Summary: This is the first in a series on prayer, answering hte question what are the priorities, purpose and promise of prayer found in John 17

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John 17:1-26


One night a father heard his young daughter speaking, although she was alone in her room. The door was cracked just enough so that he could see that she was kneeling beside her bed in prayer. Interested to find out what subjects a child would bring before God, he paused outside her door and listened. After tuning in to her speech he was puzzled to hear her reciting the alphabet: "A, B, C, D, E, F, G …" She just kept repeating it. He didn’t want to interrupt her, but soon curiosity go the best of him and he broke into prayer, "Honey," he asked, "what are you doing?"

"I’m praying, Daddy," she replied.

"Well, why are you praying the alphabet?" he asked.

She explained, "I started my prayers, but I wasn’t sure what to pray. I decided to just say all the letters of the alphabet and let God put them together however he thinks best."

Have you ever felt that way?

We know prayer is important. We know that prayer is essential for our spiritual growth. But how should we pray? What should we pray for? How do we pray in faith? Can I do anything that will hinder my prayer? How do I pray in faith for my family?

For the next five weeks we are going to address each of these relevant questions.

When the topic of prayer is discussed, inevitably the question is asked, “If God knows everything in advance, then why pray?’

I am not going to try to best some of the greatest theologians in answering this real question, but let me say this to begin,

We pray because he’s God and we’re not.

This of course is the first rule of the spiritual life. All prayer is based on this simple truth. He runs the universe, we don’t. We pray because he’s in charge and we’re not.

And here’s a crucial insight. When we don’t pray, it’s because we’ve forgotten who’s God and who’s not.

A lack of prayer means we’re still trying to run the show. It’s a sign that we’ve decided we can handle things on our own.

And that brings us back to the original question. If God is sovereign, why pray?

Without wanting to insult anyones intelligence, let me simply say we pray

“Because he commanded us to,”.

James writes, You have not because you ask not. Prayer is not an exercise we dutifully oerorm when we are in trouble or when the situation is right. If we want to know the will, purpose, and promise of God realized then we must pray.

Sometimes you see little signs that say, “Prayer changes things.” I believe that’s true. And the first thing prayer changes is us. It teaches us to depend completely on our Heavenly Father, and it reminds us that he’s God and we’re not.

Why pray if God knows everything in advance?

Prayer is partnering with God to change the world!

Because God has ordained that our prayers are part of his plan for the universe. Our prayers really do matter to God. In a sense God limits what he can do in the world so that he can work through our prayers. It’s not that God “needs” our prayers. He doesn’t. But in his kindness and mercy, he has invited us to join him in the great adventure of bringing his kingdom to this sin-cursed planet.

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