“Why should I pray if I’m not going to get what I want or feel I need?”
Well, actually, it’s not a good question. It’s a rather selfish one.
There’s a misconception about prayer in that question, because prayer is actually more about Him than it is about me. And that query contained four references to “I” and a rather oblique fuzzy reference to God!
There is a great definition of prayer in the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Prayer is an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of His mercies.”
We struggle most when we only ‘offer up our desires to God’ without considering the ‘for things agreeable to His will’ part of that definition. There have been thousands of books written that confront this personal conundrum and a short devotional of 400 words can’t duplicate that work, but there are a couple of obvious points that can be made.
“So … what good does prayer do if I’m not getting what I desire?” First, praying takes you into the presence of the One who has the ultimate control of the circumstances and situations in your life. King David got it. Listen to his acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty as he prayed before the people: “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.” I Chronicles 29:11 New Living Translation
And second, prayer allows you to stand on a ‘higher hill’ and gain perspective that you wouldn’t have without God’s insights. I stand on flat ground with little perspective. I can’t see whether the long term result I’m asking for will be good for me or not. My ‘low level’ viewpoint keeps me from seeing the connectedness of my present with my future.
But God’s view is total and unhindered. “I know the plans I have for you” says the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:11)
So pray, but remember … the answer you really want is the one that originates in his heart before it leaves your lips. Trust Him in this!
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6,7 NLT