I used to really dislike praying. I loved talking to God intermittently throughout my day, but I avoided taking time to intentionally pray over situations or people. It’s not because I didn’t have the words to say, or because I didn’t have the desire to see change. I didn’t do it because I didn’t understand why I should. The will of God would happen anyway… right?
It all starts in the beginning, and I mean the very beginning. Genesis 1:26-28.
“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.””
Alright, let’s break it doooown.
To be made in the likeness of God is not just to be a little like him. The Hebrew word here is “dmuwth” which means resemblance. When creation looks at us, they see someone that looks like God. It’s like when you meet a child for the first time but you already know their parents, and you’re like “that is definitely their kid.”
We were also made in God’s image, which is different. The Hebrew word used here is “tselem.” This means representation. In other words, we were made to represent God on earth. The earth still belongs to God, but he uses us to accomplish his will and manage the earth, which connects to the last part.
God told humanity (which is Adam… his name literally means mankind) to rule over the living creatures. The Hebrew word for rule here is “radah,” which is like the royal position of a king. As God’s representation, we have authority over all living things and are to rule them like He would: with compassion and truth.
So what does this have to do with prayer? Well, let me tell you.
If God made mankind to represent Him on earth and gave mankind the authority over the earth, then God needs us to accomplish His will. Please don’t misunderstand me here. God does not need us because he can’t accomplish his will on his own. He needs us because at the beginning of time he decided to run the world in partnership with humanity. He is always honoring his word. God is so committed to partnering with mankind, that Jesus went and got our authority back after we gave it away when we sinned in the garden. God really likes people. He is willing to let us mess things up, because relationship with us is so important to him. I don’t understand it, but I’m eternally grateful for it.
Prayer is a major way we accomplish God’s will on the earth. I like to think of it this way: When I pray I am actually pulling the will of heaven onto the earth. The will of heaven that would not be on earth unless I, or other believers, prayed for it. And lucky for us, Jesus even told us how to pray. Matthew 6:9-13.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.””
Everything God speaks has purpose. I trust Jesus didn’t tell us to pray for God’s will for no reason. There are spiritual forces at work all the time, and we have the awesome authority to release angels and God’s hand through our words. Our partnership through prayer is how God moves on the earth, and that my friends, is why we need to pray.
To be clear, it is God’s power, not our own. But we get to use it! Your prayers have POWER. REAL power.
Prayer connects to the topics of spiritual warfare, predestination, the power of the holy spirit, and why there is suffering. This is what I consider to be the foundation of understanding prayer. This topic is really important to me, and I know suggesting that God needs us to accomplish his will can be uncomfortable, so please don’t hesitate to comment any questions or thoughts! Your ideas are welcome and cherished by me.
PS. I have suggestions on reading material for anyone who wants to know more.