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Most people agree that praying is good. We need to pray, because we need something beyond ourselves.

You can actually see a need to pray all around us, making it obvious why we should pray.

Look at the rise in popularity of meditation. People are acknowledging that they need peace and need God, but they may not know that God is what they are really looking for. Meditating is different when we are actually focused on God.

85% of people confronting a major illness pray. Why? They feel that their sickness is out of their control. They feel a need for God.

Over 50% of all doctor visits in America are prompted by high blood pressure, depression, ulcers, and migraines. All of these can in large part be alleviated by prayer. Prayer can increase our levels of dopamine, which is responsible for joy and calmness. Prayer can even boost your immune system.

There is something special about prayer.

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Why do we pray?

We pray because it is how we communicate with God. And while we may feel insecure asking what can feel like an elementary question, even Jesus’ disciples had to ask for themselves:

 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

Luke 11:1 (NIV)

There is nothing more important in life than to learn how to pray. Prayer is the most important thing we can learn how to do. Prayer is where we learn to talk to God, understand him, connect with him, and understand ourselves.

Why is it important to pray? Prayer gives us untapped power. It unlocks, ignites, heals, transforms, empowers, and calms. The following are 5 compelling and inspiring reasons why we should pray.

1. Prayer attracts God

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. 17 I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;  19 but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. 20 Praise be to God,  who has not rejected my prayer  or withheld his love from me!

Psalm 66:16-20 (NIV)

When we deal with our sin and our heart, God listens to our prayers and acts on our behalf. Leaving things unresolved makes it difficult for us to be honest, let down and vulnerable, causing our prayers to be distracted or not genuine.

Prayer is a perfect opportunity to explore our hearts, share everything with God and begin relieving ourselves of guilt and other emotions that may be weighing us down. Doing this will attract God and allow him to work in our lives.

  • What sins do you need so start praying about so you don’t stay guilty?
  • What would it look like for you to cry out in prayer to God?

2. Prayer moves angels

20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill— 21 while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice.

22 He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:

Daniel 9:20-23 (NIV)

Prayer initiates angelic action on our behalf. This is a concept that can be difficult for us to grasp if we are out of practice seeing the world through a spiritual lens.

The fact of the matter is that the Bible talks about spiritual battles taking place on a daily basis, and it’s our choice if we want to start believing that our prayers create activity in the spiritual realm and influence the physical realm.

  • Do you believe your prayers have a spiritual impact?
  • How do you need God’s help right now?

3. Prayer attacks demons

 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV)

Prayer is a weapon that attacks and defeats the spiritual forces of evil. We weren’t meant to live our Christian lives on the defense. The armor of God offers protection, but it also allows us to take our stand, and fight back against the dark spiritual forces.

  • What powers of the dark world do you see manifesting in your life?
  • How much do you pray for God to help you stand your ground against temptation, sin, and more?

4. Prayer unlocks us

1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 32:1-7 (NIV)

Prayer unlocks us, but only when we pray truthfully, and acknowledge and confess our sin. When we keep silent, we have no strength and our guilt remains. When we pray honestly, we are energized and God gives us confidence, trust, and freedom.

Prayer refocuses us on God and not on ourselves or other people. Real power comes from God, not our humanistic abilities or talents. When we pray, we stop believing we’re the only ones capable of solving problems.

  • What do you need to pray more honestly about?
  • How do you see yourself “silent” or “wasting away” when you are not honest in prayer daily?

5. Prayer transforms others

27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you, and you will fulfill your vows. 28 What you decide on will be done, and light will shine on your ways. 29 When people are brought low and you say, ‘Lift them up!’ then he will save the downcast. 30 He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.”

Job 22:27-30 (NIV)

Praying for others changes the course of their life. They may not even know why, but it’s true. Our prayers can give others courage, influence their decisions, and change their outcomes.

When praying, try making a concentrated effort to not just pray about yourself. Think about who you know that is in need of help, or who needs a breakthrough in a particular area in their life.

  • Who needs your prayers?
  • How devoted have you been to prayer every day?
  • How can you start praying differently?

Written by

Scott Colvin

Scott Colvin is an evangelist at the Bay Area Christian Church. Scott ran cross country for the University of North Carolina. Some say he's still running to this day.