I heard a wonderful question the other day – why do we pray? Now, don’t just give the standard answer. Think about it, wrestle with the question, let it roll around in your brain. Why? Thankfully God is big enough for all of our questions – so let’s go ahead and ask it.
Then, I think of a series of answers in James 5. One of them is “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray.” Those moments of trouble do seem to inspire a getting real with ourselves and God perspective, don’t they. Especially when troubles become miseries and desperations, we may find ourselves on our face before God. We are weighted down by the trouble, the dilemma, trial, and tribulation need someone to help relieve us of our burden. So, why do we pray? Because we are in trouble again.
Is that a bad thing? I’m going to venture a no – the reason being that this is a pretty clear instruction. In trouble, pray. Let me give an example from my own week. Wednesday morning dawns, kind of gray and soggy, but nonetheless a new day. I get ready for work, dressed, teeth brushed, hair brushed, and shoes and everything. When I walk out to my car, I circle round to the driver’s side and what do I see – but a flat tire! Oh no!! A quick phone call to give those at work a head’s up that I’ll be late and I head back inside to call AAA. The tire guy comes and puts on my spare in a jiffy (he made it look really easy). Now, I’m an hour late to work and still have a busy schedule ahead plus physical therapy. My necklace breaks, my button falls off my coat! What’s next? So, in the time period when all of that was going on I have a choice to make. I can either get upset and stew for an hour – which won’t help. Or, I can pray about it. “God, would you take care of this whole tire thing and let me use this extra time at home wisely?” I felt myself calming down and spent the time rehearsing a song for choir. I was still able to get things done at work and even have new exercises at physical therapy because I’m getting stronger. All in all, it was a pretty good day. It wasn’t that my situation changed, though God certainly could replace the tire if he wanted. It is that I asked God to make it the morning He wanted it to be. In other words, I handed over the weight of the trouble for the peace and strength of God.
We pray – because we are in trouble.