Bible Study

What is prayer, and why should we pray?

Press into the wonder and privilege of talking with God.

Hilary Foye · 4 min read

Knowing that God in heaven is our Father should “increase our wonder, joy, and sense of privilege at being his children and being given the ‘hotline’ of prayer for communication with him.” For though he is “Lord of the worlds … we always have his full attention whenever we call on him. Marvelous! But have we really taken it in?” (J. I. Packer)

Spending time with God in prayer is one of the most exciting privileges we have as believers. Yet so many people are still confused about what prayer is, and wonder why they should do it.

So, what is prayer?

Prayer is communication with God. We do this by praising Him, confessing our sin before Him, thanking Him and asking Him for our needs and desires.

Prayer is communion with our Creator. When we pray, we engage in loving fellowship with the Maker of heaven and earth. He has graciously invited us into a close covenant relationship with Him through the person and work of Christ.

Prayer is central to the Christian life. Christians are commanded to pray “continually” (1 Thess 5:17) as we seek God and grow in intimacy with Him.

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Why should we pray?

If you’re finding it hard to grasp the importance of prayer, here are ten powerful reasons to persevere!

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  1. God calls us to pray

...‘in every situation’ (Phil 4:6), ‘without ceasing’ (1 Thess 5:17) and without giving up (Luke 18:1). Your heavenly Father wants you to talk to Him - regularly, continually and persistently.

Will you answer His loving call today?

2. Jesus prioritized prayer

Jesus made communion with God the first priority in His life. His approach to prayer was intentional and disciplined. He often rose early and went to a quiet place where He could focus on His Father (Mark 1:35-38).

If the Son of God prioritized His need for prayer, how much more should we?

3. Our heavenly Father rewards us when we pray

The Father gives good gifts to those who ask Him (Matt 7:11). One of the 'good gifts' of prayer is that it changes us and what we ask for. Prayer that longs to know the Giver more than His generous gifts will move us to ask for what is best for us.

Will you prayerfully pursue the great reward of seeking His will above your way?

4. Prayer strengthens us against temptation

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus told His disciples to, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Matt 26:41). Even so, the disciples fell asleep. Yes, prayer can be hard work; it can even be a struggle. But it is also a sure way to withstand temptation.

Even when you feel weak, will you pray for strength to stand firm in Christ?

5. God uses our prayers to accomplish His will

Through prayer, God allows us to be involved in His work that will go on forever. When we pray, we participate in God’s will being accomplished “on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:9-10). What an awe-inspiring privilege!

Do you believe God brings about great change in response to your prayers?

6. Prayer is powerful and effective

Prayer has “great power as it is working” (Jas 5:16, ESV). Christ, who dwells in our hearts through faith (Eph 6:17), empowers us to live for Him as we commune with Him. We are revived from the inside out as we become increasingly confident in the effective outworking of our relationship with God.

Are you convinced enough of God’s power to pray with confidence?

7. Prayer gives God glory

“Help us, God our Savior, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake” (Ps 79:9). God always hears the prayers of His children and answers with what we need at the right time. When ordinary people wholly depend on an extraordinary God, He gets all the glory!

When you see prayers answered, will you lift your eyes and heart heavenward to wonder at God’s glorious will and ways?

8. Prayer helps us receive and give forgiveness

Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Luke 11:4, NIV). When we humbly confess our failings before the Lord, He promises to forgive and cleanse us completely. Receiving such astounding, undeserved forgiveness frees us to do the same for others.

Do you know the power of God’s forgiveness in your prayer life? Will you pour out the same grace to those who have wronged you?

9. Prayer reveals the sufficiency of God’s grace

As the apostle Paul pleaded for deliverance from his ‘thorn in the flesh,’ God responded with all-sufficient grace (2 Cor 12:8-9). As we pray for release from our suffering, we can rest assured His power will be made perfect in us as we depend on Him.

Will you pray that your pain will propel you away from self-reliance and deeper into His grace?

10. Prayer keeps us thankful

Prayer is a way we can pause and praise God for every blessing He showers upon us. As we look back, we bless Him for His faithfulness. In our present, we praise Him for His salvation and loving-kindness. Looking ahead, we thank Him that one day He will present us “before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 1:24-25, NIV).

How will you thank God for His goodness in your past, present and future?