Today is the National Day of Prayer. Our school celebrated it by devoting an hour this morning to praying for our country, for our schools and churches, our families and friends. It was a sweet time.
But why do we pray? Why should we pray? And does it really make a difference?
Books have been written on this. But not here. I will give you some of my thoughts, though:
- Prayer is mentioned around 400 times in the Bible. 400. Theologians have debates and conferences and councils on words that are only in there two or three times. Sometimes over words that aren’t even in there at all. 400 is like God using all caps in an e-mail, yelling at us to LISTEN UP, GUYS! THIS IS IMPORTANT.
- Prayer is a gift, a privilege. The Creator of the Universe wants to listen to us. I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around that. God wants to listen to me? And I blow him off so I can sleep a little later? Really?
- Prayer gives me strength and focus and peace. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat down to pray in the mornings, frustrated or discouraged or just not caring about anything. But when I get up, I am renewed, filled with a “peace that passes all understanding.” No, there’s nothing magical about the act of prayer. But there is joy in acknowledging that someone far greater than I am is in control. There is freedom in surrendering my struggles to Him.
- Prayer allows us to see God work. My mother-in-law challenged me to pray specifically when I was pregnant with my first child. Until then, my prayers were mostly generic, “God bless (fill-in-the-blank)” kind of prayers. How can you ever tell if that prayer is answered? Now, I could fill a book with stories about how God answered specific, sometimes seemingly silly, sometimes impossible prayers that only He could accomplish.
- Prayer is far more than just asking for what we or others need. In prayer, we praise God, we worship God. Sometimes, I just sit silently. Other times, I think about a verse or a Psalm that talks about who God is, how Great He is, how worthy He is of our praise. In prayer, we humble ourselves before God, reminding ourselves of who He is and whose we are.
There’s so much more that could – and should — be said on this topic. But the bottom line is — don’t just read about prayer. Do it! “Pray without ceasing” means that there is never a wrong time to pray. So go ahead! What are you waiting for?