“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:3-4
Read these verses over and over. What is God whispering to you?
This morning I ponder many questions but the big one is our verse today, “what is man that you are mindful of him?” to put it in my words why do you care about me? The whisper is ever gentle “Because I love you.” I ask these questions because I felt prompted to do so. There is so much going on. I’m still harvesting, things are behind that I need to address soon, and I am praying to God to help me figure out what to do first. Then it occurs why would He care? Then I am reminded of our friend who just passed from cancer. Why didn’t our prayers of healing work? Why did they work for my wife’s cancer but not our friends? If it didn’t work, why pray?
Many of my questions this morning are questions that I have asked in the past and that I have heard others ask while in the mist of struggle. Why pray? It doesn’t seem to work so why bother. I’ve heard this many times from people experiencing heart breaking struggle. I found out through my own experience that prayer isn’t about placing our order to God and then He dishes it out like a vending machine. Our God isn’t a vending machine God. He is a personal God. He is a sovereign God. He is a Holy God. A God of Love. A God of mercy and grace. A God bigger than our brains can comprehend. So why pray?
Let’s start with “Because He loves us.” God loves us so much that He wants a personal relationship with us. That is what prayer is. It is the conduit for our relationship with God. It is more than just memorized prayer. It is more than just praise and asking. It is our relationship with God. We tell Him everything like we would our best friend or a parent. We share our fun and our pain. We ask for help and guidance. We praise Him and thank Him. We listen for His response which comes in many different ways. We learn to hear His voice through experience.
So, why pray? Because God tells us to in the Bible. Because God wants us to know Him and prayer is how we get to know Him personally. Because Prayer is our personal connection to God. Here is where it gets deeper. What if our prayers seem to go unanswered? This is where I have struggled in the past and I see others struggle too. When we start out praying sometimes God seems to grant everything we ask. We experience things beyond our expectations and beyond our understanding and then one day it seems to go the other way. Our prayers seem to go unanswered or we don’t get what we want. Our health fails, loved ones die, we fall into financial problems. Now what? Where is God now?
This is a time of testing, but it is a time in which God is calling us deeper. Like a spoiled kid if we are given all we ask for we will become spoiled. Our relationship with God is shallow and we become entitled. Give me what I want period. It is one sided. It is selfish. God created us to be more. We are called to make His desires our desires. This means asking what He wants instead of telling Him what we want. It means trusting that He knows what is best. It means instead of asking for things, we ask for guidance. Instead of asking for healing, we are asking for peace in the struggle and pain. Instead of asking to change others we are asking to change our attitudes. We pray for others instead of ourselves. We spend more time listening instead of asking. We learn to be content in what God has given us. We thank God for everything. Ultimately, we find peace and enjoyment in just being in God’s presence having no need to say, think or hear anything. Just being.
So why should we pray? Because God loves us and wants us to know Him. Don’t expect to get everything you want in prayer instead expect to get everything you need. Expect to be changed. Our disappointments come from having the wrong perspective. See things from the perspective of God and life will make more sense. The only way to see God’s perspective is to know Him. Know Him through the Bible and prayer. Both are essential.