Nathan W. Bingham
Connecting in a Hyper-Connected World

6 Reasons Prayer Is Necessary


Is prayer a waste of time? After all, God is sovereign, knowing what we’re going to pray and what we need even before we ask. Isn’t it an attack against God to even ask, suggesting God was somehow sleeping on the job?

John Calvin records similar objections to prayer in his Institutes of the Christian Religion and responds with the following six reasons why prayer is necessary:

1. Prayer is necessary so “that our hearts may be fired with a zealous and burning desire ever to seek, love and serve him, while we become accustomed in every need to flee to him as to a sacred anchor.”

2. Prayer is necessary so “that there may enter our hearts no desire and no wish at all of which we should be ashamed to make him a witness, while we learn to set all our wishes before his eyes, and even to pour out our whole hearts.”

3. Prayer is necessary so “that we be prepared to receive his benefits with true gratitude of heart and thanksgiving, benefits that our prayer reminds us come from his hand [cf. Ps. 145:15-16].”

4. Prayer is necessary so “having obtained what we were seeking, and being convinced that he has answered our prayers, we should be led to meditation upon his kindness more ardently.”

5. Prayer is necessary so “that at the same time we embrace with greater delight those things which we acknowledge to have been obtained by prayers.”

6. Prayer is necessary so “that use and experience may, according to the measure of our feebleness, confirm his providence, while we understand not only that he promises never to fail us, and of his own will opens the way to call upon him at the very point of necessity, but also that he ever extends his hand to help his own, not wet-nursing them with words but defending them with present help.”

“[The Lord] ordained [prayer] not so much for his own sake but for ours.” – John Calvin

May your days, and mine, be filled with prayer (cf. 1 Thes. 5:17)

This is a reformatted version of a post originally published here in 2009