Why Do We Pray?

by Becky Eldredge

woman with eyes raised in prayerIf the answer to our prayers will sometimes be “no,” why do we pray in the first place? I have no doubt that our lists of personal reasons are varied and numerous:

  • We believe in God.
  • We seek to deepen that relationship with God.
  • We thank and praise God for the gifts in our life.
  • We seek comfort in our suffering.
  • We ask for prayers in our need.
  • We pray for others.
  • We seek to see what gets in the way of our relationship with God.
  • We discern God’s will for us.

I wonder, though, why God wants us to pray. While I am sure many others could articulate this better than I, my own thoughts are:

  • God deeply desires a relationship with us.
  • God wants all of our lives, so much so, that our way of being with God affects all of our doing. Prayer transforms us interiorly so our outward lives reflect God.
  • God wants us to acknowledge our dependence on God. In doing so, we show our trust in God and we acknowledge our great creator, who has the power to do anything.

What are your thoughts? Why do we pray? Why does God want us to pray?

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Becky Eldredge is a writer and spiritual director in Dallas, Texas. She holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University New Orleans. She has her Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Becky has been involved in ministry for 15 years, with the majority of her work in retreat ministry and adult faith formation. While ministry is one of her passions, her greatest joy is sharing life with her husband, Chris, and her children, Brady and Abby.

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December 10, 2012

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda G December 10, 2012 at 6:56 am

God certainly doesn’t need the ego fluffing of hearing himself praised. We pray because WE need to understand our status under him. WE need to embrace our dependence on our Father. Our brain believes what we tell it (which is how positive (or negative) reinforcement works and why we have to be careful what we read and what we watch on videos and TV). When we pray we hear our words and our mind believes assimilates that and by default reinforces that praying, that dependence on God.

Prayer is the champagne of the soul.

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Linda G December 10, 2012 at 6:57 am

Oops typo, I mean “… our mind believes AND assimilates….”

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Michelle December 10, 2012 at 7:43 am

Maybe for me the question is how can I not pray. I am with CS Lewis: “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”

But as to why God wants me to pray, to me it comes down to the desire of the One who loves us to hear our voices. I keep thinking of how I feel when my oldest’s face pops up on Skype and I hear him say “Hi, Mom!”

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Linda December 10, 2012 at 10:37 am

I love this. Thank you.

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Lynda December 10, 2012 at 8:06 am

I’m also a person who can’t help myself when it comes to prayer. I talk to God all the time about all sorts of things – just like I talk to friends. God’s love continues to overwhelm me every day and I just want to thank God and involve God in all of my life. I don’t know why God would want me to pray other than God loves creation so much and wants that relationship. I’m with Michelle and although my children are older, I feel so very good when they call or especially when my grandchildren run to me in their excitement to see me and shout out, “Nana! Nana!” I believe that is how God wants us to come – with wild excitement.

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Mary Ann Peterson December 10, 2012 at 10:09 am

I believe we pray by way of the grace of the gifts of faith, hope, trust and peace that our loving God bestows on us and for me it does ‘surpass all understanding’ and yet maybe not….mystery!

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Suzanne Marie December 10, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Think your three reasons are also mine.

And,I pray because God keeps drawing me and I cannot resist.

Advent blessings to all, Suzanne

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Marg December 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm

The difference between an acquaintance and a close friend is what you say to each other. I want God to be close to me. Like the others that posted before me, I need to pray. I believe God wants to hear from me because He too wants to be my close confidant.

m.

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Deborah December 10, 2012 at 4:43 pm

One reason we do/should pray is because God commands it in His Word, so it becomes a matter of obedience.

More experientially and personally, though, I need to pray to “re-tune to the right station” in my mind and heart. The world and my responsibilities in it distract me and I lose my footing; I need a frequent rest and reset.

I think that when I pray, God stirs good things within me, and so then I can be and do more as He wishes me to. I remember that I am *His* girl, and I reflect Him more, both to myself and to those He places around me.

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Louisa Are December 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm

existentially we human beings are not just for this world. And somehow we know that there is an existence far greater than us that we need. Even non-Christians believe in a greater being. As for me, Personally this relationship exists anywhere with God, it maybe when we are happy, sad, grieving etc…the need for formal prayer, times of silence and contemplation but same time no matter how busy I am I know that I connect with God in prayer whatever I do. I need God more than He/she may need me I think

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Jean December 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm

“God wants us to acknowledge our dependence on God” – last Monday my husband and I were involved in a serious intersection collision. We, in our two door compact, were hit by a large SUV, pushed, spun, car wrecked. Fifteen inches closer to the driver’s side door and my husband would have been killed. As it was, we walked away with minor injuries.

EMS and ER docs said we were “very lucky”, I said we were “blessed, the Hand of God was upon us”. Afterwards all we could do was pray THANK YOU, over and over.

We realized that not only were we saved, but we were and are entirely dependent on God and not much else matters to the same degree.

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Deborah December 11, 2012 at 1:54 pm

That’s good news, Jean. I “Amen” your “Thank you”!

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