The short answer is “YES”. Prayers help; prayers matter. Therefore, pray more! Shield-Bearer’s Prayer Warriors gather every Monday morning at 8 AM. We would love to have you join or submit your prayer requests.
Now if you’re a ruminator or just not convinced and want to explore the idea of prayer, keep reading.
If God cared about us, why would He need us to ask for anything before He gave it to us? Is prayer just to make us feel good or does it serve another purpose?
Have you ever asked yourself what prayer is to you? If prayer is going to “mean something,” then it should “do something.”
Questions concerning prayer are theologically deep considerations to meditate upon. If God is the creator of all and in control of all things, what is the purpose of prayer? In a way, it seems unnecessary. However, there are many times when the Bible teaches us that prayer makes a difference, and it clearly teaches that God wants us to pray. But why?
For the sake of word count, let’s assume God is the creator. “Nothing at all would exist without God” is a very true statement. However, it is not the same thing as saying that God is “in control” of everything or that everything that happens is a “part of God’s plan.” There is an important distinction between these statements.
God created a universe that functions according to “laws of nature” – like the rules of physics: “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” So, while God is all-powerful and the source of all – He created the universe to operate somewhat independently of Himself. Because of the natural laws God established in the beginning, things happen predictably. Throw a ball up and it comes down. Fire requires fuel and oxygen. Sunlight and water are necessary for plants to grow. God is in control insomuch that He is the source and creator of all things and by His divine design His creation operates by the rules He established.
C.S. Lewis gives the example of asking whether any of us would leave the house in a rainstorm without an umbrella under the idea that “If God doesn’t want me to get wet, he won’t let the rain fall where I am.” This wouldn’t make sense at all, because we understand the rules God has set for the universe he has created. We understand that if the wind blows a tree over onto our house there will be damage, but that God didn’t blow the wind. The wind blows due to the natural laws of science. We understand that if a baseball is hit into the stands and strikes a bystander that the ball reacted to the impact of the bat and flew in the trajectory following the rules of physics and God did not necessarily direct the ball to hit the unsuspecting target.
God is certainly the primary cause of the universe, but He created a universe full of rules based on things like physics, biology, and chemistry. God is not directly the cause of a campfire or a wildfire because those things simply follow the rules God initially established.
Within this universe that operates under particular sets of rules, God has also filled it with beings operating with free will. God has created us to be free to act. Therefore, we have evil people or those who behave badly or make bad decisions. It is also why we have healers, and helpers, and positive change-makers. Unlike the fire that burns or the ball thrown into the air, our free will decisions can be much more unpredictable.
Now, let’s return to the act of prayer. All Christians go through their day counting on God’s care while simultaneously making choices that make a difference in the world. Prayer is one of the ways in which we cooperate with God’s will. In the same way your choice to give to a person in need is one way you can cooperate with God’s will to care for the poor, your decision to pray for a person is another.
The answer to prayer is not the point of prayer. The point is the process of prayer. When we pray, we are participating in God’s will. It is a gift He gives us. What could be more consequential and significant than to be invited by God the creator than to assist in bringing about His will on earth?
I heard an analogy once of a grandmother who was known for a particular cake she prepared for every family gathering and special occasion. This cake was loved by all members of the family. The grandmother had baked it so many times that there was no recipe, and she could put it together with ease. Well, one day, the grandmother’s precocious seven year old granddaughter climbed up on the kitchen counter and said, “Can I help?” What do you think the grandmother said?
With great love and tenderness, she replied, “Of course, you can help.”
The grandmother didn’t need any help, in fact, the “help” of the seven year old was sure to cause a mess, slow the grandmother down, and certainly end up being an added burden. But the grandmother chose to share her knowledge and the experience of creating such joy for the family with her granddaughter. She allows the young girl to share the gift of creation.
When we pray, God allows us to work with Him as He works His will on earth. We are drawn into an intimate relationship with Him. Not only do we participate in changing the world, for the better, through this participation, we have the opportunity to be changed as well. Prayer not only acts to transform the world into alignment with God’s will it transforms you as well.
We welcome you to join us at our weekly Prayer Warrior Meeting – every Monday at 8 AM at our Jones Road location.