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Why Pray?

What if the purpose of prayer is knowing God—not getting answers?

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Introduction

Even though we know we should pray constantly, many—if not most—of us would confess we don't pray as often as we should. But I don't want this to be just a "drive-by guilting" about prayer. Could the reason we don't pray more be that we have misunderstood the purpose of prayer?

Today I want to ask the question: "Why pray?" I know some of you are thinking that is either a ridiculous (or maybe even a sacrilegious) question. I hope you will bear with me, because part of what I want to do is challenge you to look at your motivation in praying.

Most everybody prays when they are desperate. We sometimes hear the phrase "foxhole praying," which, of course, comes from the idea that when you are pinned down in a foxhole with bullets flying all around you, almost everyone is inclined to pray. The idea is that in life we all get to some point where you realize you can't accomplish something without divine intervention, and so you go to God in prayer.

The premise I want to put forth is that, according to God's Word, our entire lives are intended to be lived with the attitude that unless God intervenes, we can't do anything. It is having an attitude of absolute dependence on God: not just in case of emergency, but at every moment. What if every single thing you do today, as a follower of Jesus Christ, was not possible without divine intervention? I'm convinced that is exactly the case. And that is the first reason we should pray.

We pray to show we always need God

If you look at what the Bible shows us about prayer, it will reveal that the heart of prayer is about recognizing—every moment of every day—that we are completely dependent on God. I want to prove this to you by taking a look at the life of Jesus. ...

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Steve Abbott is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

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