Why Pray?

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Every month we offer a message of hope to encourage and inspire.

why pray?

By Philip Yancey

Jesus saw like no one else the anguish and injustice, the terror, of this planet. Shouldn’t such awareness have filled his every waking hour and robbed him of sleep at night? Shouldn’t it have shaken his very soul?

No, Jesus left the global concerns in the care of his Father and spent his time instead among nobodies: tax collectors, fishermen, widows, prostitutes, outcasts. Speaking to the father – praying – notes Helmut Thielicke, was more important to Jesus than speaking to crowds. “And that’s why he has time for persons, for all time is in the hands of his Father. And that too is why peace and not unrest goes out from him. For God’s faithfulness already spans the world like a rainbow: he does not need to build it; He needs only to walk beneath it.”

Those of us who follow Jesus also believe that God’s faithfulness spans the world like a rainbow, with Jesus himself offering one of the best proofs of that faithfulness. Times will come that test such belief to the limit. When I face those times, I cry a prayer of desperation, a thrust in the dark and hopes of regaining trust in the big picture, a renewed glimpse of God’s point of view. And when things are going well, ironically, I have to work even harder to keep the conversation going, to believe that God cares about the details of my life.

I pray in astonished belief that God desires an ongoing relationship.

I pray in trust that the act of prayer is God’s designated way of closing the vast gulf between infinity and me.

I pray in order to put myself in the stream of God’s healing work on earth.

I pray as I breathe – because I can’t help it.

Prayer is hardly a perfect form of communication, for I, an imperfect, material being who lives on an imperfect, material planet am reaching out for a perfect, spiritual Being. Some prayers go unanswered, a sense of God’s presence ebbs and flows, and often I sense more mystery than resolution. Nevertheless I keep at it, believing with Paul that “now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”

Yancey, P. (2016, February 9). Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? (Reprint). Zondervan.

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