Prayer is possibly the stupidest thing we can do, or the most important. But it’s not in between.
If God isn’t in the picture, then prayer becomes a pitiable, ludicrous, ridiculous waste of time and energy that could be endlessly better spent doing most anything else. Private “prayer” would consist of sitting in a room directing thoughts toward an imagined entity that isn’t there; asking for help from a non-existent external power when you could instead be learning to better yourself and the people around you.
Corporate prayer would consist of large groups of deluded people speaking out loud, presenting praises, worship, requests, and cries for help, to . . . nothingness. Thin air. Vacuum. It would be absurd, useless, worthless, and undeniably sad . . .
But if you believe God is real (as I do, and you likely do if you’re reading this), if the universe didn’t just will itself into being, then prayer becomes all important, because prayer is conversation and relationship with the supreme and eternal Creator who is–by very definition–all powerful, all knowing, all seeing, all caring.
Asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matt:22:37).
Our ability to know, love, and serve God–and other people–ultimately derives from our relationship with our Father in heaven. And prayer is all about building a relationship with God. It’s spending time with Him, instead of just presenting a litany of requests. It opens our eyes to a deeper understanding of the Scriptures and God’s ultimate desire for our lives.
Most reading this would intellectually agree this is true. But in actual practice, we still try to tackle the complexities and challenges of life on our own.
Think about it. If you were lost in a cave in pitch darkness, would you scramble around at random in complete darkness hoping to find your way out before you fell off a cliff? Or would it be better to ask the guide standing next to you to turn on the lights and lead the way?
God created the entire universe–endless billions of galaxies worth– without so much as breaking a sweat. He has always existed, and will always be. He is not limited by the confines of space and time. He sees things we can’t see, knows things we can’t know, is holy and perfect beyond our capacity to even imagine, and is always there, wielding total and complete knowledge, utterly capable of leading us to any solution or through any scenario.
We are infinitesimally small; one of billions of people on a tiny planet in a nondescript solar system among billions of galaxies. We are spectacularly insignificant when faced with the sheer scope of the universe God created. But God doesn’t want us to feel insignificant. He is the Being in the universe most qualified to view us as with utter disdain, but instead offers greatest love, and communicates unspeakable value and worth to those who would seek Him.
He is this very second hearing millions of people crying out to Him simultaneously. Yet He always manages to make us feel like we are the only ones talking to Him–like we have His undivided attention (a favor we don’t always return), like He has all the time in the world for just us.
He’s a good Father. He wants us to call on Him. The God that created and fills the entire universe is there, and eager to help if we will genuinely ask. But too often we clamber around on our own, in the dark, desperately relying on our own myopic resources. Because at least we are in control of those resources. And it’s excruciating and terrifying to give up control. But control is always an illusion when faced with the reality of an infinite universe and an infinite God.
God always knows the answer to every question. Yet we scramble and work to try and solve problems in our own strength with our limited knowledge–apart from His omniscience.
God’s Priority One commandment to us is to love Him with everything we are, because everything else we do for Him and to love and serve others springs out of that. How well can you love someone you rarely communicate with?
Are you confident God is real or not sure?
What do you pray about most?
Why do we struggle with trusting God?