A Call to Prayer

A Call to Prayer

Why do we pray? Why do you pray? Certainly we pray because we hope God will change life’s circumstances in some way. We also pray because Jesus told us to, as in Luke 18:1: “Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart.” But if our God is all-knowing and all-powerful, as we teach and believe, then certainly God already knows what we want and need even more than we know ourselves! So why is prayer a way that God works?

George MacDonald was a preacher and fantasy fiction writer whom C. S. Lewis, author of the Narnia stories, thought of as his mentor in matters of both fiction and faith. MacDonald offers the following thought on this question that I now offer to you for consideration:

What if [God] knows prayer to be the thing we need first and most? What if the main object of God’s idea of prayer be the supplying of our great, our endless need—the need of [God] himself? What if the good of all our smaller and lower needs lies in this, that they help to drive us to God? Hunger may drive the runaway child home, and he may or may not be fed at once, but he needs his mother more than his dinner. Communion with God is the one need of the soul beyond all other need; prayer is the beginning of that communion, and some need is the motive of that prayer.  [1]

In other words, God knows that our deepest and greatest desire is not for any thing, but for a relationship—for a relationship with God. John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement put all this more directly: “Whether you like it or no, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way.” [2]

So I say let’s learn to pray—together. In the fall I invited you to join us in a time of Bible study. I would like to invite you now to a study of prayer. We had some very fruitful and meaningful times of prayer during Advent. Now let’s step back and consider what scripture has to say about prayer, in addition to looking at the great teachers and praying people of the historic church.

Beginning Thursday, January 19, let’s meet at 7 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall to study prayer together. Bring your Bibles, your experiences, and your questions. Let’s learn from one another.

[1] George MacDonald, “The Word of Jesus on Prayer” in Unspoken Sermons, https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/9057.

[2] John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, vol. 12, Third Edition. (London: Wesleyan Methodist Book Room, 1872), 254.



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