Why Not Pray?
My father used to quote an old saying: "The Lord helps those that help themselves." For a long time, I thought this was in the Bible. When I got saved and actually read the Bible, I found out it's not. It's a quote from "Poor Richard's Almanac" by Ben Franklin. What the Bible really says is "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18 NIV). That's a long way from the self-reliance Franklin was teaching.
The Bible teaches that we are dependent on God, and God commands us to pray. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8). Why does God command us to pray? Because prayer vocalizes our dependence on Him.
Ask ... seek ... knock. Those are commands. In the Bible, we often see strong invitations or commands to pray. For instance, Jeremiah 33:3 says, "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jeremiah 33:3). Yet, we neglect prayer, and that's more than just self-reliance; it's sheer pride. It's saying, "I'm fine. I can handle this by myself," rather than humbling yourself and telling God, "I really need Your help."
Sometimes we forget to pray. We do everything else first, and relegate prayer to a last resort: "There's nothing left to do but pray." But we should think of God first. Prayer should be our first resort. We may think that prayer needs to be done in some special place -- in a church, for instance. But of course God can answer prayers offered to Him in an office, on a surfboard, at the park, while driving down the road. Anywhere.
And, sadly, sometimes we don't pray because we're in despair and we want to give up. We say, "What good will it do? I've prayed a long time and nothing has happened." But as the evangelist George Mueller said, "Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance; it is laying hold of God's willingness."
Of course, we always need to remember that God is sovereign, and He decides how He will answer our prayers. But He does answer. We're dealing with a God who wants to give, who desires to bless. And He invites, encourages, and even commands us to pray. So why not pray?
"Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).
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