Do we really need to pray? Our heavenly Father knows what we need before we even ask him (Matt 6:8). OK, so, then what?
Many prayer leaders encourage us to use some version of the P.R.A.Y. method (pause/praise, repent/rejoice, ask, yield). This is good. However, methods still don’t answer the question. Do we really need to pray?
What if we began to think of prayer as a seat in God’s “situation room”? “Imagine how shocked you would be,” says Pete Greig, “if the president … called to say that your name had been selected at random from a list of the entire electorate to spend a day sharing your insights on a range of issues with his executive in the interests of greater democracy. I’m pretty sure you’d find the time to go … As a Christian, you have already received an even greater invitation. The King of kings requests your presence ‘at the very seat of government.’ He offers you a permanent place on his executive so that you can influence his actions on behalf of nations. It is an unspeakable honor, yet we are often too busy … or too insecure to accept the greatest invitation of our lives.”
Of course, Christ is certainly capable of doing things on his own; but he has a staff team. He does not rule the world as a tyrant. Plus, his ascension created a shift in power and standing. By virtue of our inseparable union with Christ, we are “seated in heavenly places with him” for a reason (Eph 2:6). He works with his people (and his heavenly staff team) to carry out his purposes. He wants everyone to contribute, everyone to participate. Prayer is a seat in God’s “situation room.” Don’t be shy. Submit your ideas and requests. God wants to hear from you. He delights in partnering with you to bring about his intentions.
What if we also started to think of prayer as the “school” that prepares us to reign with Christ (2 Tim 2:12; Rev 5:10)? Surely, such an incredible responsibility and privilege must be learned! “Jesus has opened a school in which he trains his redeemed ones,” wrote Andrew Murray, “He knows what prayer is. He learned it amid the trials and tears of His earthly life.” Like the disciples, we can ask, “Lord, teach us to pray,” and of course, he will. Prayer is “the intentional and insightful discovery of what is on God’s mind. It is not about getting my will accomplished in heaven, but getting God’s will implemented on earth” (Daniel Henderson).
In the school of prayer, we can raise our hand and ask questions, offer our thoughts, seek answers, find directions, and engage in group work with others. We can even knock on the Teacher’s door “and it will be opened” for us to discuss everything from “daily bread” to “kingdom come” (Matt 6:9-13; 7:7).
Do we really need to pray? Yes! We are the people who are going to inherit the world of new creation. So, get to class!