Recently, I came across the prayer of a desperate man. Here's a portion of it.
Now I bow down before you,
from deep within my heart,
begging for your kindness.
I have sinned, Lord, I have sinned,
and I know the laws I've broken.
I am praying, begging you:
Forgive me, Lord, forgive me.
Prayer of Manasseh, 11-13 CEB
Manasseh's prayer moved me. It is so raw, so real. He had made terrible mistakes and now he, his family and his kingdom were suffering the consequences of those mistakes.
His prayer spoke to me. And it caused me to think a bit about prayer itself. Why do we pray? Obviously, that question is answered different on account of the prayer itself. Quite simply, we pray for different reasons. Here are just some reasons why we pray.
We pray for relief. Manasseh cried out in anguish for relief from the predicament into which he had placed himself. Have you ever felt like Manasseh? Does his prayer sum up thoughts at any specific time in your life. When life seems too hard or seems to press in at every corner. We ask for relief.
We pray for encouragement. When we are down, prayer causes us to elevate our thoughts and intentions. Prayer lifts us out of the bog that we can often find ourselves. During a particular time of depression in my life prayer was the one thing that lifted my spirits.
We pray out of happiness. I think back to when my children were born or when I fell in love. My prayers were answered. And they were just starting. Sometimes my requests of the Lord usually outnumber my "thank you's." Yet, I do regularly respond in joyful prayer to His Goodness to me.
We pray for hope that things will get better. Prayer reminds us that dismal circumstances do not have to be the end. They might only serve as the means to a better end. Prayer gives us the focus to trust and hope for better things.
We pray because we believe Someone is listen. We pray because we believe that the Divine One is not only listening, but that He cares and that He acts. We pray, hope, trust and expect that He will act on our behalf and for our benefit.
We pray because we are close to God. Prayer is not just about getting something from God as if His sole function is to be our "Giant Magic Genie." Prayer brings an individual into communion with the Creator of the universe, the Maker of our souls and the Intimate One. That closeness reminds me of my place and purpose in the world.
Find time to pray today.
For whatever purpose, a reason stated above or not, find time to pray.
And may you be rewarded.