Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Region: England, Wales and Northern Ireland

RE:QUEST

A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith

We are delighted to share with you our library of resources. You can use the filter feature below to find topics most relevant to your curriculum.

Prayer: Why do People Pray?

Why is it important?

 

Do you know anyone who prays? Some people pray regularly,  others don't pray at all. People pray in many ways for lots of reasons. Christians see prayer as an important part of their relationship with God, after all talking to a loved one is a normal part of life.

Sometimes people can struggle with the concept of talking to someone that can't be seen. People can wonder if they are talking to themselves. Praying to God isn't the same as having a conversation with a human being but Christians believe that it's important to be aware that God is present, He is listening and that He does answer. Watch this film to find out how Christians believe God speaks to them.

Christians believe that God is all-knowing, as well as always being present and all-powerful. So if God knows it all why pray?

Knowing that God already knows is a great place to start because you don't have to explain or put on a show for God; He is there for someone just as they are. Christians believe that prayer changes them and that it is about listening as well as talking. They also believe that God has given people free will, but that God loves people and wants to be involved in their lives.

By inviting God into their lives, Christians believe He can support people through struggles, comfort people with His presence and bless their lives. Christians believe that God should be involved in every aspect of life and celebrates with people in their joys and draws close to them in their sadnesses. Christians also believe that they are family together. When they pray they are joining with many others around the world who are doing the same.

Christians believe that as they spend time with God, they grow in love more. That helps them to understand God's will better and creates a greater awareness of what is going on and situations and people they should care about. Christians believe that it's important to be thankful when they pray and to have an attitude of thankfulness, remembering all the good things in their lives and in the world. Christians believe that it's still important to be thankful even when things are difficult.

Sometimes Christians find it helpful to praise God in prayer; it reminds them of how powerful He is and how they need to trust Him. Praying is an act of faith and believing that God can change a situation is an important reason Christians talk directly to God.

Catholic Christians also pray to the Virgin Mary and other saints but this is not the same as a prayer to God, it is more a request for the prayers of the saints on the person's behalf.

Intercession is an important part of prayer. It means to speak on behalf of someone and many Christians feel compelled to pray regularly by petitioning God on behalf of people or circumstances, asking God to help when a situation seems impossible. Christians use the Lord's prayer as Jesus' example of how to approach prayer and the line, 'your will be done' admits that God is in control and knows the right response.

Why not hear what the Archbishop of York has to say about prayer or watch this film about how some Christians like to pray.

Some Christians share their thoughts on prayer: "You don’t have to talk in a special way when you pray, just be yourself." "There is no right or wrong way to pray. Don’t be afraid to try new things. You don’t have to pray hands together, eyes closed - that was probably designed to help children concentrate. You could keep a prayer journal or go on a prayer walk." "Prayer isn’t always easy but God always answers prayers. It may not be in your timing or quite the answer you wanted but he never ignores you." "Prayers can be answered quickly or it can take years. Sometimes you have to be patient and persistent." "Prayer is a discipline we have to learn. It doesn’t always come naturally and can take practise." "Answers to prayer can be through lots of things, including other people. Sometimes you can be an answer to prayer for someone."