Many people who call themselves Christians know the importance of prayer. But if you ask them how often they pray, they would struggle to say it. Prayer is something that we have all heard about. We know that God has repeatedly commanded Christians to pray to him, yet Christians don’t always know why God has commanded them to pray.

The interesting thing is that we are all like that. Is it not amazing that we know that God wants us to pray, but many cannot explain why he wants us to pray? He has stated in his Word that Christians must pray to him. Many volumes of books have been written about prayer, yet very few Christians take the time to know why God commands them to pray.

Every employee only works well and to the superior’s satisfaction when he knows the reason why his superior has given him that work. It is possible for you to be in the category of people we are describing here. When you know why God commands prayer, you will come to him often and appropriately. The question we are dealing with in this article is, why does God want us to pray? There are many reasons why God has commanded Christians to pray. Yet due to limited space, I will deal with only three.

Jesus spoke about prayer quite often and even taught his disciples about prayer. This shows that God places great importance on prayer, and he has emphasized it in the Bible. When you read the Bible, you immediately notice what happened whenever the people of God prayed. We notice that the focus of prayer was God. God already knew the needs of his people and when he invited them to pray he was calling them to a life of obedience. Do you look at obedience as the first line of command in prayer?

When you look at your prayer lifestyle, what value have you attached to God’s Word? This is the test of your obedience and the first step in appreciating why God wants us to come to him in prayer. Let me state here that God does not only want Christians to bring their praise items and requests to him. He wants them to learn from him. This is because prayer is an act of worship in which we adore and pay homage to him. In Philippians 4:6–7, the apostle Paul records, “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.”

With that in mind, let us see the three reasons why God commanded us to pray:

  1. God’s command to pray is not meant to just inform him of our needs, but to bring us to him in worship

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt. 6:7–8). This passage of scripture shows that God is all knowing. He already knows what we need. He knows everything even before that need crosses our mind.

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars” (2 Chr. 16:9). This statement makes us wonder and ask the question, “Why then does God want us to pray when he already knows our needs! That is a valid question. It is important to note that there is more to our praying than just having our needs met. In prayer, we worship. Since God commands us to pray, our positive response is an act of worship. It is giving God the honour that is due to him. In John 14:15, we are told that obedience to God’s commands is an act of worship to him. It is the sure evidence that we love him.

God commands us to admit our needs and petitions to him. We do that because we want God to be involved in our day-to-day affairs of our lives. We find a demonstration of this in 1 Sam. 1:4–9. Hannah, the wife of Elkanah was without child. She petitioned God for a child. It was the Lord’s will that she remained with no child at that time. The Lord God later opened her womb and she conceived, and bore a child whom she named Samuel. God knew that Hannah needed a child, but he closed her womb, and as a result she constantly came to God in prayer over the matter. The result of her situation was worship to God. This is well illustrated by her prayer in 1 Samuel 2:1–10. God was involved in the life of Hannah and her husband. They petitioned God in prayer and participated in the religious activities of their day.

In the same way, God met Moses in the burning bush. It was time that God communed with Moses. God gave his commands and Moses gave his excuses. Each time he gave an excuse, God gave the answer to the excuse. God knew everything about him, but Moses needed to communicate with God. As a result, Moses became a changed man whom God used to confront Pharaoh and to lead his people out of Egyptian bondage. God wants us to put him at the centre of our lives. The command to pray is meant to involve God in our daily lives and affairs. If we pray to God and involve him in our lives, our ministry to impact the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ will be realised.

  1. God’s command to pray is not meant to change God, but to change us

God is at work in our lives as his children. In the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 8:29, God is seeking to conform us to the image of his Son. His command for us to pray is part of his working in bringing this to pass. This command is not meant to change God’s will on any given situation. It is meant to change us. In Judges 7:8, Gideon had an army of more than 30,000 men whom he had set to fight against the Midianites, and God told him to reduce the size of the army to 300 men. “Only 300?” you exclaim. Yes, only 300 men. These were to come against 135,000 Midianites. Was the victory possible? The victory was possible, but there was more to this than just the victory. God was at work in the life of Gideon.

And God was not going to change the strategy that he had employed to defeat the Midianites. It was Gideon who needed to change his understanding so that he conforms to the will of God. God wanted Gideon’s prayer to conform to the Lord’s will. Gideon’s prayer was not that God would change his mind and strategy of war by allowing him to increase the number of his army. His prayer was meant to reform his understanding of God’s will. Whenever you come before God in prayer you must pray earnestly that God changes you to enable you to conform to his will. Is that what you pray for? As you learn what it takes to truly pray, and you pray that way, you will be able to change your ways and ideas. Just imagine what the church would be if believers prayed asking God to change them to do their daily activities according to his will? The heresies of charismatics, cultism, hypocrisy, etc., would long be gone.

  1. God commands us to pray not because he needs us, but because we need him

Isaiah 40:14–18 says, “Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?”

God made us to serve him, not for God to serve us. He is complete in himself. If there were no other creatures in the universe, God would still be complete because he needs no one else. God created the human race not because he needed us, but rather for his pleasure. He created us to worship him. In prayer, we are offering service to God. We are worshipping him. As creatures, we are dependent on him who is our Creator.

We should not fool ourselves into thinking God needs us. We cannot help God by bringing human ideas into the worship of God. The contemporary church music that is embraced today to entice people to come to church is a contradiction of God’s intentions for worship.

God’s command for us to pray is the key to being made complete in Christ Jesus. History records men and women who gave themselves to prayer. The reason they did this was that they needed God. Even the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon used to pray whenever he mounted the pulpit, saying the words, “I believe in the Holy Spirit….” It was an expression of his dependence on God.

In the book of Acts, whenever the church came together in unity and prayed, God moved miraculously. We need God to move miraculously in our lives, and this can only happen through prayer.

Therefore, we pray, not just to inform God of our needs and requests, not to change him to our way of thinking and desires, not to get our will done, not because he needs us, but because we need him and desire to worship him.


M. Bounds, (1835-1913) “The Weapon of Prayer’’

Miller, Samuel, ‘Thoughts on Public Prayer’’ Sprinkle Publication

MacIntyre, David, 1859-1938), “The Hidden Life of Prayer”

Thomas L. Constable, published (2003) by Sonic Light,

E.M. Bounds, “The Necessity of Prayer” Baker Book House,