Why Do You Pray?

Prayer ceased to be thought of primarily as worship and became rather the best means for the fulfillment of human need.
–Iain Murray, Revival & Revivalism


This quote from Iain Murray describes a shift in American Christian thought in the 19th century as it related to the subject of prayer and the working of God.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, the priority of his teaching rested on prayer that related to the Father. The first and prime request was that the Father would hallow his name. What a great expression of worship! He continued by teaching the disciples to ask that the Father’s kingdom would come and his will would be done on earth as in heaven. That’s worship. In fact, if you only pray for one thing, pray that God’s name be hallowed, made holy, be glorified. All else will rest in the shadow of that request.

It wasn’t until after this focus on the Father that Jesus taught the disciples to pray regarding their needs. Those needs may be physical (for daily bread) or spiritual (forgiveness and protection from the evil one).

Typically, we tend to pray for those latter needs more so than praying for the name of God and his reign and desires to be accomplished. This type of praying is putting the cart before the horse. Prayer is primarily about worship. It is not primarily about getting from God. It is more about God’s person than about God’s provisions.

So, why do you pray?