Why Should I Pray?
Elements of my personal experience
In a flash, I saw my entire life roll before my eyes. I prayed to God intensely. I told him that I was ready to join him in heaven, according to his will, me, his legitimate child. A young man was driving his mother’s car without permission and without a driver’s license. His radio was playing loudly. Distracted, he did not see the red light and ran into our car at full speed.
The force of the impact was tremendous. Our car did several 360 degree spins. I remember my husband’s short hair flying in the air. I gripped the steering wheel, trying desperately to avoid the accident that had just occurred. The car was in very bad shape, but we were safe and sound, thanking God.
Once we got out of our car, the young man came to meet us. He asked for our forgiveness for driving so recklessly. We experienced the mercy of God, and we spoke to him with mercy. We were, and still are, so thankful that God had spared us! Our relationship with our Father became stronger because of what happened that day.
At that time, we did not understand how we would experience our Father's benevolence, again and again, during the years to come. According to Colossians 4:2-4, we are strongly encouraged to persevere in prayer. On his website www.desiringgod.org, John Piper discusses these verses and mentions that God wants us to devote ourselves to prayer. God desires that we let him know all things through prayer with all of our hearts .
A few years after the car accident, our family would be given another opportunity for intense prayer. Around 2 a.m. on a cold, snowy February night, we were awakened by a few loud bangs. At first, I was unable to identify what it was and where it was coming from. We rapidly discovered that someone was on our front porch. He was hitting the door forcefully and repeatedly. It was a home invasion attempt.
While I grabbed the telephone, I cautiously moved the curtain and saw a man trying to enter our home. My husband set up a plan in case the man succeeded in breaking the door. I dialed 911. Twenty long minutes later a patrol car came to our house (the officers were busy responding to other calls). The potential intruder was gone, but I was able to give a good description of that person. The policemen wrote a complete report before leaving. What a memorable night!
Still shaken, before going to bed, we went to see if our girls were all right. The answer of our eldest was, “Do not worry, Mom and Dad, we were praying all along.” God had taken care of us, one more time. On the next day, we discovered that since the intruder had not succeeded in entering our home, he had damaged our car. Usually we would have to go to the police station to obtain the report, but instead, the two policemen came back to our house with the report. We had a wonderful opportunity to show our appreciation to the policemen by sharing the Gospel with them. They were surprised, and they gladly welcomed the New Testament offered to them.
During those two emergency events, we prayed intensely. I believe that between those two separate occasions, our prayer life deepened. Our prayers became more precise, clearer with stronger supplications. Our lives were marked by those events and so was our commitment in prayer.
According to the Gospel and from my small experience, God wants us to pray with personal, intelligent prayers, in conformity with his Word. Prayers are not general formulas but rather inclusive and caring. An authentic life of prayer starts with the most important prayer: the one of a repentant soul, entering in communion with God. In one of his books, Ils sont nés deux fois (BornTwice, title freely translated, available only in French), Alfred Kuen wrote that the desire to speak with God came to Billy Graham only when he came to know the Lord personally.
My prayer life really started when I first recognized that I was a sinner before my Creator, when I confessed my sins and when I received Christ as my personal Lord and Saviour. Since that day, I have followed the example of my parents, who are repentant and totally submitted to Christ. Willingly and on their knees, they were (and still are) gladly and fervently praying.
Prayer fortifies my relationship with God, and my meetings with him are most important. I want to be transformed by his example. Christ himself struggled in prayer, showing us how to pray according to the will of the Father. “Even the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).
I was quite edified by the book Disciplines of a Godly Woman in which Barbara Hughes describes the five elements of prayer: meditation, confession, worship, submission and supplication. According to my experience, we must develop an attitude of prayer, willing to pray at a moment’s notice. We must not forget that we are in a spiritual warfare.
Prayer requires discipline for each of us to have special moments with our Heavenly Father. We all remember the verse, “pray without ceasing.” Our prayers underline what kind of relationship we have with the Lord. It requires humility, submission and respect toward God, according to his Word. It is a special conversation, intimate and personal with him.
Prayer is not only vertical, but it also implies a horizontal outlook. I seek and treasure all occasions to intercede for others, for those who are struggling, who are facing particular situations. For example, I learned a few month ago that one of my cousins, a Christian for more than 30 years, had a cerebral vascular attack. I was urged to go immediately to the hospital to pray for him. He was in the intensive care unit and was not conscious. God allowed me to pray quickly in his room, even though (technically) I was not authorised to visit. I feel burdened for him and so do the many people of his congregation. This brother in Christ is now starting to walk. His struggles are not over yet, and I continue to pray for him and his wife, children and parents. God is at work in that Christian family.
We will never stop praying to our Heavenly Father, and we will never finish perfecting our prayer life. Unexpected circumstances, authorized by God, prepare us to seek this unique communion with him in prayer, according to the “power of the Word of God and in the promise of his Spirit.”
Danielle Robidoux, a passionate prayer warrior, wife and mother of two daughters, is the editor of L’Essor – La Revue Baptiste Évangélique en Ligne, the francophone edition of Thrive – the EB online.
 Please, see the Web site : www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/devote-yourselves-to-prayer
2 Powlison, David Seeing With New Eyes: Counselling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture, P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, New Jersey (2003), second chapter.
3 Hughes, Barbara, Disciplines of a Godly Woman, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Illinois, chapter four.