Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Why pray?


God won't give to us if we don't ask?

God is always giving

Lip Kee's comments:

There are preachers and teachers out there who teach that we have to ask or else God would not give. Personally, I don't subscribe to that kind of teaching.

The God I know is always loving, always caring, always giving and always providing.
He knows what we need, and He takes pleasure in satisfying our needs.

"Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Matthew 6:8)
"...your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Matthew 6:30-32)

Then why does the Bible teach us to ask of God in prayers? Why is there a need for us to ask at all?

God does not need to be arm-twisted or reminded for Him to give

I believe our "asking" is not to meant to arm twist God to remind Him to give to and provide for us. He is always giving and providing. Rather, our "asking" serves to remind us and the people around us that God is our faithful and gracious Provider.

God is not forgetful of His covenant. He does not need to be told or reminded of what He needs to do.

Prayer is meant as a reminder for us, not for God

We are the ones who are always forgetful and distracted. We are the ones who are un-faithful and unfocused. That is why God graciously provided us with a reminder tool called "prayer". Because we need it to remind ourselves of how He is always there for us - ever caring for us and providing for us.

To elaborate: Imagine someone who does not pray. She was facing a difficult situation which lasted 6 months. God eventually delivered her from the situation. But because she did not use the "reminder tool" (i.e. prayer), she is unlikely to be conscious of how God helped her out of her challenge. She would be filled with much stress and anxiety during those 6 months.

Also, in the absence of any prayer offered to God. She and the people around her will mostly likely credit herself, other people or mere good luck for the good outcome, when the whole challenge was over.

Now, imagine the same person, when faced with her situation, chose to pray to God, and to ask her friends to stand in faith with her. What difference would it make to her and to the people around her?

The benefits of praying

First, she would have a sense of hope, assuredness and restfulness, even in the midst of her 6-month long challenge. And when the breakthrough finally comes, she and her friends would be conscious of God's help. Their hearts will be filled with thankfulness to the Lord, instead of pride arising from the belief that their self efforts made the difference, or a vague sense of good fortune.

In the scenarios above, God intervened and helped, regardless of whether anyone prayed. So prayer did not affect how God acted. Like I mentioned, He does not need arm-twisting or reminder.

However, prayer did affect the quality of life, and the quality of the response of the people, don't you agree?

God meant for prayer to be used as a tool of reminder for us, not for Him. :-)

The Giver has given. Has the receiver received?

Besides, when a person is not conscious of God and His constant provision, God could be giving and giving, but she may not benefit because she is not receiving. Even though the giver has given, many a times, the receiver needs to actively receive what has been given in order to enjoy the benefits.
A simple example would be that of someone who inherits a fortune but is ignorant of it or refuses to believe it.

Hope you will find my comments helpful in one way or another.

Pardon my long-windedness. I thought the questions you raised deserve more than just a cursory treatment. :-)

Lip Kee

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