Why We Pray

Adonai, in the morning You hear my voice. In the morning I order my prayer before You and watch expectantly” (Psalm 5:4).

Why do we pray? Yes, this question assumes that you pray and that you know other people who pray! Search the internet and you may find many definitions of prayer. No matter how others define prayer, it always involves God as the recipient. One may say that pray is us talking to God.

There may be no limit to why people pray and what we pray for. You may pray because you always want to be communicating with God. Or, you may pray to ask for something for yourself, or for someone else. If you are not sure how to pray, the best practice is to turn to the Bible for examples of prayers. These are some examples of what you will find:

  • Prayers for Healing – “Then Abraham prayed to God and God healed Abimelech, his wife and his female slaves so that they could bear children.” (Genesis 20:17)
  • To know God – “Now then, I pray, if I have found grace in Your eyes, show me Your ways, so that I may know You, so that I might find favor in Your sight.” (Exodus 33:13ff)
  • To be delivered from danger – “The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against Adonai and you! Pray to Adonai for us, that He may take away the snakes!” So Moses prayed for the people” (Numbers 21:7); “Deliver us from the evil one”. (Matthew 24:20)
  • To intercede for others – “I prayed to Adonai and said, ‘O Lord, Adonai, do not destroy Your people—Your inheritance that You have redeemed through Your greatness and brought out from Egypt with a mighty hand.” (Deuteronomy 9:26)
  • To praise Adonai – “Then Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in Adonai, my horn is lifted high in Adonai. I smile wide over my enemies, for I rejoice in Your salvation”” (1 Samuel 2:1); “Sanctified be your name” (Matthew 6:9).
  • For Guidance – “But the matter was displeasing in Samuel’s eyes when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to Adonai.” (1 Samuel 8:6)
  • For protection again those who seek to harm you – “Then someone told David saying, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “Adonai, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness”” (2 Samuel 15:31) 
  • For forgiveness – “But David’s heart troubled him after he had numbered the people. So David prayed to Adonai, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done! But now, Adonai, please take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly”” (2 Samuel 24:10); “Forgive us our sins” (Matthew 6:12).
  • For the land – “So Adonai was moved by prayer of entreaty for the land, and restrained the plague from Israel.” (2 Samuel 24:25b)
  • For more time – “”Go, and say to Hezekiah, thus says Adonai, the God of your father David: ‘I have heard your prayer and I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add 15 years to your life.”” (Isaiah 38:5
  • For redemption – “So he prayed to Adonai and said, “Please, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my own country? That’s what I anticipated, fleeing to Tarshish—for I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and full of kindness, and relenting over calamity.”” (Jonah 4:2)
  • For Mercy – “Going a little farther, He fell face down and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me! Yet not as I will, but as You will”” (Matthew 26:39). “Simon replied, “Pray for me, so that none of what you have said may come upon me”” (Acts 8:24)
  • To resist/escape temptation – “Keep watching and praying, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
  • For those who hate you – “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
  • For more missionaries – “Therefore pray to the Lord of the harvest that He may send out workers into His harvest field.“(Matthew 9:38)
  • For provisions/resources – “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11)
  • For discernment/wisdom – “And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, show us which of these two You have chosen“” (Acts 1:24). “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the richness of His glorious inheritance in the kedoshim[righteous]” (Ephesians 1:18).
  • To receive the Ruach ha-Kodesh (Holy Spirit) – “They came down and prayed for them to receive the Ruach ha-Kodesh.” (Acts 8:15)
  • To drive out unclean spirits – “When Yeshua saw that a crowd was gathering fast, He rebuked the unclean spirit, telling it, “I command you, deaf and mute spirit, come out of him and do not ever enter him again!” After Yeshuacame into the house, His disciples began questioning Him in private, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer.”” (Mark 9:25,28-29)
  • For spiritual unity – “I pray not on behalf of these only, but also for those who believe in Me through their message, that they all may be one. Just as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You, so also may they be one in Us, so the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21)
  • For help – “You also are helping by your prayer for us, so that from many people thanks may be given on our behalf for the gracious gift given us through the help of many.” (2 Corinthians1:11)
  • To give thanks – “I never stop giving thanks for you as I mention you in my prayers.” (Ephesians 1:16)

Whatever your prayer, pray in confidence that your prayers are never in vain. Do not be discouraged if you don’t receive an immediate answer or if the answer is not what you expect. Remember that we only know in part and our desires are not always what is best for us. But God, who is faithful “works everything for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Nothing is wasted, not even a little. In the end, our prayers remain active before God’s throne! We see this clearly in Revelation 8:4, “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the kedoshim, rose before God from the angel’s hand“.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you are able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the worldly forces of this darkness, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist when the times are evil, and after you have done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm then! Buckle the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. Strap up your feet in readiness with the Good News of shalom. Above all, take up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Ruach on every occasion, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, keep alert with perseverance and supplication for all the kedoshim. And pray for me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the Good News, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may speak boldly, the way I should.” (Ephesians 6:10-20)

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