As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Psalm 42:1
Why do you pray?
Some of you, when you hear that question, want to start asking a whole bunch of other questions. If God is really in control, if God really knows everything, why even pray? Those are really good questions. I’ve asked those questions, myself, and they still rattle around in my brain sometimes.
But that’s not really what I’m asking. My questions is “Why do you pray?”
When my kids were in middle and high school. . . That introductory dependent clause itself was reason enough to pray back then. Sorry, I used to teach high school English for a living.
Anyway, I remember taking the kids to Kings Island for what seemed like the tenth time of the summer. Those are long day days, my battle-hardened parent friends. Seth finally convinced me to go on the “Xtreme SkyFlyer” ride with him. You had to pay extra, and I’m really cheap. I could always use that as an excuse, but then they lowered the price to five bucks.
It’s all blurry in my mind now, but I remember some type of crane taking us up at least 100 feet, maybe 1000 feet, in the air. Suspended in mid-air, strapped in with some flimsy harness, you had to pull the cord, and then fly through air. I was so scared and shaking so much, I had to make my sixth-grade son pull the cord. As he pulled the cord, all I can remember is crying out, “Help me, Jesus!” I felt like I had been punched in the gut and sounded like that, too.
That’s why I pray.
I pray when I’m desperate and I’m dependent. When you think you’re going to go splat on the ground unless somebody intervenes, you tend to pray. When you find out you have cancer and you have to pull your kids out of class and tell them, you tend to pray “Help me, Jesus!” prayers.
That’s a good prayer, especially when it’s honest. My problem is that so much of the time I’m not desperate enough to really believe that I need God to intervene. I am my own independent clause. I can stand alone.
David prayed a lot because he was desperate. He needed God like a deer needs water. He created most of his own problems and paid dearly for his sins. But he could pray. And God heard his prayers.
God wants to hear your prayers, too. Especially when you’re desperate, and He knows that you mean it.
Help me, Jesus, I need you. I cannot do this on my own.