The Power of Prayer: Why do we need to pray?


I have often been asked; and have asked God this question:

If God knows exactly what we want and need, why do we have to pray?

This is an excellent question and it was answered for me about ten years ago, only days after I asked it.  I “happened” to be watching a video of a minister who was speaking to this very question and what he said (I am paraphrasing on memory here) was this:

“In Genesis, the bible states:  Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, to be like us. Let them be masters over the fish in the ocean, the birds that fly, the livestock, everything that crawls on the earth, and over the earth itself! {Genesis 1:26}  This is extremely important because in the very beginning, God gave humankind dominion – the ability to rule and be masters – over all the earth.  And at that time, God took his own hands “off” of the earth and because he loved and trusted us so much, he gave us full autonomy over everything – including ourselves and our own thinking, decisions and actions and of course, the consequences of those actions.  What this means is that because He gave us Free Will; he is governed by his own law and that is to never intervene UNLESS we ASK him to.”

When I heard this, it resonated with my soul and that is why I am sharing it as it seems that it is in fact, VERY important as to why we need to pray to God.  It not only opens the channel of communication between ourselves and God and illustrates to Him that we do in fact need him and trust him; but it actually allows God (and his ministering angels), legally under His own law, to work in our lives and on our behalf.  When we do not pray, but hope that God does something in our lives, we keep him bound by his own creation law.

We need to open ourselves (and our arms) up as it says in Philippians: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. {Phil 4:6}

What is this scripture telling us to do in terms of prayer?

#1:  Do not worry or be anxious for anything!

This includes our health, finances, family, friends, safety, future or any of the details – no matter how small – of our lives! We are to give it to God and he will see to it that every area is looked after (and the very best will be given to us).  ***By the way, the adage:  “God helps them who helps themselves”  is NOT biblical.  It was a quotation from Benjamin Franklin.

Now, I am not encouraging us to just sit around on our laurels and hope God does something in areas of our lives where we can actually take action or change something for the better.  God wants us to be responsible.   However, in those areas that we do not have control or cannot change right away; I do believe we are to NOT worry or be anxious or strive to make things happen (not worrying and TRUSTING God, in and of itself allows God to work on our behalf).

#2:  But in EVERYTHING, pray and ask (let our requests be known to God) and petition (humble ourselves and do not be afraid) to reach out and get as many people as we can to “sign on” (pray for) our needs. I will honestly tell you that when my little 4.5 pound Maltese dog, Francesca, who has been in my life for 7 years (I got her two months after my father passed away to help with my sadness) was diagnosed with a cancerous, mammary tumour this past summer, I felt silly reaching out and asking my prayer group to pray for her.  After all, other people in the group had serious illnesses of their own or knew someone close that was struggling with something.  How could I ask for prayer for my little dog? However, I felt God prompting me to HUMBLE myself and ask anyway.  And so, I did.  And I was unbelievably humbled by how many of my friends reached back and told me they were praying for Francesca (and shared their own stories of pets that they had prayed for).

The other thing I realized is that there is nothing too small or too big for God to be concerned with and the reality is, I have no husband or children and my two little dogs (I have another Yorkshire terrier, named Jack) are extremely important and a great source of love in my life.  Why shouldn’t I ask that Francesca be in perfect health?  Was she not too, created by God?  And as it turns out, she had not one but two surgeries as she was also spayed at the same time, so imagine a little 4.5 pound dog with two huge “Franken-Franny” scars on her belly.  That was in late August and now almost six months later, she is completely healed – without even a trace of a scar on her tummy!

So, in EVERYTHING, pray and ask!!!  And most importantly:

#3:  Gives Thanks:  Even before – especially before – we see our prayers answered, we are to give thanks to God BECAUSE we trust him to do the thing we ask and to give thanks AS IF it’s already been done.  This is called FAITH and we know what God says about faith.  Our faith pleases him greatly:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.  {Hebrews 11:1}

And in addition, God tells us:

Faith is being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I do not see…By faith I understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. {Hebrews 11:3}

In other words, even though we cannot see our prayers manifested in this very moment, we know that they will be made visible, because everything we see in our physical world did once not exist  – so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible – and came into existence through our thoughts, visions, dreams, desires and imaginations by God’s willingness to create these things – or supply the materials – by which humankind has been able to make them.

Remember, no house on this earth ever existed before someone thought of it, designed it, planned it and then created it out of God’s resources on this earth.  And it was God who gave us these wonderful minds to think, design, plan and create!  He wants us to enjoy what he has already given us; he also wants us (just like Him as we are made in His image) to think, to dream, to have vision, to imagine and to create all sorts of wonderful things and also to desire them:

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus {Philippians 4:19}

So, in EVERYTHING – every aspect of our lives – we are to have faith that God not only truly cares about every detail, but will help transform and make them better IF we ASK, PRAY, PETITION, and GIVE THANKS in FAITH that He will deliver!