I was lost and didn’t know what to do. We had just moved to Los Angeles leaving all our family back home in St. Louis. No one we knew had experienced this hardship. What do we do? This question played in my mind when I saw my wife on the floor in our apartment. She curled up in a ball in agony, experiencing abdominal pain from the ectopic pregnancy. I cried to her, asking her if she wanted me to call an ambulance. She looked up and said, “No.” I asked, “Would you like me to take you to the Emergency Room?” “No, I just want you to pray,” she answered. There was nothing that I could do, but pray. I wanted to control the situation badly, however I needed to pray. I wanted to take my wife’s pain away, but I needed to pray. I wanted to exert control, but this was a reminder: Warner, you need to pray.
When all seems lost we need to pray. But why should we pray? Why should believers pray? A believer’s prayer depicts three things:
Prayer depicts our example
In scripture, we have the great example of our Savior praying on many occasions. “After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone” (Matt. 14:23). “It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12). Jesus made sure He separated Himself from others in order to pray to God. He fled from all distractions to spend intimate time with His Father. He spent entire nights in prayer. Jesus knew his strength came solely from the Father.
Do we recognize that our strength comes from God? Are we imitating Jesus by our prayer life? Are our lives free from distractions when we pray or are we simply praying to check off a box? Those who are new creatures in Christ Jesus communicate directly with God in prayer.
Prayer depicts our dependency
Often through life’s trials we recognize we have no one else to depend on but God. Whether it is the roof over our heads, reliable transportation, strength to arise, eyes to see, limbs to move, it is all because of the Lord. We need Him. We need Him in our most joyful moments. We need Him in our darkest moments. We need Him when we don’t know what decisions to make. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7). When we fail to pray about different situations in our lives, we are essentially saying, “God, I got this.” But prayer reveals our dependence on Him.
Prayer depicts our trust
“But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah” (Ps. 3:3-4). David wrote those words while fleeing from his son Absalom. Though David recognized his adversaries had increased, His trust was still in the Lord. He knew God was His protection. He knew God was the one he could count on. He knew God was his glory and the One who could lift him. David cried out to God with confidence the Lord would answer Him.
Can we say the same for our lives? Do we cry out to Him when our adversaries have increased? Do we cry out to Him when things are going downhill and we have nowhere else to turn?
I recall my wife on the floor and regret I didn’t first pray. As a husband, I wondered how could I take this pain from my wife. Eventually, we traveled to the Emergency Room. I was thankful the Lord allowed us to get to the hospital in time. We lost our baby that night, but didn’t lose our hope. Tears were shed and hurt experienced, but we realized where our trust needed to be placed. We recognized the Lord was in complete control. He is the giver of life. We learned some valuable lessons during those days.
We don’t know whether the Lord will grant us a child. However, He knows what is best for us. In our hardships, we need to depend on the Lord. When things are easy, we need to depend on the Lord. Often, the hardships remind us we need to completely depend upon the Lord. Christian, when life is tough, pray. When life is going well pray. God grooms us to be more like Him when we pray.