Why Christians Pray
Christians Pray for Deliverance
A few years back I was listening to Dr. Laura on the radio. Dr. Laura, a Jew, was listening to a Christian woman talking about her walk through a scary neighborhood. The woman said she prayed for God's protection as she passed along the streets, while trying to get to someone who needed her help. The subject was about why she was going through the neighborhood, not that she prayed for protection.
I was shocked when Dr. Laura said (paraphrasing), "You prayed that God would protect you? Did you think that God loved you more than the children who died in war-torn countries? How dare you?"
The caller must have been surprised, because it took her a while to recover before she finally said, "I didn't mean to make it sound that way."
As I thought back on that, and as I reviewed doctrine and mandates in the Bible, I realized that Dr. Laura had presented an errant premise on her accusation: If someone dies, it doesn't mean God didn't love them. In fact, it could mean God loved them more, because He was bringing them to His side. It's possible His increased love or concern for some children or for some people is a cause for their death, so that they don't suffer the terrible things that face them in this miserable world. This could draw a valid rebuttal arising from the fact that there are "good people" who truly do suffer unspeakable horrors in this word. But that is fodder for a different discussion, though I wish to add the argument that God's ways are so far above ours, that we can't begin to understand why He does one thing for group A, but another thing for group B. He has His purposes, which, in the end, I feel we will some day understand. Another possible argument -- and this is just one of many -- is that if God sees that a person can endure great tribulation -- and survive it -- then He will permit it so that this person can grow stronger than the power that created that adversity.
I'm convinced that innocent people who die do not suffer, even though it may appear they're suffering. To understand why I think this, see my hub about the suffering quotient of innocent people. When we die, death is sweet to us if we die in the Lord: Proverbs 3:22-25: "So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh." I've seen where death or adversity has brought a surviving family closer together -- evidence of a motive for allowing the death or affliction.
When a Christian feels she's in danger, she has the right to pray for "protection" or "deliverance." We have been invited to do so. Here is a scripture to support that: Luke 21:36 says, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." Note the word "may." This shows that it's possible our prayers will help us, unless God wills otherwise. And if He doesn't, we'll at least arrive "before the Son of man," because we believed, and acted on it.
We know that God may not answer our prayer, as shown in the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:11: "...Thy will be done..."), but that part is up to the Lord. Our responsibility is to "pray always."
Yes, we try to avoid danger, but we can't always do so. Therefore, we depend on God to at least comfort us or our loved ones, or to help us weather the storm. He either complies, or He comforts us. Sometimes -- the Christian way being that of focussing on helping others -- we tend to put our own safety on a back burner in our attempt to be of service, as was the case of the caller to Dr. Laura's program. Often, such a prayer for protection is for the purpose of allowing us to help our neighbors, or those we care about. A mother's prayer for protection is often really so that she can be there for her children. I've seen this mentality many times.
A word about God permitting murders: We know that God will send murderers to their reward. But He can't do it, unless the person has murdered someone. The murdered victim serves as a testimony against the perpetrator, and he or she goes through a "sweet" transition as shown in the Proverbs verse above (see my hub on suffering). With the murder now having been committed, it will be just to punish someone as a murderer.
One more word about the necessity of prayer: All Christians admit that we are unworthy to ask for blessings from God. Our sinful nature has rendered us as unable to receive blessings from heaven. But there is one key element that fixes this: The Atonement. Because Jesus gave his life for us, We are made partakers of heavenly blessings. But it's only through Jesus that we are able to receive these blessings. Therefore, we must ask God for our blessings, **in the name of Jesus Christ** (John 16:23). That is the key. Prayer is the vehicle that allows this process to happen.
This hub is not meant to convert anyone to Christianity. It's purpose is mainly to show why Christians can feel justified for praying to God for protection, guidance and comfort.