Why do you pray? This has been the theme we have been exploring in February in our year long discussion about prayer. Today is the completion of Why Pray and is also the one of the reasons to pray – in order to be complete.
2018 is the year of prayer here on the Healthy Spirituality blog and last month we explore the definitions of prayer. Each month this year on the Tending the Holy Thursdays there will be a focus on an aspect of prayer and of course a monthly free download.
On my Thursday posts, I pick one theme (or person of faith) to explore deeper. I call this series Tending the Holy Thursdays. This month we’ve looked into our reasons to pray.
I am excited about this month’s free download “40 Bible Verses about Prayer,” You can get this resource free by clicking on the button at the end of this post. I hope these verses help you explore the many reasons why we pray.
We began this series by looking at why we pray by pondering how we are both commanded to pray and called, invited to talk, and listen with God. Last week we dug into the reasons of being centered and connected by communing with God.
Why Pray – Completed by and with God
Prayer brings us completion and wholeness in God.
Thomas Merton wrote, “Prayer is an expression of who we are…We are a living incompleteness. We are a gap, an emptiness that calls for fulfillment.”
I really like this quote. I am smiling as I share with you: When I typed out the above quote, my rushing fingers misspelled emptiness. The word read “emptimess.” Yep, that is true too – without prayer we are a mess, an emptimess.
One book I have referred to over and over again in this series is Phillip Yancey’s Prayer. He writes, “The main purpose of prayer is not to make life easier nor to gain magical powers, but to know God. I need God more than anything I might get from God.”
One ancient definition of prayer is “keeping company with God.” What a neat image.
To know God.
To find completion in and with God.
To keep company with God.
Why Pray – ‘Cause We Need Prayer
No doubt in my heart we need prayer. A foundational reason to pray. Out of our need. Our brokenness. Our incompleteness. Our hunger for God.
Jesus prayed with total dependence on God. We are to follow this model.
William Barry writes,
“This thesis may sound strange, because it runs counter to much teaching about God. To be honest, I questioned it myself when I first began to think it through. Mind you, I have been writing about prayer as a personal relationship for many years, maintaining that God wants such a relationship with us, and I have used the analogy of a personal relationship between two people to describe the developing relationship between God and us. But the notion that God wants our friendship did not easily follow. Whenever it reared its head, I shrugged it off as a fancy not to be taken seriously. After all, I had been raised with the standard catechism answer: “God made me to know him and love him and serve him in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next.” As far as I can remember, no one ever interpreted this as implying that God wants my friendship.
But over the past few years, as my own relationship with God has deepened and I have listened to people talk about how God relates to them, I have become convinced that the best analogy for the relationship God wants with us is friendship. I began to use this kind of language in talks and articles and found that it resonated with others. I hope that you will find similar resonance and will trust your experience more fully. I can think of nothing that would please me more than to hear that you, and many others, have come to find God “better than he’s made out to be,” as my Irish mother once put it. I believe that God would also be pleased.”
Prayer is friendship. Communion. Completion.
So often we only view prayer as a conversation – the talking and listening with God. Prayer as communion with God is another way, a deeper reason to pray. And God too wants this connection, this relationship with us. He is offering holy friendship to us – how priceless.
Prayer can be words exchanged. Pray is also being together in each other’s company. Wordless. Connected by loving attention to one another that lead to completion.
True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
This series of exploring why we pray revealed many reasons and facets to prayer. Isn’t that just like our generous God – to invite us into prayer with him that offers so many gifts for our hungry, sinful, and needy souls?
Don’t forget to download your free printable “40 Verses about Prayer” available by clicking on the button below.
As you have pondered the question – Why Pray – what has emerged inside of you?