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The Reason for Prayer

Categories Theology Systematic Theology

One of the ways God allows his creation to stay involved with him is through prayer. Prayer, which is personal communication from us to God, not only helps us know about God but also helps us truly know God. Through prayer we can communicate our requests to God, confess our sins to God, and give adoration, praise, and thanksgiving to God.

God does not want us to pray so that he can find out what we need, for Jesus said, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:8). Instead, God wants us to pray so that our dependence on him can increase. When we come to him in prayer about something, we express a trust in him, a trust that he will hear and answer our prayers. That is why Jesus compares our prayers to a child asking his father for a fish or an egg (Luke 11:9 – 12). As a child trusts and expects his father to provide for him, so we ought to expect, in faith, that God will provide for us. That is why Jesus said, “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matt. 21:22).

God does not just desire that our trust in him will grow through prayer; he also desires that our love for him and our relationship with him will deepen and grow. When we truly pray, we pray with the wholeness of our character, relating to the wholeness of his character. Therefore, what we think and feel about God will come through in our prayers. This will, in turn, deepen our love and understanding of God and, in the end, deepen our relationship with him. This is something that God delights in. It is also something that brings him glory.

Finally, God wants us to pray because it allows us to be a part of a story that is greater than our own. It allows us to be involved in activities that have eternal significance. When we pray, God’s kingdom is advanced as his will is done “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).

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