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Why We Pray

Posted by undergroundchurch on June 13, 2009


Today’s Biblegateway verse is really the culmination of a question Jesus was answering:

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! – Luke 11:13

The question Jesus’ disciples asked was, “How do we pray?”  This answer was given in three parts – What we pray, How we pray and Why we pray.

This chapter is not the same as the chapter recorded in Matthew 6.  In that chapter, Jesus is teaching a massive crowd on a hillside.  Matthew 6 probably happened after Luke 11, because why would the disciples ask the question after the sermon of Matthew 6.  But I digress.

The “What we pray” part of the answer is not the answer to the question – at least not totally.  We know this part by the name – The Lord’s Prayer.  It isn’t that we are to only pray this prayer; this is more of a model prayer including components that effective prayers contain including –

  • Worship
  • Proclamation (praise)
  • Acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty
  • Asking for needs first (then wants)
  • Forgiving others and asking for forgiveness
  • Asking for strength to live as a Christian in this sinful world
  • And finally ending with praying that God’s will be done.

The answer comes after the example prayer. How are we to pray?

5Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’

 7“Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness[e] he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

 9“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

How?  Passion, Diligence, Persistence! 

Each verb in verses 9 and 10 echo the illustration of the persistent neighbor given in the story- “Ask and keep on asking”, “Seek and keep on seeking”, Knock and keep on knocking”!

How much do you want God to answer your prayer, what does it mean to you? 

Your seriousness about what you are praying for directly impacts the answer you will receive.  It’s not that God is holding back – like the illustration, He is your friend.  The believers of old had a method they called “Pressing Through”.  This really is more for the praying person’s benefit than God’s, but it really described the teaching in Luke 11. The question is, how serious are you?

How are you to pray? Like it matters!

So why pray?  If you pray the “What” way, with the passion of the “How” manner, then you are doing it because you understand “Why” we even pray.

God loves you more than any person on earth can even dream of loving you.  We pray, not to get our prayers answered, but to touch the heart of  a God that did everything He could do without violating your free will to show you that He loves you.

We pray because we want to have a relationship with the creator of the universe that cares enough to know the very number of the hairs on your head like it matters.  He took your place so that you could return to Him.  He made a way back to Him where there was no way. 

Could there possibly be a better reason to pray?

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One Response to “Why We Pray”

  1. Thanks for the reminder to “press in”. Christianity is all about relationship with God. I am reminded of how my children never ask just one for something they really want. We are God’s children, ask often. God, like any good father, will let you know emphatically if your request is not in your best interest.
    Thank you and keep on praying, Glenn

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