Prayer is one of the chief means of God’s grace by which our soul acknowledges a sweet (and sometimes aching) dependency on God. Prayers offered to a sovereign God are not just dust in the wind with no real weight or significance. Prayer (which is really just talking, thinking, processing with God) is utterly relational. Not pragmatic. Our desires do matter to Him. So does our pain and disappointment and heartache.
Sure, the things we need “done” for us do get “done” by God if they are according to His will, but prayer is much more than just a religious policy or a command or a way to make our lives better. Prayer acknowledges that He is Father, we are His much-loved Children, and establishes Him in our hearts as the Great Giver. Prayer creates a submission to simply receive His goodness. Prayer doesn’t change God’s mind, for His plans are eternal. Prayer changes us.
So why pray if we cannot be guaranteed He will do what we want? One, our “wants” become more aligned with the Father’s will the more He reveals to us who He really is and what He’s really like. Two, we actually ARE guaranteed that every prayer we pray that is according to His will shall be heard and acted upon. (1 John 5:14).
So why pray? Because God is pretty smart. God knows He is the very best thing for our hearts. Jesus Himself prayed. That alone is a significant sign that there is something very unique and powerful about talking to God. And we can talk to God everywhere. Anywhere. Any time. Our hearts can turn toward Him in any state we’re in. Agony, sin, lament, happiness, anger, hope, etc. He will always hear us and interact with us. And we can approach Him confidently as well-loved children of the Father. We can run right up into His lap because of Jesus. We are accepted. We are adored. We’ve been made good enough. We have His very own personal stamp of approval. We wear the right cologne so to speak. It’s called “aroma of Jesus’ sacrifice.” He likes how we smell when we come to Him empty-handed.
Why pray? Why wouldn’t we pray? God works every single thing in our lives out for our good, whether we can see it or not. He is exceptionally funny. He is always approving of us. He is never angry, disappointed or impatient. There is nothing but a pure and holy smile on His face for us at all times because the wrath has been put away.
Why pray? Because God is sovereign. Thank GOD He is. Because if He is not, we have no confidence in anything we ever ask Him for. We have no assurance that we will ever make it through any difficulty we face. If God is not sovereign, then He is left without any ability to carry out His eternal purposes in our lives. If God is not sovereign, then life is a crap shoot. We might as well talk to the ground (I’ve actually been known to do that on occasion).
Why pray? Because our very souls are aching to know that perfect Fatherly love, that eternal and heart-satisfying hug, that life-changing word of “I love you and all this stuff you’re worried about is going to be okay” that can only come through relational interaction with the Lover of our souls.