EDUCATING OUR WORLD

Queston:Why Should We Pray?

Answer: Are there reasons as to why people should pray? The answer is, “Yes.” The Bible has the following things to say about why we should talk to the living God.

1. God Commands Believers To Pray

Above all, is the fact that God commands us to pray. Every believer, therefore, should pray in obedience to His commands. In fact, Paul said to pray about everything and worry about nothing. He wrote the following.

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6,7 NRSV).

Paul wrote to Timothy about the need to pray.

So wherever you assemble, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy (1 Timothy 2:8 NLT).

We become obedient to God when we pray

2. The Example Of Godly People Who Prayed

Another reason why we should pray is to follow the example of godly people throughout Scripture. They thought it was important that they take the time to pray. From Scripture, we read of the following people praying.

Moses

On one occasion, the leader Moses spent forty days before the Lord in prayer. He said to the people.

So I fell down before the LORD the forty days and nights, which I did because the LORD had said He would destroy you. I prayed to the LORD and said, O Lord GOD, do not destroy Your people, even Your inheritance, whom You have redeemed through Your greatness, whom You have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand (Deuteronomy 9:25-26 NASB)

Moses was a man of prayer. He gives us a great example of the importance of prayer.

Joshua

We find that the prayer of Joshua caused a great miracle to occur. We read of this in the Book of Joshua. It says.

On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: “O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.” So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel (Joshua 10:12-14 NIV).

Joshua felt the need to pray; so should we.

Hanna

Hannah, the mother of Samuel prayed to the Lord for a son. Scripture records the following episode.

Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the LORD's temple. In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. And she made a vow, saying, “O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head” (1 Samuel 1:9-11 NIV).

God answered her prayer. Her son grew up to be the prophet Samuel.

David

David was a man of prayer. On one occasion, when the Lord answered David’s prayers, he was delivered from being captured by Saul. We read of the following event.

And David prayed, “O LORD, God of Israel, I have heard that Saul is planning to come and destroy Keilah because I am here. Will the men of Keilah surrender me to him? And will Saul actually come as I have heard? O LORD, God of Israel, please tell me.” And the LORD said, “He will come.” Again David asked, “Will these men of Keilah really betray me and my men to Saul?” And the LORD replied, “Yes, they will betray you.” So David and his men-- about six hundred of them now-- left Keilah and began roaming the countryside. Word soon reached Saul that David had escaped, so he didn't go to Keilah after all (1 Samuel 23:10-13 NLT).

David was delivered from King Saul because he asked the Lord what he should do. David is another example of a prayer warrior.

Anna

There was a woman named Anna who was constantly in prayer. She was given the unique privilege of seeing the baby Jesus. The Bible says.

And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem (Luke 2:36-38 NASB).

The constant prayers of Anna were noticed by the Lord.

John The Baptist

We find that John the Baptist was a man of prayer. In fact, the reason Jesus’ disciples asked Him to teach them to pray was so they could be taught like John’s disciples. We read the following in the gospel of Luke.

He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1 NRSV).

Jesus’ disciples were impressed with the prayer life of John’s disciples. They wanted to be men of prayer also.

Peter

Peter was a man of prayer. On one occasion, we are told that he prayed for a dead woman named Tabitha, or Dorcas, to return to life. God answered his prayer and brought this woman back from the dead. The Book of Acts records the account as follows.

Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive (Acts 9:40,41 NRSV).

Peter’s prayer was answered and this valuable woman was again among the living.

Paul

We know that the Apostle Paul as a man who prayed. After he appointed elders in the various churches in which he visited, he prayed and fasted over them. The Bible says the following about Paul’s practice.

When they had appointed elders for them in the various churches, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the protection of the Lord in whom they had believed (Acts 14:23 NET).

We find many references to prayer in the writings of Paul.

The Eleven Disciples

The eleven disciples prayed all night to the Lord to find a replacement for the traitor Judas. We read in the Book of Acts.

Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the hearts of all. Show us which one of these two you have chosen to assume the task of this service and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” Then they cast lots for them, and the one chosen was Matthias; so he was counted with the eleven apostles (Acts 1:24-26 NET).

They prayed intensely to find a replacement for Judas.

The Early Church

We are told that the leaders of the early church were devoted to prayer. In fact, they chose certain men to take care of the daily running of the church so they could spend more time in prayer. We read.

My friends, choose seven men who are respected and wise and filled with God’s Spirit. We will put them in charge of these things (Acts 6:3 CEV).

The early church realized the need to pray. It was an important part of their lifestyle as believers in Christ.

Jesus Was A Man Of Prayer

Finally, we find that prayer was an important part of the experience of the Lord Jesus. We are told that He spent the entire night in prayer. The Bible says.

Now during those days he went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12 NRSV).

The Transfiguration of Jesus occurred while He was praying. This is recorded for us in Luke’s gospel. It says.

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white (Luke 9:28-29 ESV).

The writer to the Hebrews spoke of the prayers of the Lord. He emphasized the importance of prayer in His life and ministry.

During his earthly life Christ offered both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his devotion (Hebrews 5:7 NET).

If He felt the need to pray, the so should we. He is our example.

Therefore, we find the main characters in Scripture, along with many others, were those who practiced prayer.

Summary To Question 4 Why Should We Pray?

We should indeed pray to the Lord. There are a number of reasons as to why this is so. First, prayer is something that the Bible commands believers to do. To be obedient to the commands of God, believers should spend time talking to Him.

In addition, as we search the pages of Scripture we find godly men and women engaged in prayer. These include Moses, Joshua, Hannah, David, Anna, Peter and Paul, the Eleven disciples, and the early church. Scripture records all of them were engaged in prayer.

Finally, we note that the Lord Jesus was also a man of prayer. He thought it was important to take the time out to pray. We should do likewise.

This question is from my forthcoming book titled “Prayer”

ABOUT DON STEWART

Don Stewart is an internationally recognized Christian apologist and speaker. He graduated cum laude from Talbot Theological Seminary and the International Seminar in Theology and Law in Strasbourg, France, as well as from Biola University. Don is also a best-selling and award-winning author/co-author of over seventy books. [ read more ]

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