In May of 1945, CS Lewis took on a topic that has puzzled people for centuries in an essay titled “Why Pray?” “The case against prayer… is this. The thing you ask for is either good — for you and for the world in general — or else it is not. If it is, then a good and wise God will do it anyway. If it is not, then He won’t. In neither case can your prayer make any difference.”
How would you tackle that one?
Here’s how Lewis responded. “If this argument is sound, surely it is an argument not only against praying, but against doing anything whatever? In every action, just as in every prayer, you are trying to bring about a certain result; and this result must be good or bad. Why, then, do we not argue as the opponents of prayer argue, and say that if the intended result is good God will bring it to pass without your interference, and that if it is bad He will prevent it happening whatever you do? Why wash your hands? If God intends them to be clean, they’ll come clean without your washing them. If He doesn’t, they’ll remain dirty (as Lady MacBeth found) however much soap you use. Why ask for the salt? Why put on your boots? Why do anything?”
In ways we that aren’t clear to us, God has ordained that our prayers are part of how He works out His sovereignly ordained purposes. Our desires, our requests, our hopes, our hurts – God tells us to bring everything we think and feel and question and wish for to Him. And He promises to hear us. Our prayers matter to Him.
It’s easy (for me at least) to become to rational or logical when it comes to prayer. Why do I need to say anything to an omniscient God? By definition, I’m not telling Him anything He doesn’t already know. In fact, He knew what would be on my mind or in my heart before I did! And why would I ask God for anything, when He has promised to take care of me and give me what I need? God knows best. His ways are best. Shouldn’t I just keep my mouth shut and trust Him?
That logic works except for one thing. The God who knows best tells us to pray to Him. He teaches us how to pray to Him (Luke 11:1-4). He invites us to bring our burdens to Him (1 Peter 5:7). He tells us to make our requests known to Him (Philippians 4:7). In fact, we’re told to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus Himself prayed.
The point is, our all wise, all knowing God wants us to pray to Him. He tells us our prayers matter. You don’t have to know how or why that works. Your job is to do as you’re told!
But honestly, we shouldn’t think of prayer as our job. It’s our privilege. The access we’re given in prayer is mind blowing. The Creator and King of the universe has given you His private number and takes your calls.
CS Lewis explained why that prayer is something humans are hard wired to do. “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.”
Even a professing atheist can find himself in a moment of desperation calling out to the God he doesn’t believe exists. When life overwhelms, something inside us instinctively cries out to God.
So the next time you find yourself wondering about the efficacy of prayer, remember – Someone much wiser than you calls you and invites you to make prayer a pattern in your life. There’s a lot about prayer we won’t understand in this life. But the God who knows all things tells us our prayers matter. That should be enough to satisfy any of us.
Have you been thinking about who you might invite to join you for any of our Easter weekend activities at Redeemer?
On Friday night, April 15 at 7:00 pm, we’ll have our Good Friday service. That’s a great event to invite a friend to.
On Saturday, we’ll have a Resurrection Rally, featuring an Easter egg hunt. Kids will have a chance to learn the story of Easter in a fun and creative way. Do you know any parents with young children you can invite to join you?
|And of course, on Easter morning, we’ll gather to celebrate the best news ever – Jesus is alive!|
Make sure this Sunday to pick up some of the cards we have at church with our Easter weekend schedule on them. Pray about who to pass a card along to. Maybe attach a post it note with a personal invitation.
And don’t forget – we’d love to have you help us with the egg hunt that will be part of our Resurrection Rally. Bring whatever plastic eggs you have and add them to the collection you see in the lobby at church.
Let’s make this Easter weekend the best Easter weekend ever at Redeemer.
|Parents of elementary aged children, be looking for more information from Jen Gurney about the upcoming Kid’s Connect event in April. Mark these dates on your calendar: April 7, April 14, April 21 and April 28. On those four nights, we’ll be sharing with kids all about how God created the heavens and the earth.|
|Next weekend is going to be a big weekend for our Junior and Senior High students.|
|And don’t forget our First Tuesday get together will happen on April 5 at 7:00. Here’s a link to this month’s syllabus.|
| And ladies, there is a Women’s Connection event happening later in the month for you.|
Note the location. It’s NOT at Maumelle Park. It’s at the Big Maumelle Pavilion inside Pinnacle Mountain State Park. Maps and directions will be coming your way.
This will be a great time of fellowship, spiritual refreshment and encouragement for every woman at Redeemer. Plan now to attend.
| There’s a reason why Jesus tells us to abide in Him. It’s so we can bear much fruit. But what kind of fruit does Jesus have in mind? What does a fruit bearing life look like? We’ll continue our study of John 15 this Sunday.|
See you in church.
Soli Deo Gloria!