I think most of us are familiar with the Dionne Warwick Song from the 1960s called “I Say A Little Prayer for You”, the classic song about love and prayer. Now I’m not aware of the background of the song or why it was written, but I like the idea of saying a little prayer for you.
Of course, many people have no time or feel the need to pray, just like the little boy who was asked by his Sunday school teacher. “Do you say your prayers before you have dinner?” And Johnny answered, “Well, I don’t have to. My mum is a good cook.” Johnny was, in his own way, responding in the way that adults do. Why should I bother with all this prayer stuff? Why should people bother to pray?
For many people who are both religious and irreligious, this question doesn’t seem to have a satisfactory answer. They still pray when they’re desperate. I mean, who doesn’t? But even then they can’t see the sense in it. “I’ll just say a little prayer.”
If God already knows everything that’s going to happen and if he’s
already decided what He is going to do? Aren’t my prayers irrelevant? Unfortunately, many see prayer as that strange topic clothed in mystery that’s best left to the Mystics and the saints. So I think there’s a lot of confusion here about prayer. Sometimes we pray for something, and the opposite happens, and sometimes we forget to pray for something, and it does happen. Sometimes we pray for something. It does happen, and we wonder if it would have happened anyway. Yes, it can be confusing at times. And then I’ve heard people say, “well, whatever will be will be, accept your fate and get on with life.”
Why would you want to start the exercise of prayer when our future is written in the stars? And I think it’s better to come to this problem of prayer from the perspective that God created a world that was good as the first chapter of Genesis in the Old Testament says over and over. But it wasn’t complete and for the good work of creation to reach its fulfilment, God made creatures capable of interacting with Him. People. And that’s us. And here is the
amazing truth – one of the ways that we can interact with God is through prayer. Talking to the creator God. It’s a friend talking to friend and believe it or not, we were
created to function best when we align ourselves with God by believing in him and his son Jesus Christ and relying on him through prayer. And I like what C. S. Lewis says:
“God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn or the food our spirits were designed to feed on for. There is no other.”
Now that’s worth thinking about. So that really means that the quote from C. S. Lewis explains that our deepest needs and desires are met in a personal relationship with Jesus. Nothing else will satisfy.
We pray because we are God’s Children. He loves to hear from us. The Bible tells me that the Lord takes great delight in us. It says in Zephaniah 3:17 – “For the Lord Your God is living among you. He is a mighty Saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
So with that, why wouldn’t you want to delight in him and share your life with him? I want to especially say that we pray because it deepens our trust in God. Prayer changes us, and it increases our faith. To take our requests, our needs, our concerns and our hurts to the Lord in prayer brings about the
change that’s needed in us. Consider the words in the New Testament of Philippians 4:6-7:
Don’t be anxious about anything. Instead, pray about everything.
He longs to hear your request. So talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come and know that the peace of God, a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding will stand. It will watch over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. And so we pray also because it causes us to depend on God.
It reminds us that God is a creator and we are his creation. And there’s something very humbling about prayer to acknowledge that God is God and we are not. Now that’s such a positive and a healthy thing to do, because prayer limits our pride in our self reliance. It sort of adjusts our attitudes. And you’ll be amazed at the changes that you see happening in yourself.
Prayer is that muscle that grows as you use it. The more you do it, the more you know how to do it. And then the more you know how to do it,
the more you want to.
Heavenly father, I want to say a little prayer, not just for myself, but for others, my friends and those that I don’t know because it does make a difference. As I pray to you,
Lord, I know that you hear, you listen and that you answer in your own way and in your own time. Amen.