Prayer isn’t necessarily something our culture shies away from. We talk casually with our friends and family about “praying” for good weather, luck on an exam, or a job offer. When athletes go unconscious on the field or countries go to war, our social media feeds are often flooded with posts urging us to pray.
The question at hand isn’t whether our culture is for or against prayer. In times of crisis or uncertainty, prayer seems to be something we jump to. We just can’t seem to agree on who or what to pray to. Some people pray to God or some other higher power, while others pray to “the universe.” Some people don’t even know who they’re praying to at all – they just feel like they should.
Is there one being or power we should direct our prayers to? Does it really make a difference? We’ll get to that, but first let’s answer a fundamental question: what is prayer?
What is Prayer, and why do we pray?
You might be reading this article and wondering, “What is prayer, anyway?” That’s a valid question! Prayer is simply talking to God. When we tell him what’s going on in our lives, ask him for help or wisdom, and thank him for who he is and what he’s done, that’s prayer. It’s as simple as that! There isn’t any fanfare or ritual, or any special words you’re supposed to say when you pray to God.
If you’re looking for a more thorough overview of prayer, check out this article that dives deeper into defining what is prayer and why we do it.
Who does the Bible say we should pray to?
Does it matter who we pray to? Absolutely! But why does it matter? First, we need to unpack a key question: who does the Bible say we should pray to?
2 Timothy 3:16 says “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” In other words, the Bible has been given to us exactly as God intended, and it is a trustworthy source of wisdom and direction – and that includes guidance on who to pray to!
“There may be so-called gods both in heaven and on earth, and some people actually worship many gods and many lords.” we see written in 1 Corinthians 8:5-6. “But for us, there is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.” If there is truly one God, one creator and ruler of the universe, then why would we pray to anyone else?
Jesus himself even instructs us to pray to God. In Luke 11:2-4, he gives an incredibly helpful example of how to pray, and who to pray to: “Jesus said, ‘This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your kingdom come soon. Give us each day the food we need, and forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.”’”
In simplest terms, the Bible tells us to pray to God!
God moves through prayer
So, the Bible says we should pray to God. Great. But why? Does prayer work?
Prayer to God is powerful! Dutch missionary Andrew van der Bijl once said, “Our prayers can go where we cannot...there are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”
Something special happens when we pray: God hears us (1 John 5:14), and he responds to us! 1 John 5:15 says, “since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” Our prayers aren’t a shout into the void. God moves through prayer!
Next time you feel the nudge to pray, lean in – it's an opportunity to talk to God, the creator of the Universe, and invite him to work in your life. When you pray to God, incredible things can happen! If you’re looking for more resources about prayer or have more questions, check out the resources below:
Bible Reading Plan: 7 Days of Prayer
4 Ways to Engage with the 7 Days of Prayer
What is Prayer, and Why Do We Pray?
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