I have a friend who has walked away from his faith. The tipping point, ironically, came during joys and concerns time at worship. He said he got tired of listening to people praying for “travel mercies” and other special providences. As he explained, Why should God watch out for one car on the road and not the one next to it?
It’s a common complaint, more so than you might think. Skeptical non-believers often point to this capricious nature of God as a reason for their skepticism.
But, I think, they miss the point of prayer. Sure, we sometimes fall into the rut of rote prayer or try to “persuade” God to change or protect circumstances.
True prayer isn’t bargaining. It’s conversation. It isn’t persuasion. It’s a dialogue. It isn’t words mouthed through the centuries. It’s pouring out the depth of our hearts and souls to Someone a few steps above our pay grade.
I believe God wants us to talk to Him and I believe God wants to talk with us. He wants to be a part of our everyday lives so we know He is there in the good times and the bad times.
Jesus gave us a blueprint for prayer [see Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 1:2-4]. And there are parallels in the Jewish Bible and Deuterocanonical books. That’s the formal side. But there is also an informal side — and that’s more valuable.
Prayer isn’t words. It’s emotion. When we pray, we’re not doing it for God’s benefit. It’s for ours. Prayer — or conversation with God — brings us closer to Him. It’s a recognition of a Higher Power working within us.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: God promises when you praise you’ll be raised.