The front-page headline from the New York Daily News following a mass shooting in December screamed “God Isn’t Fixing This,” and various other outlets ran articles deriding people for offering “thoughts and prayers” to those involved.
It was an attack on Christianity and prayer, but it did raise several questions that deserve an answer: Why do we pray? Does prayer change anything? Are there any real benefits to prayer?
Of course, prayer has volumes of books written about it, so to stay within the confines of a single article I’ll have to summarize fairly succinctly. The big picture and bottom line for believers is twofold:
1. We are commanded to pray, and it is a daily reaffirmation that we are acknowledging that God is God, and we are not.
“Do not be anxious about anything, 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 understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
2. We are to follow Jesus’ example.
He came for two reasons: To save us from our sins and to show us how we are to live our lives.