Some good thoughts on ‘prayer’ from the late Dr. Alvin Rogness:
“All sorts of reasons can be found for the futility of prayer. Why pray to a God who already knows what we need? He loves us, His children the world over, even when we ignore Him. Certainly He cannot withhold His blessings until we remind Him or press Him. There have been times when I have thought that He has told us to ask for all sorts of things, even trivial things, because He wants us to talk to Him. After all, it would be strange for members of the family never to communicate at all with their father. So I pray. I ask for health for myself and for my dear ones. I have along and assorted catalog—safety, security, guidance. On a Sunday morning I join the prayers of the congregation: “defend thy church…give it pastors according to thy Spirit…preserve our nation in righteousness and honor…sanctify our home…comfort all who are in sorrow and need….” I assume that God wants all these values for us long before we ask for them. I also assume that He will not, in some sort of pique, let these blessings lie in His celestial warehouse undelivered unless we ask for them. Yet we pray.
There are other difficulties. We pray for health, and health ebbs away. We pray for safety, and a dear one is struck down in the streets. We pray for the end of war, and wars grind on. I dare not put limits on God. What He may do or be able to do in the wake of my prayers… I leave to Him.
A friend of mine, more cautious than I, said, “Prayer does not change things; it changes you.” Of course it changes me. I am in God’s presence when I pray and am therefore exposed to Him and to the powers that surge from Him. But I must disagree with my friend. I believe that in some mysterious way prayer also changes things — maybe the chemistry of the body, the hearts of people I pray for, the turn of events, even the shape of history. How this can be, I cannot know. But God has invited me to pray; in fact ordered me to pray. He has assured me that I can dial Him direct, and the line will never be busy.
The more we pray, the more likely it is that we will spend more time thanking Him than requesting favors from Him.”