Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Bother to Pray?

Prayer - I have been pondering this simple/complicated discipline for a long time. The Lord graciously, gently, patiently teaches me - using His Word, the writings of others and the miraculous working of His Spirit in my heart and life.

I have been reading Elisabeth Elliot's book "Keep A Quiet Heart" as part of my devotions. The other day the passage was entitled "Why Bother to Pray?" I will admit that I have had that question cross my mind more than once. If God is in control and everything will be as He has ordained, why should I pray?

She gave three answers to that question:
1. "God has told us to pray." It is a commandment, and if we love Him, we obey His commands."

2. "...Jesus prayed."

Fair enough. I know these to be true. It ought to be enough to answer my question. It was the third reason, though, that pierced my heart.

3. "...prayer is a law of the universe. God ordained that certain physical laws should govern the operation of this world. Books simply will not stay put on a table without the operation of the law of gravity. There are spiritual laws as well. Certain things will not happen without the operation of prayer. God could cause books to stay on tables by what theologians call 'divine fiat.' Everything we pray for could occur in the same way, but that is not how things were arranged. Pascal, the great French thinker, said that in prayer God gives us the 'dignity of causality.'"
To think that "certain things will not happen without the operation of prayer" makes of my prayers something miraculous. I have much to learn in the way of spiritual things, but there is such beautiful simplicity in this.

The Father has told me to pray; Jesus prayed; the Father leans down to listen to me and He hears and answers. That is why I pray.