Why should I pray?
“LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He sent out His word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the LORD for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them.— Psalm 107:19-21 NLT
God is loving and He is also powerful — powerful to save us when we cry out to Him. In Jesus, death has lost its sting.
One of the earliest things we learn as children is to “ask nicely”. It is a fundamental way of relating. We soon learn that the way to get what we want is to frame the request the right way. Demanding, stealing, and expecting to be given without asking (and grumbling when it doesn’t happen) are ways that, if they work, come with a penalty. It’s not mature behaviour.
The description of us as children of God — the way those who have received and trusted Jesus are seen in heaven — is apt. We are in a Father — child relationship. We have free will, we can behave with respect or in rebellion, we can take notice of Father’s guidance or push the boundaries of our own independence. What we learn as children belonging to parents, holds good in this spiritual relationship. It is even more the kind of love which is unconditional.
“Asking nicely” is good. It expresses our attitude in this relationship. It is not demanding, or grumpily expecting. It shows us, who are doing the asking, are willingly reliant on the Giver. It also shows we have the understanding that we will always be received well and heard. The Giver is renowned for His generosity.
I am writing this on a day when 519 more deaths have been reported. Nearly 55,000 people have now died prematurely from the effects of Covid-19. Everyone who is older, or in less robust health, or both sees this threat as stalking them. It feels like war. And in this one context alone, these words right out like a joyful peal of church bells on a cold winter’s day.
“LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress. He sent out His word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death.”
There’s a human-centred attitude that argues, if God is good, why doesn’t He just save us from this? Some might speculate whether He sent it in the first place. There’s a sense of entitlement in us which feels we should be on a better deal — like the council should mend the potholes and provide free parking at Christmas. But there’s a big difference. We pay our council tax and expect a level of service in return.
The heavenly relationship is the opposite way around. God has given everything for us. He has given His one and only Son, to live in our world and take on Himself our world’s harshest treatment. That led Him to an undeserved, horrendous death in our place.
So we are not entitled to anything! But it pleases God immensely if we turn and recognise what He has done — and then “ask nicely”.
“So lift your hands and give thanks to God for His marvellous kindness and for His miracles of mercy for those He loves!”Psalm 107:21 TPT
- God doesn’t need us to ask, as if He didn’t know everything, but He likes to hear us ask, and know we take nothing for granted. How will you do that differently?
For a suggested prayer based on this verse and theme, head over to this page on www.glowweobley.com