Every religion practices some form of prayer, and so do some atheists! Prayer acknowledges a higher authority and almost always reflects an understanding of worship.
Some people pray daily, others pray when there is sickness or trouble. There is a deep desire to pray when faced with times of crisis. For some however, the motivation is not a crisis.
For several millennia, people have cried out to various gods for help and blessing, yet only one God has ever responded to those cries. That God, has often made a mockery of idols of wood, stone or other materials that cannot hear, speak or answer. Out of tradition or ignorance, those people have continued to pray to man-made gods in hope that it does some good. The living God does hear, speak and answer, and has revealed Himself to the world.
The Creator of heaven and earth and all that exists has revealed Himself through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, second person of the eternal Godhead. This God offers everyone a way to deal with sin and despair through a relationship with Him that acknowledges their need and grants full forgiveness. Through the wisdom of the written guide, the Bible, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, third person of the Godhead, a follower of Jesus Christ desires to converse with his or her Lord and Savior. This God converses with His followers through prayer.
Why do I have to pray? Why doesn’t He provide the answer without my having to ask Him? God has given us a free choice; to ask or not ask, to believe or not believe. Speaking through the apostle James, God said, “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” So prayer with God builds a relationship that steadily grows stronger as individuals ask and receive God's response.
“…one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.”’” If it was important for Jesus to teach us how to pray, then prayer must be important. Since the Lord’s prayer speaks of supplying our daily needs, prayer should be offered regularly (daily).
Ezra 8:23 “So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” Prayers offered according to God’s will always receive a “yes.” The more you realize your own inability to accomplish great things for God, the more you will call upon God to do for you and those around you what you cannot do yourself.
Through prayer we get to know God better. We develop a relationship with the Lord of the universe.
John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” When we walk with God, we want what He wants. Ever since God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, God has desired to have fellowship with us. Prayer is a means of communication. Not only do we talk to God, but through prayer, He talks to us. Intimate prayer with God goes way beyond praying a shopping list of your wants. Intimate prayer takes your desire to the things He wants to do in and through you. When you pray according to His will, God delights to answer you!
Of all people, why did He need to pray? Clearly, we see all through His ministry on earth, prayer was an important and essential part of His life. We also have the example of how to pray.
We address our prayers to the Father: Jesus taught that we address our prayers to our Father in heaven. When we pray, it is as if we stand in the court of heaven in the presence of God to present our praise, worship, adoration, confession, requests and cries.
Luke 11:1-2 “…one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.”’”
We pray in the authority of Jesus Christ: The only way we can have standing in the court of heaven is by the gift of salvation granted us by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It is by the authority granted us through Jesus Christ that we approach the throne of the King of Kings. Therefore, we seal our prayers in the Name of Jesus.
Hebrews 4:14-16 “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”