“Why pray? A lot of people struggle with prayer because we think prayer is about getting God to do what we want or give us what we need. And then when we pray and God doesn’t answer, or bad things happen to us we become disillusioned and crushed.So in order to get it straight about why we should pray, we need to get it straight about who God is. Before we have the words, we need to have the image of God in our head. This is one good reason why the Bible and prayer go so well together – because as we remember who God is, we are more able to talk naturally with God.Let me explain. For example, if I view God as a grumpy Zeus character, hard to predict or understand, randomly hurling thunderbolts at me, then I will struggle to be honest in prayer and see it as pointless.If I’m be honest here – I’ve had ME for twenty years, and for the last seven it’s been so severe that I need to be in bed 21 hours a day. I’m a prisoner in my body. And sometimes it really does feel like God is a bit like Zeus, just out to get you. Because that’s what suffering does – it turns your world and your thinking upside down.But if I take the time to picture God as a loving, perfect parent, a good father, a mother hen – that gives me the courage to begin to trust God again, and talk to God as a friend. My little boy sometimes rails against me, ‘why can’t I stay up to finish my book?’, or rails against the injustices of the world – ‘why are people so mean?’, and all I can do is hug him and say, “I know – it’s really hard. And I can’t give you all the answers you want, you don’t understand right now, but one day you will. So in the meantime, you need to trust that I love you.”So if we’re asking the question, ‘why pray?’ like, ‘what’s in it for me?’ it’s the wrong starting place.Prayer is communication with God, so the correct starting place is holding that picture of God – the intelligent, fun, creator of all beauty, loving parent of all people, the best friend you could have, and the one who holds the secrets of the universe. And, if you’re holding that picture in your head, why on earth wouldn’t you want to pray and communicate with this God?”
- Over to you:
How would you answer the question, ‘Why Pray’?