Why Pray?

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.

1 Timothy 2:1 (NLT)

The mysteries of how God works, or doesn’t work, in people’s lives is probably one of the biggest questions we as believers, and even those who aren’t, wrestle with. Why does God choose to do somethings, yet not do other things? For example, why does God choose to heal one person, but not another? Or, why does God call some people in to professional ministry, but not others? Even though, on the surface, we believe God could have, and should have acted for all people in those situations, He chose not to. We prayed for the person, or persons, yet things didn’t turn out the way we hoped. The big question of “Why?” hangs big. I wish I had a simple answer, but I don’t. Why? Because I’m not God. And, a God who is infinitely complex can’t be fully understood by us simple humans. But I have observations that I can offer up.

Prayer is not about manipulating God into doing something we want. It’s about aligning our hearts and minds with God’s. Jesus demonstrated this in the Garden of Gethsemane. As Jesus prayed, He asked God the Father to change the plan so that He wouldn’t have to go to the cross. (See Matthew 26:39) Jesus, in His humanity, didn’t want to experience a horribly painful death. So, He asked for another way. But, the second part of Jesus’ prayer brought alignment with God when He stated that He would submit to the Father’s desire if required. God wants us to dialog with Him about what our worries and concerns are, but He also wants us to understand that His way is always going to be the correct way. Prayer helps us understand that.

Prayer softens our hearts. This is why the verse today is so powerful. As Paul states, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” Got someone you care about? Pray for them. Got someone that is mean to you? Pray for God’s blessing upon them. Holding a grudge against someone? Pray for God’s favor and goodness to engulf their life. Realize, the prayer isn’t going to force them to change. Rather it’s helping align your thoughts and desires with God’s. He wants to bless everyone. He wants people to experience His love. He desires everyone to come to know Him. And, He chooses us to be His instruments to make that happen. So, as we pray, we submit to God’s way of seeing people and we begin to evaluate them based on His vision, not our own.

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