Why pray?

In the wake of the deadly bombings and shootings in Paris, France in November, the world, shocked and saddened by the event, used the hashtag #PrayForParis on social media, offering up their heartbreak and condolences to Paris over the horrific ordeal. Amidst the chaos, prayers were lifted up on behalf of all the people involved: from France’s president, François Hollande, to the victims and their families, an outpouring of cries and petitions to Christ were had, whether those who prayed did so to Him or not.

While less televised by the media, the country of Nigeria has been suffering huge, traumatic losses as well. In the last week alone, at least 41 people have died in suicide bombings– one during a procession of Shi’ite muslims, and one in a mobile phone market— both perpetrated by Boko Haram. Although less known about by the world, it is no doubt an event that stirred up much prayer to Christ as well.

It is no secret that in a time of calamity, the word “prayer” and the act of praying are talked about frequently, to express the direness of the situation and the helplessness of man to act. But in all reality, what is it to “pray”? And to those who do actually “pray,” do we believe, in this day and age, that there is anything to “prayer”– that is to say, that it has any power?  Continue reading