“And He was giving them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not faint” (Luke 18:1).
At all times, we ought to pray.
She knew I was praying for a certain family member who seems forever in some kind of predicament. She asked, “Why do you pray? I don’t see it doing any good.”
When I caught my breath–I could not believe a Christian asking such a question–I said, “Ask me why I breathe air. It’s what I do to live.”
She did not let me off that easily. “Do you really think God is going to do what you ask? Is that why you pray?”
By now, I had settled down enough to try to verbalize a reasonable answer.
“That’s not up to me. How He chooses to answer my prayer is His business.”
“My job is to pray. To ask, intercede, to speak in faith about what someone else needs. And so I ask for it.”
“How He answers is strictly up to Him. Or whether He even answers at all.”
Her question will not leave me alone. I imagine everyone who prays regularly–and keeps it up over the years, through good times and bad–has to answer this for themselves repeatedly, as well as for friends and skeptics alike.
It’s not as simple as it sounds. “Why pray?”
I certainly do not get all my prayers answered.
Just yesterday in the restaurant, a waitress whom I barely know thanked me for praying for her a year or more ago. “I’ve been meaning to thank you,” she said. “Things worked out all right. And I’m so grateful for your prayers.”
Oh my. Did I pray for her? Surely, I must have. Were my prayers determinative? (That is, did they make the difference?) God knows.
Some of my prayers the Lord answers with a solid “yes.” But “no” is the answer some of the time. Others He answers later and in such unexpected ways that I may not even recognize that this was His answer to my request.
I said to my friend, “I am perfectly fine with Him answering my prayers for my loved ones forty years from now, long after I’m in Heaven.”
“But yes, I believe He will.”
Why do I pray? There must be a thousand reasons. Here are the first 20 of my answers…
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