WHY PRAY? - Dr. John R. Rice

There are most compelling reasons why everybody ought to pray, why prayer ought to be the most regular and continual thing in our lives. Jesus said that men ought to pray. Here we will give some reasons why people should pray.

I. Because God Insistently Commands It in the Bible

The first good reason for doing anything is that God has commanded it. Throughout the Bible are Scriptures with the imperative command to pray.

“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”—Luke 18:1.

This is a statement, not that some men should pray, but that men, mankind, everywhere and in all times, should pray. It is an impelling duty which Jesus taught.

“Pray without ceasing.”—I Thess. 5:17.

Here is a command without any modification by the context. As long as men in any country, in any language, read the Bible, they will read this plain command to pray without ceasing. Not only ought we to pray; we ought to pray all the time!

Prayer should be the continual turning of our hearts to God about everything we need and everything we want until the subconscious mind is continually in touch with God. As a mother in her sleep listens for the cry of her baby, so a Christian’s heart can be attuned to God while he is absorbed in daily duties or even when he sleeps!

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”—Phil. 4:6.

A Christian is to pray literally about everything.

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.”—I Tim. 2:1.

We are commanded to pray not only at all times, but for all men.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; “And for me.”—Eph. 6:18, 19.

This passage closes the familiar description of the armor of a Christian, and the final word about how to be strong in the Lord is this command that we are to pray always with all prayer, with all perseverance for all the saints. Notice how many alls there are.

Prayer, then, is a duty expressly commanded for every Christian, all the time, and about everybody and everything. Not to pray is a sin, the sin of disobedience to the plain and often repeated command of God! Lack of prayer is a sin.

Samuel said to the people of Israel, “God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you” (I Sam. 12:23).

Because Prayer Is God’s Way for Christians to Have Fullness of Joy

Christians ought to be happy. Christians ought not to live defeated, unhappy lives, tormented by needs which cannot be met. So God has appointed that Christians can have fullness of joy all the time by having their prayers answered.

In John 16:24 Jesus said, “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

Imagine, if you will, a child whose father loves him so much that he can come day by day and ask his father for anything he needs. If the child in his ignorance asks for something that would cause him trouble and sorrow, the father very carefully explains and teaches the child what would be best, and then teaches him to ask for something far better than that for which he had intended to ask.

Thus the child has every desire granted and lives in a blessed state of happiness and joy because his father delights to give him the desires of his heart.