Why do we pray?

Woman looking up and prayers

You probably know you should be praying. You have probably heard from somewhere that you need to pray, or you may even pray out of habit. 

But why exactly do we pray?

Is it because we need to tell God our problems? Is it to satisfy our conscience? All these questions may sound like a lot, but I will answer them from God’s word in this article. 

To start with, why are there problems in this world? 

Most of us pray because of our problems. But how come we have these problems in the first place? 

We understand from the Bible which is God’s word, that God created the world but gave dominion on this earth to men. When the man refused to listen to the voice of God, he gave this dominion to the devil. And the principal dominion man presented to the devil is his heart. And because the devil had control over our hearts, he could influence our actions. And the actions of men brought about all the problems in this world. 

However, God has always been helping us. In Genesis 4 we see that men began to pray.

Genesis 4:26: …Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.

The reason why people pray is because God has always been a giver. But because we tend to want to help ourselves outside of God, detrimental patterns have persisted. 

David referred to God as the God who answers prayer. We pray first of all because God is a giver. He has always been and will continue to be our helper. We were created to depend on God for our lives. 

However now that Christ is revealed, we understand specifically why we pray. 

Jesus has been given all authority in the resurrection. This means that every single thing in this world is subject to Christ. 

But we see that this isn’t the case in practical terms, and that’s because God’s people do not pray. God uses the prayers of believers to enforce his authority on earth for our good. 

We pray because firstly God is a giver and because he has given us authority on earth in Christ.

But does this mean that situations will always be favourable? 


Jesus told us that we will have trouble in this world. He tells us to count it all joy when people persecute us. Paul speaks about contentment under challenging situations. 

This means that the central focus of the authority of Christ in prayer is not things. 

We know that Jesus is the revelation of God. So the words that Jesus said are the final authority. And a topic that Jesus spoke about a lot was prayer. 

When Jesus spoke to the disciples about prayer, he told them what not to pray for. 

Firstly, Jesus told them and us in Matthew 6 that we don’t pray for our needs because God already knows them. This means that the focus of your prayer life shouldn’t be things. 

It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pray for things. However, that shouldn’t be the focus of our prayer. We can’t pray for things without ceasing. And God’s word tells us to pray without ceasing.

1 Thes 5:17: pray without ceasing.

The second reason why we pray is to ensure that our lives align with the will of God. 

When we study the pattern of the prayer lives of the apostles, the focus is on spiritual growth. This is because the mind of a man is constantly being influenced by external things, and so it takes prayer for us to do what God will have us do. 

We pray so that we understand what God has done in Christ. We pray so that we can act out who we are. We pray to stay conscious of the influence of God’s Spirit on us. We pray to make sure we and those connected to us remain in God’s path for our lives. 

We live in a world filled with darkness and evil, but we know we are light and sound in the Lord. We pray so that this can become our everyday reality. 

We pray to partner with God to see his plan come to pass in our lives and that of others. This is why our prayer lives start from an understanding that God is good and he has already given to us. The ability to pray in itself is God’s goodness to us. 

The most essential thing prayer does is that it changes us. It strengthens us in the faith. It helps us take hold of the things that God has readily given to us. 

Prayer is an expression of the Fatherhood of God. Prayer is us acknowledging that God is our helper. It directs our priority and focus and it helps us see clearly and discern God in our everyday lives. 

Prayer permits God to move in our lives. It shows God’s word permission to influence our minds and actions. And our prayers change things and people.

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