Vandalia United Methodist Church

From the Pastor's Study

Why Pray?

What’s the necessity of prayer if God already knows our needs? That question has popped up a couple of times in my study groups. It makes a valid point. Do we need to bother God with our requests if he already knows our plight? We were discussing the healing of the leper in Matthew 8, and someone asked why God didn’t heal all of the lepers when the one came to Jesus for healing. My quick response was because only the one leper asked. There was faith prior to the leper asking for help, and it grew following his healing.

The world is full of hurting people, and God seems to allow them to continue hurting. If he is aware of their plight, why doesn’t God just heal/fix/restore all of them? If that were to happen without any kind of interaction with God, then faith would be meaningless. When Jesus healed the physical, he also involved the spiritual. He would tell the recipient that his/her faith had brought about healing or he would announce that the recipient’s sins were forgiven or he would direct him/her to a more righteous way of living.

If God were to just fix everything, then what would Christians have to do? Isn’t our calling, as disciples of Jesus, to do as he did and go out into the world to alleviate the sufferings of others? I suspect that our time on earth is a training ground for the way it will be in heaven. The pain we endure strengthens our faith in a God who will act within his time. If all suffering would be alleviated, then for what would we hope?

Not all prayers get answered the way we desire. Sometimes, the healing is more spiritual than physical. It is just as miraculous when we are able to accept the circumstances in which we live and use it for ministry to others than if got exactly what we requested. And, of course, how often do we pray for things that would actually harm us if we received them?

God wants to be asked. It demonstrates our dependence on him when we do ask. It’s a compliment to God when we recognize that we cannot make it through life without him. How much easier our lives would be if we would just go to God in the first place instead of trying to make it through life on our own.

One of the most important things that we can do as Christians is to pray for one another. There are times when each of us gets exhausted to the point that we can’t even muster up a prayer. That is when we need the prayers of our church family to lift us up, to initiate healing, or get us back on track.

A praying congregation is a vital congregation. A vital congregation is a praying congregation. Being the people of God and praying are interdependent: one feeds the other. One cannot exist without the other.

Please pray for one another without ceasing. Please pray for me as your pastor; I can tell when you are.

In blessed hope,

9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School

First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684