Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

Why Pray?

1 John 3:1-3 – See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

THEME OF THE DAY. WHY PRAY? It is a question I ponder often. It is a good question for each us. Why do we pray? There are multiple reasons. Some have valid Biblical support. Some may not. In the simplest of reasons, we pray because God commands us to pray. Obedience is the high mark of identification in the believer. Those who truly believe the Gospel and have been changed by Christ will obey Him, not perfectly, but sincerely, willingly, intentionally, and consistently. We find all throughout the Bible the distinguishing characteristic in a Christian is a life of progressive and delightful obedience to the Word of God out of love for the God of the Word. So, we pray because we are commanded to pray. There are other reasons. We want God to do something in our lives or situations; we need help beyond ourselves; and we ask Him to intervene in the lives of those we care about for things like salvation and healing.

Yet, a true understanding of prayer goes beyond those reasons. Prayer is primarily about knowing God. Not about Him, but Him. All our times of studying the Bible, reading good spiritual books, and faithfully sitting under the preached Word are means to know God and when the hunger to know God is present, prayer becomes life’s passion, pursuit and practice. One of the great pastors/preachers of the 20th century, D. M. Lloyd-Jones summarized this truth well. He wrote, “The ultimate test of my understanding of the scriptural teaching is the amount of time I spend in prayer. As theology is ultimately the knowledge of God, the more theology I know, the more it should drive me to seek to know God. Not to know “about” Him but to know Him! The whole object of salvation is to bring me to knowledge of God. If all my knowledge does not lead me to prayer, there is something wrong somewhere.” Notice what the “Doctor” is telling us – all knowledge we gain in scripture is to lead us to the pursuit of knowing God through prayer. This demands self-examination; “Is it true of us? Is the truth we read of and hear wooing us to want to know God more and that through prayer?” I believe every one of us, including me, would say, “Jim, I really want to know God. I want to be a person of intimate prayer, but I struggle in this area. Prayer is hard and too often mechanical with vain words of repetition.” Well, let me share a motivator from today’s scripture to help us in the pursuit of knowing God through prayer. This one thing keeps prayer for what it is – the means to know, enjoy, and love God. Here is the motivator . . .

See prayer as “family talk” with a God who so loves us that He wants our attention in prayer. Go back up to today’s scripture and circle or underline the “family words” John uses. There are two with one repeated twice. If we go from saying we have a relationship with God as Father to experiencing that relationship in prayer, we are getting closer to a life of Biblical Christianity lived out. It is so easy to tell people, unbelievers and believers alike, that Christianity is a relationship with God, but it is a whole different story for that to be a daily reality. For instance, if I told you, “I have a relationship with God as my Father through His Son, Jesus Christ” and you lived with me for a week, 24/7, would you see that lived out and primarily through prayer? Our saying and our living are often too far apart. But if we learn to see prayer as the opportunity for time with our Father, and our Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus, we won’t neglect it, ignore it, or reduce it down to something we do over meals or in hard spots in our lives.

Why pray? We are commanded, but far more . . . we get to; we get to have “family time” with God and that changes everything about prayer.

PRAYER: “Lord, may I see prayer for what it truly is – the means to get close to You.”

QUOTE: “Prayer, if properly understand, will become a discipline of delight in our lives never neglected”