Why do we pray?

I was talking with some colleagues this morning and the question was posed, “what will motivate someone to pray?”  Our conversation started with the parameters around what some have labeled the Millennials and then branched out from there.

By the time we were bringing our conversation to a close, we’d simplified our answer and listed two things: RELATIONSHIP and CRISIS.

In a perfect world (we’ll be there once day, but not by our own striving), the RELATIONSHIP would be with God Himself and the CRISIS would be everything because we would understand clearly that we can’t do anything on our own and so we are totally dependent on Him. (And, knowing God as sovereign, gracious, engaged, unchanging, etc., the crisis would not cause panic, so it would not be overwhelming to see everything as crisis.)

In my imperfect world, it’s also very much about the RELATIONSHIP I have with those I’m praying for and about the CRISIS at hand that fells me to my knees in desperation.

With all this in mind, how can an organization like Wycliffe, for example, help strengthen relationships between current or potential intercessors and those for whom they pray?

And how can we share the criticality of their praying without sounding like the boy who cried wolf?

The short answer (apparently today was a day for short answers) is STORY and EXPERIENCE — which are, in my estimation, nearly the same thing.

Done well, STORY is EXPERIENCE and EXPERIENCE is STORY.

2 thoughts on “Why do we pray?

  1. Lois says:

    Ruth, as always, well said. We were just talking about something similar last night and I think the first part (relationship and crisis) makes a lot of sense. I guess the next part is how to tell the story/experience that draws others to feel the relationship and crisis and want to participate in it by praying.

    I think you do that very well in your blog. Usually I am familiar with the topics you talk about, but it still draws me into the story. I might only pray briefly, but I’ve still been brought in and am more likely to pray the next time I am reminded of that story.

    • Ruth Hubbard says:

      Thanks for your kind words about my blog, Lois — and for engaging in the conversation.

      I think that sometimes I can get to a place where I reduce my interactions with ministry parters to a level of information exchange rather than relationship. While information exchange happens in relationship, we all know the difference. While information might help people to know what to pray specifically, it won’t motivate them to intercede the same way that ongoing relationship does. At least that’s how I’m wired. I’m not sure how much of this is influenced by our own personalities and learning styles and love languages and all those other labels and categories we use to distinguish ourselves from each other.

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