Prayer is one of the most important parts of the life of a Christian (or at least it should be), as it is the method that Christians use to communicate with God. However, Christians and skeptics alike, will often wonder why prayer is needed at all since God is presented as omniscient (all-knowing) in the Bible. If God knows everything then why do we have to pray to him? (This can also bring in another question such as “If God cannot change his mind, then how can God answer prayers if he has already determined something to happen?”)
The first thing to understand is that the main reason why Christians should pray is that it is something that God tells us to devote ourselves to (Colossians 4:2) and to do so continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Even Jesus prayed, and if he does it wouldn’t that tell us that prayer is an important thing. Jesus taught his disciples to pray and gave them a model on how to properly do it (Matthew 6:9-13).
An interesting fact that I am sure all Christians would like to know is that Scripture teaches us that we will not receive certain things simply because we do not pray for them (James 4:2). God wants us to bring our desires and requests to him (Philippians 4:6-8), and Jesus tells us that persistent prayer will bring results (Luke 18:1-8). Although we must be careful here. God does hear our prayers (1 Kings 8:52; Psalms 6:9) and he will answer them, but there are times that he will do so in a way that we do not expect. God will answer our prayers according to his will and not ours. God will not give you something that is contrary to what he has determined.
This brings us to another reason why we should pray – for God’s will to be done, not because it won’t happen if we do not pray, but because we need to align ourselves with His will. This is the number one reason why we should pray – to spend time with him and grow in a relationship with him. We were created to commune with him. Our prayers are never done in vain (Matthew 6:6).
Besides all of this we are to pray for many different things (this is, of course, an incomplete list):
- To confess our sins (Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:9)
- For God’s protection (Numbers 10:35)
- For wisdom (1 Kings 3:1-15; 4:29-34)
- That God would teach us his ways and guide our hearts toward him and his will (Psalms 86:11)
- To forgive others (Matthew 6:13-15)
- For each other and for healing (James 5:16)
- God’s divine guidance (1 Samuel 14:36-41)
- To cry to God in times of suffering (Job 6:8-10)
- For physical strength (Nehemiah 6:9)
- For inner peace and righteousness (Psalms 139:23-24)
Prayer is an important part of a Christian’s life (one of the most important in fact). Although we are told to give God our requests the most important part of it all is to have a relationship with God and see things the way that he sees things, not the way that fallen humanity does.
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