworthy, beautiful God You are. Help them to find out what a powerful advocate You are and to stop missing out on the privilege and responsibility of prayer to You.