Why I Pray
Prayer is a vital part of the way I practice my faith on a daily basis, but it wasn’t always that way.
If you’ve been in the church for any length of time, you’ve likely heard someone talk about the importance of prayer - and that’s for good reason!
Jesus talked about prayer often. And he’s a good example for us to follow, after all!
Jesus pretty much assumed that his followers would be people who prayed:
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites… But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen... And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans… “This, then, is how you should pray…” - Selections from Matthew 6:5-9
And the Apostle Paul emphasized prayer as an essential part of the life of faith as well:
“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” - Colossians 4:2
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Across the New Testament, we see that prayer is a valuable practice. It’s a way of communicating with God, building our relationship with Him, and trusting Him with our needs.
That’s absolutely true. But there’s a deeper underlying purpose to prayer, and it’s the reason I pray on a daily basis:
Prayer is ultimately a discipline God has given us to combat our human tendency toward self-reliance.
In our fallen nature, every one of us has a tendency to put ourselves in God’s place.
We desire self-sufficiency. We strive to create the lives we’ve always desired. We wear ourselves out seeking to solve all our problems on our own… And in doing so, attempt to live as God over our own lives.
Prayer breaks us out of our habit of self-reliance.
When we pray, we stop and recognize that God is God, and we are not.
He is the One who gives us life and strength.
It is God is who ultimately knows what we need and holds our lives in His hands.
I pray each day because I know that without prayer, I live like life depends on me.
God meets us when we pray in a way that transforms us.
In John Ch. 15, Jesus is with his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night he was betrayed. It’s their last time together, and he takes the opportunity to teach them.
He says to them in John 15:5,
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
In his last teaching time with the disciples, Jesus encouraged them to remain connected to Him because their spiritual life and ministry was entirely dependent on that connection. (More on this in John 15-16)
“Apart from me you can do nothing.”
That was Jesus’ reminder to the disciples not to live self-reliant.
He was their source of spiritual life, their power for ministry, and their hope to become more like Him.
That was true for the disciples and it’s true for followers of Jesus today.
Because of God’s grace for sinners through Him, you and I can pray with great confidence.
Jesus has already met our deepest spiritual needs on the cross and He gives forgiveness and new life to all who admit their need and trust Him.
Apart from Him we can do nothing, but through Him we can be confident that we can handle anything that comes our way in life through Christ who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Prayer is a gift to us. It grounds us in the gospel and turns us toward the One who frees us from our sin and selves.
Let’s be people who bring our hearts and needs to God in prayer.
He will reward us with experiences of His provision and presence.
Josiah joined Orchard Hill's Adult Ministry Team in the Spring of 2018 as Director of Young Adult Ministries. Prior to coming to Orchard Hill, Josiah served as Director of University Ministries at Evangelical Community Church in Bloomington, Indiana from 2012 to 2018.
Josiah is a Graduate of Grove City College, where he met his wife, Brittany, competing on the Track and Field team together. Josiah and Brittany were married in 2009, and then lived Tennessee where Josiah coached Track and Field and Cross Country at East Tennessee State University and Milligan College from 2009 to 2012.
Josiah and Brittany enjoy spending time with family and friends in the Pittsburgh area, participating in endurance sports, and are dedicated to finding out which coffee shops in Pittsburgh make the best cookies.
Josiah is currently completing a Master of Art's in Christian Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.