Why do we pray? A fairly simple question, but not one that is always easily answered. I think we sometimes allow prayer to fall into a category of things we do habitually like turning the lights out, locking the doors, and brushing our teeth before bed.
I’m one of those people that gets rather annoyed when people say, “Hey! How are you?” and then walk away without giving you the chance to answer. I get annoyed because it doesn’t seem like a question of honestly caring how I’m doing, but more of a habitual question that has very little meaning or sincerity. We need to be sure when we pray it isn’t a habitual recitation, but a conversation with heart-felt requests, listening, thanksgiving, and praise given humbly before our Lord.
Prayer is definitely something we should do, but not just for the sake of praying. Think about the word “communication” for a minute, and how humans communicate with one another. We don’t only use our words but also our tone of voice, our facial expressions, our body language, our actions, and over-all attitude.
We wouldn’t tell a friend (or at least we shouldn’t) that we’d like to do something to help them and then go have a party with someone else. We wouldn’t tell them we love them while we treat them with a lack of respect. We wouldn’t ask for help and then complain when we don’t get exactly what we want right away. We wouldn’t get together with them and not let them get a word in edgewise. We wouldn’t accept a gift without saying thank you like we meant it. We wouldn’t treat them as though they had no value. We wouldn’t say the same. Thing. Every. Day. Neither should our communication with God be this way.
It’s easy to think of prayers as a one-way communication, requests and a few thank you’s written out on paper, put in an envelope, stamped, delivered to some far-away place, and hoping we get something back one day.
Well, God hears it, but there’s not a lot of communication going on there, and there’s going to be some serious set-backs in growing in our relationship with Him if this is the only way we communicate.
Before we pray, let’s think about why we are praying, how we are praying, and how we should be praying. Don’t pray for the sake of praying, but to ask hard questions, to seek wisdom, to worship, to give thanks…and even more importantly, to hear what God has to say. Prayer is simply a part of devoting our lives to Christ by communication.
So, let’s make sure we keep the communication of prayer along with our lifestyle with real meaning—not just a habit.