Give ear, O LORD,unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications! In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me–Psalm 86:6-7
R. A. Torrey, a former president of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, once wrote ten powerful reasons why believers should pray:
- There is a devil and prayer is the God-appointed means of resisting him.
- Prayer is God’s way for us to obtain what we need from Him.
- The apostles, whom God set forth to be a pattern for us, considered prayer to be the most important business of their lives.
- Prayer occupied a prominent place and played a very important part in the earthly life of our Lord.
- Prayer is the most important part of the present ministry of our Lord, since He is now interceding for us.
- Prayer is the means God has appointed for our receiving mercy from Him and obtaining grace to help in time of need.
- Prayer is the means of obtaining the fullness of God’s joy.
- Prayer with thanksgiving is the means of obtaining freedom from anxiety, and in anxiety’s place is peace which passes understanding.
- Prayer is the means by which we are to keep watchful and be alert at Christ’s return.
- Prayer is used by God to promote our spiritual growth, bring power into our work, lead others to faith in Christ, and bring all other blessings to Christ’s church.
In other words, the question should not be why should we pray, but how can we afford not to pray?
Just look at that list! It is not exhaustive, by the way. All one needs to do is look into a few of the Psalms to find that prayer should be the most vital part of a believer’s life. Just as a wife cannot have a good relationship with her husband without speaking, so also a believer cannot have a good relationship with God if there is no communication. Prayer is how we talk to God, and His Word is how He speaks to us.
It baffles me how shallow our view of prayer has become in the church today. Think about our own perspective: when there is a crisis with a family member—a child is rushed to ICU; your father has a heart attack; your sibling is experiencing depression—what is the first thing that believers often say in these circumstances? “Well, I guess all I can do now is pray.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that in these past few years; I’ve said it myself. I don’t know where this “last-resort” idea comes from, but it is terribly wrong.
Prayer isn’t the last thing—it’s the best thing that you and I could ever do for anyone.
He’s listening . . . are you praying? (From “A Wisdom Retreat”)