Prayer 101: Why Pray?

“…as you help us by means of your prayers for us. So it will be that the many prayers for us will be answered, and God will bless us; and many will raise their voices to him in thanksgiving for us.” (2 Corinthians 1:11, Good News Translation).

Several weeks ago, I was asked the question, “Does it matter if I pray when others are already praying?” Much of the time, when I get these kinds of questions, it is from someone searching for an argument they can use when attempting to defend their agnostic or atheist point of view. That was not the case on this day. He continued, “And if it does matter, if it does motivate God to action then isn’t this all popularity contest?”

The person I was talking to really wanted to know, if someone is already praying for “Joe,” what difference does it make if I pray as well? They are not an atheist or an agnostic. I have known this person all his life. I know this man is not an atheist or agnostic. He just wanted the answer to this question.

Prayer, no matter how many people are praying in a given situation absolutely makes a difference. I don’t have all the answers to prayer questions. But I can talk about what I do know.

First, I know God desires for us to pray. I see this one much like the church fellowship dinner. How do we fellowship with God? We, me and God, sit and we pray. That is why we often ask God to bless our fellowship together. Our fellowship should always include God.

Next, when we pray we invite God to join us in the relationship we have with another person. For whatever the reason, be it health or a strained relationship, there is more involved than you can do, so you ask God to enter into this relationship between you and someone else.

We often pray for people we don’t know. Most of you know, I have a new granddaughter. Sydney was born, came home from the hospital and in less than 48 hours, she was back in the hospital and spent more than a month in NICU. There were people all over praying for that little girl. I have clergy friends in various parts of the world, many of whom I barely know, who were praying for our little girl. Sydney is doing much better. She still isn’t where doctors would like for her to be but she is improving at home. If we didn’t have so many people praying, would God have healed her? My answer is a resounding yes but I would invite you to check in tomorrow and I will talk about the ways God heals us.

So doesn’t that take us back full circle to where we are back to asking the question does God treat things differently when more people pray?

Today’s lesson does speak to this idea of more people praying. Let me repeat this again. “…as you help us by means of your prayers for us. So it will be that the many prayers for us will be answered, and God will bless us; and many will raise their voices to him in thanksgiving for us.”

When we pray, many of us join in one accord, Paul says we celebrate together. We give God the glory together. We unite in support during times of grief. Even when our prayer seems to go unanswered, God is sill with us. God still walks with us. And, I say this often and will continue to say it, where God is there is always hope.

Another consideration is, prayer changes things. As we pray situations change. As I pray about a relationship that is strained, God is at work but one of the ways God is at work is to open my eyes to the wrongs I am doing and where I need to repent and change. If both people involved repent and change we could find ourselves well on the road to reconciliation and restoration. God is doing it but God is doing it by working on both of us. Prayer changes things.

I don’t claim to know it all, but I do know this. Prayer works because God is in every situation where we call on the power of God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Seeking the Genuine,

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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