“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
“Our desire for relationship with God is matched (or, even better, outstripped) by God’s desire to connect with us…Why should God want that? I have no idea…God surely does not need us for completion or perfection. God is fullness of life and perfection. But as the bible states so boldly, the very nature of God is to love (1 John 4:16). And the very nature of love is to share itself, to pour itself out, to seek relationship. When love gives itself, it generates hope and goodness and life in others.”*
Why pray? I know it’s a question I ask myself from time to time? Why? Does it do any good? Is God listening, really listening? The Gospel tells us to ask, seek, knock…but really? Will it do any good? Why?
Why pray? One reason is relationship. We are designed to be in relationship, to be in community. We are not created to be solitary creatures in need of no thing or no one. We are created to be in relationship and God (or however you wish to describe God) strongly desires to be in relationship with us.
It’s refreshing to hear again that God does not need us….doesn’t that poke a hole in our “fragile” egos. We are not needed–we are desired by God. God is complete and full and perfect and loving already. We have nothing to add to God, but God has everything to give to us. God is everything to us. Sit with that for awhile. We have nothing to add to God, but God is everything to us. God is total love and abundance. Being in relationship with God affords us every good and perfect gift. All that God has and is, is ours.
One of the most important elements to a successful and growing relationship is communication. God communicates to us by a variety of means–through nature, people and circumstances around us, through the written word and other means as well. God wants a two-way communication with us–thus…we pray.
Another mind-blowing concept, at least to me, is that all is ours already. All goodness, all abundance, all prosperity, all love, peace–you name it–is ours. So, why pray? I firmly believe we pray in order to enable us to better receive all the good that God has for us. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4-6). When all is ours, why be anxious? When God’s eternal love and presence is ours, why worry? Talk to God, open your hearts and minds to God, and you will see that God’s love for you is beyond any love you will experience in this lifetime.
In my life, there have been plenty of times when my communication with God has been severely lacking. I decided to go out on my own–no need to communicate to God what I needed to do (not that God didn’t already know…). That relationship with God was not the most important part of my life–I was! Sounds like that parable of the prodigal son, doesn’t it? I know I am not alone in those feelings, we have all done that. We have forged out on our own, no need for God, no need for prayer. We’ve got this! When we fall flat though, who is there? God is there, ready to pick us up, or carry us, mending our wounds, lovingly caring for our every needs. His desire for relationship with us far outweighs our failings and attempts to edge God out of our lives.
Why pray? We pray to keep us aware and open to God’s presence and love for us. We pray to stay in touch with every good and perfect gift God has to offer through Jesus Christ. We pray to remain filled with the power of the Holy Spirit–to be inspired with God’s amazing wisdom and counsel. We pray because God loves us…it’s as simple as that. We don’t always love as God does, but it doesn’t end the relationship. Our prayer, our communication with God, enables us, ever so gently, or maybe not so gently sometimes, to embrace our relationship with God with more honesty and more love and more openness on our part.
Our prayers do not need to be perfectly worded. They may be one word: Why? Or, thanks! Keep praying, keep talking with God, keep on hashing it out with God. God is listening and loves everything we have to share and loves sharing everything with us.
Thoughts: Meditate on the ways you pray? Evaluate for yourself why you pray? Be more mindful of what you are praying for and about. When you are at Mass, or a prayer service, or any spiritual meeting, listen to the prayers you hear with new ears and a more open awareness of how God is communicating with you.
*Martin Pable, OFM Cap, Prayer: A Practical Guide, Chicago, ACTA Publications, 2002