Why Bother to Pray?
by Elisabeth Elliot
If God is sovereign, and things will be as they are going to be anyway, why bother to pray? There are several reasons. The first is really all we need to know: God has told us to pray. It is a commandment, and if we love Him we obey his commands.
Second, Jesus prayed. People sometimes say that the only reason for prayer is that we need to be changed. Certainly we do, but that is not the only reason to pray. Jesus was not being made more holy by prayer. He was communing with his Father. He was asking for things. He thanked God. In his Gethsemane prayer He was beseeching the Father to prevent what was about to take place. He was also laying down his own will.
Third, prayer is a law of the universe. As God ordained that certain physical laws should govern the operation of this universe, so He has ordained the spiritual law. Books simply will not stay put on the table without the operation of gravity-- although God could cause them, by divine fiat, to stay. Certain things simply will not happen without the operation of prayer, although God could cause them, by divine fiat, to happen.
The Bible is full of examples of people doing what they could do and asking God to do what they couldn't do. In other words, the pattern given to us is both to work and pray. Nehemiah and the people of Israel worked hard to build the wall of Jerusalem but were strenuously opposed by Sanballat and Tobiah, who banded together with Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites to attack. "So we prayed to our God," wrote Nehemiah, "and posted a guard day and night against them" (Neh 4:9 NEB).
Encourage one another...and pray,