Dave spoke this morning from Hebrews 11:6, looking at the question ‘Why do we pray?’ There are many different answers that could be given to this question, but the verse in Hebrews reminds us of 3 reasons:

(1) We pray because there is a fundamental need to pray within all people and anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists. Even atheists often cry out for help in times of need and each culture and people group have worshipped some kind of god, recognising a higher power than themselves. God created man in His image and prayer is the gateway to connecting with the God in whose image we are made. Prayer is the result of a conscious, deliberate decision to seek God.

(2) Without faith, it is impossible to please God. In order to effectively pray, we have to believe not only that God exists but that He is interested in us and wants a relationship with us. He is not simply the Clockmaker, setting everything in motion and then abandoning His creation, but He continues to take an active part in His creation. In prayer, we affirm the belief that not only does God hear us, but He answers us and it is possible to please God. When we pray, we are communicating with the invisible God, showing faith in that which we do not necessarily yet see.

(3) We also believe that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Does prayer actually work? Does God answer prayer? There are a variety of Scriptures which indicate that He does (see John 16:17, Matt 7:7-11). James tells us that we do not always have because we fail to ask God. Prayer needs to be our first response to situations, not our last resort. James 5:16 indicates the effectiveness of prayer (think about Elijah, Hezekiah and the apostles in Acts 4, for example), but that is not to give us ‘carte blanche’ in how we pray. Ps 66:18 reminds us that sin will always block answers to prayer and that we must live in right relationship with God if we are to see answers to prayer. Faith is necessary too and we have to be sure that we are praying within the will of God.

In summary, therefore, Dave reminded us that:
(1) prayer pleases God
(2) Jesus prayed (and He is our great example in how to live to please God)
(3) Jesus taught us to pray.

Prayer is our lifeblood, our means of communication with our heavenly Father, as vital to us as the air we breathe. Let’s pray!