I can’t tell about everybody else but I’ve had to struggle with plenty of disappointments in prayer, in fact, I have felt hurt. To me it seemed there was a sort of dissonance in God because we are told that He loves us dearly but at the same time we are also being told that [by some in the church] that God can decide to punish us with sickness, poverty etc if we refuse to obey Him.
Of course I didn’t talk, but I kept it within me and I stopped praying at least in the traditional sense. I mean, why should I really pray if God was not going to answer but I did something else, I turned God into my secret keeper. I had no set times to pray, but if something happened to me or a thought [good or bad] crossed my mind, I would talk to God along these lines, “I know you know what just happened but I’m just formally telling you so that it would be on record that I told you.” Little did I know that I was praying all along.
You see, the hurt and disappointments came from me trying to use God as a talisman. I wanted a lot of things and I wanted them now no questions asked. I didn’t want God, I wanted to use the power of God to fulfill idolatrous desires. I began to pray differently and God is moving people. There’s something about moving from selfish interests to praying the will of God, your vision is enlarged and the more you pray right the more you begin to understand that you know and the more you thirst. Yeah, seems convoluted but I guess you understand what I’m saying.
So back to our question – Why should I pray?
- To fellowship with God. We are in a love relationship with God, so our prayers express our love for God and how much He means to us.
- To entrench the will of God in our spirit. The more I prayed the more a knowing settled deep within me. It was as if I just knew what to do and what not to do; at first I was wary but I stepped out in faith and I was not put to shame.
- To generate spiritual power. We are enjoined in the Bible to “build ourselves up on our most holy faith by praying in the Spirit” and another passage tells us that “The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” You see, every believer has been given authority over everything but spiritual power is built up over time by giving oneself to prayer, fasting and meditation on the Word of God.
- To train our senses and to give expression to the divine nature. God is intelligent and this attribute of God must be evident in the lives of Christians. Hebrews 5:14 [AMP] tells us that “But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.” Biblehub describes the Greek word used here to mean shrewdly sizing things up based on information gotten through sensory experience. As Christians, when we spend time with God and build up ourselves in prayer, our senses become sensitive and sometimes we need to trust our instincts, because the more time we spend with God, the more His attributes rub off us.
- To thrive in our earthly relationships. Our relationships on earth are reflections of our relationship with God; the parent – child, the husband – wife, king – subject, friend – friend even a sibling – sibling. These relationships prove whether we have an intimate relationship with God because it is impossible to truly experience God and His love and exhibit negative attitudes in earthly relationships.
- To prevent us from “falling” into temptation. Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray so as not to enter into temptation. Enter implies the person was not forced into the temptation. Prayer, like we said earlier, helps to sharpen our senses and we are able to watch and be at alert always. Rarely would temptation come and announce that, hey, I’m here and you can fall into me – no. It won’t work that way, rather it would look like something good, in fact it might be clothed in something you genuinely desire. It is important to learn to watch through prayer.
- To establish the kingdom mandate. The Bible says “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This simply means that you are exercising your legal authority as a human being (this is another topic entirely) to establish the kingdom of God on earth.
Have you experienced disappointments in the place of prayer? Or, you feel that God does not hear prayers? The truth is, God hears us. This is why we approach God in faith, the issues of life might cause us not to feel God but there is no denying the veracity of the Word.
Would you share your experience with us and how in hindsight, you see the hand of God in that unanswered prayer.