The Bible has answered the questions:
Who do we pray to and for? What do we pray? Where do we pray? And When should we pray?
God’s Word also gives us examples on why we pray. It almost seems pointless to pour our hearts out to a God that already knows everything. He knows what we need before we do, He knows what is in our hearts already. So why take the time to repeat it all for Him?
Think of it this way… you’ve just watched your child do something amazing. They are happy, they are beaming, they are full of life and what is the first thing they want to do? They want to tell you all about it. Even though they know you just saw what they did, they go in detail and tell you everything. Or think about when your child has done something wrong and knows that you already know. They stand there in guilt and shame. Now, you can mean and let them stew a bit and not say a word. Or, you can alleviate these bad feelings and let them talk about what happened and why and offer forgiveness.
Just because our Father in Heaven knows everything, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk to Him. We should be talking with Him all the more because He does know! Because He knows it all, we can say anything and share everything without walking on eggshells that we’ll let something secret slip. There is nothing secret so our relationship with the Father is only truly honest relationship we have, and we should nurture that and make it grow.
As always the verses are in no particular order and I’ve used the NLT and NKJV. My comments are in [brackets] below.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed…
[One reason why we pray is to feel forgiveness and healing. As Christians, our sins have been covered over by the blood of Jesus. We are forgiven already, but that doesn’t stop the emotional wounds and hurt caused when we sin. Those need forgiveness and healing along the way so we can move forward on the path God has set before us.]
For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
[Why do we pray? We pray for wisdom, spiritual blessings, and daily provisions. This verse promises that we will find it. The first thing is to ask God to grant these things to us. We can search His Word for answers leaving our hearts open to what we find.]
But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.”
[Zechariah prayed for a child to love and raise. We spend most of our time praying for others, but sometimes there are things outside of our reach to make happen that only God can accomplish.]
Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”
Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
[When faced with situations that are beyond our abilities or comprehension, we give it to God. The disciples couldn’t cast out the evil spirit on their own. The needed to turn to God who is all powerful. When faced with any form of evil, or an insurmountable obstacle, we should pray. Nothing is greater than our God.]
Upon hearing this, the angel of the LORD prayed this prayer. “O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, for seventy years now you have been angry with Jerusalem and the towns of Judah. How long until you again show mercy to them?”
[We pray when we see a need for God’s mercy. We may not be able to correct situations of hardships for people but we can always pray to God to show mercy on them.]
As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your Holy Temple.
[Jonah was in the belly of a big fish, dying because of his rebelliousness and disobedience against God. But this says that even as he was slipping away, God was still listening to him. If you go on to read the next few verses you would see that God listened and had the fish vomit Jonah out on shore. God is waiting to hear from us. Why do we pray? We pray when we need to repent, when we need God’s mercy, when we need to be saved and when we remember God’s love for us and want to make things right.]
Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the LORD.
[Why do we pray? It’s not all bad! We pray to praise God for all the blessings He has shown us, for all the good things that He allows to happen. We thank Him, always.]
I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy.
[It may sound selfish but there it is. We pray because the LORD actually hears us and grants us comfort and mercy and wraps us up in His love so all-encompassing that you begin to crave that extreme feeling of peace. Imagine an ocean full of peace and comfort just washing over you, wave after wave. That’s what we search for in prayer. That’s why we pray. To be blessed with a few seconds of peace and light in the midst of this chaotic dark world, it’s a teaser for what is to come to those who believe…and we want more. ]
Why do we pray?
We pray for all sorts of reasons and each time we pray it’s for a different reason. We pray because we remember our God. We pray because we need comfort or mercy. We pray because it’s the only thing we CAN do in some situations. We pray because we know He is listening. We pray because He loves us and wants us to.
The Bible is full of examples of why people pray. This is just a snapshot.
The last question is still to come…how do we pray?