For some of us, prayer is essential. We won’t leave home without it. We believe that life goes better with prayer.

Some of us are still curious about prayer. We’ve tried it with minimal success and determined that it might be good for those crisis moments, but it’s not necessary for everyday living. We imagine we can get along just fine without it, because if prayer is just a crutch, we don’t really need it. 

C. S. Lewis said, “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.”

In a world where darkness lurks around every corner, prayer brings the opportunity to turn the light on. It’s the place where hearts are restored to possibilities and challenges are embraced and overcome. Why do we think that, or why do we bother to pray?

I think we learn about prayer, first by observation, noting that others find this form of communication helpful. If we read the Bible, we note that even Jesus prayed. Like us, He was in a relationship with the Creator.  At some point, we take steps, much like a toddler looking for balance, and we try prayer for ourselves. We begin to discover that with prayer something changed, something good happened. We can’t explain it. We just know we feel better. Emboldened by the result of our beginning efforts to pray, we start to desire prayer. We long to know more about how it works, and why it makes a difference. We start to be more impressed that God really does join us in prayer, meeting us on the threshold every time we seek Him. That very thing strengthens us and before long, we find ourselves keeping journals or making notes of the answers we found in prayer. We feel inspired, cautioned, and listened to. We recognize that we have opened some kind of cosmic channel, some door that is beyond us, yet within our grasp. We actually sense that God is with us, listening to every word, encouraging us to speak our minds and share our hearts. 

That realization makes us want to know God better, hear His voice, move closer to Him. It humbles us to imagine that the designer of the entire universe cares about us and wants to talk with us. It helps us see His kindness and faithfulness and love. Prayer teaches us that there is far more to life than we can see or imagine. So, like C.S. Lewis, we pray because we are helpless, and we know we cannot help ourselves. In fact, we know that nothing on earth can help us like God can. He doesn’t need our talent, or our amazing intellect, or even our gifts. He simply needs our hearts. 

When we draw near to God, He opens the door and invites us in, ready to hear us and share His thoughts with us. Prayer is the building block of our relationship. Prayer is God’s way of sharing the details of your life. All you have to do is call His name and He’s there for you. That’s worth the bother, don’t you think?