Make Prayer A Pattern in Your LifeBy Bob Lepine
April 27, 2022
In May of 1945, C.S. 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 that aren’t always 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 too 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?