Why do we pray? Seriously. Why do we pray when we believe that God already knows what we need, what we want, and even what we are going to pray for? Many people pray out of a sense of obligation or in hopes of being noticed. Some may even hope to change the mind of God through their prayers. Some test God with prayer; praying that mountains or tress be moved. But prayer is much more powerful and simple. Prayer is all about relationships.
I remember the first date with my now wife. We had decided to go to dinner and a movie. We spent so much time talking at dinner that we missed the movie. As a matter of fact we didn’t go to a movie until after we were married. The conversations we had helped us to establish a relationship. Once established the conversations helped to deepen the relationship. Prayer is much like conversation. It is a conversation between the person praying and God.
When we pray God listens to and responds to our prayers. God always answers our prayers. The answer may not fit in our timeline or be the answer we think is best. The best answer to many of our prayers may even be no! God answers prayers in the way that is best for all involved. Sometimes we don’t believe that God has answered a prayer because we have neglected to realize that the prayer conversation is two sided. It is not a monologue. After we pray we need to listen and pay attention to God. Sometimes we miss the answer to our prayer because the answer is very different than how we think it should be. Other times we miss the answer because the person God sends to answer our prayer has been in our lives the whole time.
Prayer is powerful. It deepens our relationship with God. It can also help us develop, improve, and straighten out relationships with others. In my experience I have found that prayer can set our minds and attitudes in a right direction. Several weeks ago a company was doing some work at the church. They spent part of a day drilling holes and doing some demolition. As the crew left we were informed that the project was more involved than the original bid and they could not continue work. I felt like the victim of a bait and switch. I was sure they were going to come back and tell us that the job would cost five or six times their bid and we didn’t have a lot of choice but to pay them. I got angry. So I prayed. As I listened for God’s response I started thinking over the times I found something more significantly wrong when repairing cars. I meditated on that idea. It calmed me down. A week or so later the new bid came in, along with an apology. The bid was only twice the original but seemed to include much more work. The company was treating us fairly… maybe even more than fairly because they also worked us in quickly.
I have often told people to pray for people with whom they are at odds. Maybe they are angry or even hate the other person. Pray for them. And I don’t mean a “Dear God fix them” prayer. Pray that situation be resolved, that good comes to them, that they find many blessings. Through the amazing power of prayer you will find that you no longer hate the person, your grudge has lessened, and you may even be more accepting of them. Prayer is a powerful instrument that should be used as often as possible.
We should pray for our families, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. We should also pray for our leaders by name. Pray for your pastor, especially if you are in disagreement with them. Pray for your enemies and people that make you mad. Pray without ceasing. Pray for me.
This is this pastor’s opinion. What’s yours?