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Why do People Pray?

How and When to Pray

Is God really there?

W. Graham Scroggie said, "A prayerful life is always a powerful life; and a prayer-less life is always a powerless life." There is a reason for this: When you pray, you are having a conversation with God. God is, amongst other things, all powerful.

When you pray, God is not just there, he is Here, right now, with you and with me. So the question is, do you want an all powerful friend who puts your best interests foremost, or not. If so, then you need to pray to tell him what you want.

Why do we Pray?

We pray because God wants to hear from us and he wants to be involved with us. He wants to be our God and for us to be his people. He says this in the Bible, many times. Hebrews 8:10. He wants this because he knows we need his support to be righteous and to behave well. To make this happen, he puts his spirit in us, he works through us and he responds to our prayers.

Being all powerful, he could just fix what needs fixing because he already knows what we want, but more than anything he wants our involvement so he does it this way. I hope you're following me here. What I'm saying is that he will hear and answer our prayers.

Is God's spirit in you?

While time periods of good feeling are often evidence of the Holy Spirit there are other indications of His presence: Our behaviour: Scott Hubbard describes these behaviours as: Love: we forget ourselves in the interest of others; peace by accepting the blame; patience by being slow to anger even in the face of provocation; kindness to others; goodness by looking for ways to be helpful; faithfulness, gentleness and finally self control in that we avoid excess of food, alcohol, sex and caffeine: We strive to say no to physical cravings. The Holy Spirit in us will help us with all of these.

Because we are human and weak, achieving perfection is not really possible for us. But we can strive toward it and surprisingly, we will find that as we strive the Holy Spirit will kick in with an assist. As a result of His presence we feel more and more content and satisfied.             

Sometimes people pray and nothing happens.

In the Bible, Jesus often talks about what it takes to get your prayers answered. For example in Luke 8:50, a man whose twelve year old daughter is dying comes to Jesus for help. While they talk, messengers arrive to say the daughter has died. Jesus turns to the man and says, "Fear not, believe only, and she shall be made whole." In Mark 9:23, Jesus says, "all things are possible to him that believeth." In Matthew 17:19-20, the disciples of Jesus ask him why they were unable to heal a particularly sick child. Jesus replies, "Because of your unbelief:"

When you pray,

the more connected to God and the stronger your faith at the time, the more likely you are to get your prayers answered. If something scary is happening in your life and you pray for God's help, read some scripture that you like or that is relevant to your situation. Then pray as if God is already working on your issue. Let your fears slip away, re-read Romans 8:31: "If God be for us, who can be against us."             
These are the quoted words of Jesus Christ, written in the Bible by Luke and John and Matthew. If you are praying for something and God doesn't answer, it may mean that you are not enough in touch with God. The Bible repeats this instruction over and over again. In James 4:8, "Come near to God and he will come near to you." To get there you have to have courage and you have to be willing to pay attention. When you reach out to God through prayer and Bible reading he will become more interested in answering your prayers. The Bible isn't like other books where you have to start at the beginning. Try reading the book of John first. Get closer to God and he will come closer to you.

Other reasons your prayers don't get answered could include asking for the wrong reasons. In James 4:3, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Some prayers God will just ignore.

Hearing God when He Answers

In order to hear God when he answers, you have to pay attention. Most often, there are no announcements, proclamations or trumpets to tell you that God is answering. You pray and you carry on to other things. Then, at some later point, again if you are paying attention, you will notice that the situation you prayed about has been resolved or modified. Chances are good it will have turned out the way you wanted it to. Often when God answers our prayers, we will wonder if He intervened or if we just got lucky: If you are a practicing Christian, you will start to notice that you are getting lucky a lot of the time. At some point you may realize that nobody can be that lucky. The other thing that happens is that, inexplicably, you will somehow feel his intervening presence at about the time the changes happen.

Hearing God when He speaks

Sometimes God speaks to us when we are not praying for anything. Some have heard his audible voice; sometimes he will give us a clear message in a dream; he may give us an awareness of something that is about to happen, to the point that we know beyond any doubt that it will happen before it happens or He may alter our emotions in an inexplicable way. God has the ability to speak to us any way he wants.

Prayer is our communication with God. If you still think that your prayer is just words that you are putting out there because you can, think again. If you were talking to your parent or your spouse or your friend, most likely you would be getting an immediate response. It would be an interactive event where first one speaks and then the other. Our conversations with God are different in that we speak in prayer and then we wait for God to speak. The end result is that the answer happens: Sometimes it takes longer, it may not be what we expect, it may have a miraculous component and it may or may not be accompanied by that personal awareness of God's presence that catches us by surprise. Sometimes God's answer is no.

Why didn't anybody ever tell me this? Maybe they did tell me but I wasn't ready to hear it. Connecting to God is a very personal experience: We have to be ready for it in order to let it happen. One problem with this is if we don't get on board we might miss the train. This is not a train you want to miss.

You can ask God for things through prayer. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Phil: 4:6. Most often your prayers will be answered. Maybe not right away and maybe not exactly what you asked for but a response just the same. If you are praying and getting nothing back it's likely because you are asking for something that doesn't fit His purpose or possibly because he doesn't know you.

You can get to know God

and vice versa through prayer, bible reading and faith in Him by reaching out to Him: Adult baptism is a good way however if you're not ready for this you can commit to Him in prayer: The Lord's Prayer is good and so is telling Him, in prayer, that you believe in Jesus, in His death and resurrection and in His presence within us today. Jesus is so willing to meet with us today that in Revelation 3:20, he says, "Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me."

I believe that

God has a plan for each of us.

If we work with Him, he will work with us to see this plan unfold. In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, "For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." I believe that the stronger your bond with Jesus Christ, the more your prayers will get answered positively. Jesus died and was resurrected and has been living with us since then.

Given His close presence,

He is not difficult to connect to,

especially since He wants to be connected to each of us. James 4:8 says, "Come near to God and he will come near to you."

So how do we pray?

In 1st Thessalonians 5:17 Paul says "Pray without ceasing." About this Charles Price says, . . .  in the whole of our life-no matter what we are doing or who we are with, our constant connection with God becomes second nature." In this manner talking with God becomes our contact with Him. As we maintain this we can reinforce it with small sections of scripture that we have memorized. For example, Isaiah 26:3, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."

Moments of doubt If you were raised as a Christian and have been strong in your faith ever since, perhaps you never have moments of doubt. For the rest of us I think that this is unlikely. Here's the thing, though: If you are praying regularly, reading the Bible some and paying attention to God, your moments of doubt will be short lived. God is active in our lives if we seek him and if we are paying attention we know that He is here.

So now again we can ask,

Why do People Pray?

The answer is for lots of reasons that include asking God to help us not over indulge. God gave us bodies that get pleasure from many things including eating, drinking and sex but he has expectations of us to do all in moderation. Ephesians 5:18, says," And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit."

And so we pray for many things including help from the Holy Spirit to live lives of moderation. For many if not all of us, controlling our consumption of alcohol, sex and food is challenging without God's help. The quote above is telling us to pray for and receive the strength of the Spirit to provide us with self control. When we ask the Holy Spirit for this it will be provided.


Why do some people Deny God

Any Christian knows people who deny God. They may or may not say they are Christians but they do not have faith or understand what it means to have the Holy Spirit in them. Why does this happen?  Many reasons but in some cases, historically, God has hardened the hearts of some people so that they could not know him. The Egyptian Pharaoh in the time of Moses had his heart hardened by God. Exodus 9:12,"And the Lord Hardened the heart of Pharaoh." Presumably God did this because of previous negative behavior from Pharaoh. In Romans 11:8 God hardens the hearts of Jews to not recognize Jesus as his Son. Creating ears that cannot hear, eyes that cannot see and minds that cannot understand is something that God does to people, I believe because either he loses patience with their refusal to acknowledge him or because he is tired of their poor behavior. To read more on how Christians should behave, Click Here

Is God doing the same thing today with people who resist his presence? With Pharaoh, there were so many drastic things that happened to the Egyptians it is almost unbelievable that Pharaoh did not become a Christian. This makes it entirely believable that God had hardened his heart. In the time of the crucifixion of Jesus the same can be said. Jesus was healing the sick, bringing the dead back to life and doing many other miracles and yet many of the stoical Jewish population of the day crucified him.

Given all of this, it is easy to believe that for whatever reason God is hardening the hearts of modern day people, causing them to not recognize him. There are also other reasons for denying God. One is Ego driven because accepting God involves acknowledging dependence. It also involves giving up immorality and decadence. Thank god then that those of us that recognize God today do so but that doesn't help all the rest who are left out the cold.

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