How to Know When to Pray

Prayer is one of the divine privileges granted to God’s children. The Bible says, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” (I John 5:14, 15).
Since prayer is a gift to be used wisely. we ought to be aware of the times when prayer will benefit us the most.
1. Times of worship call for prayer.
In Acts 12, while Peter’ was being held prisoner by the Jews in Jerusalem, we read of the church being gathered together in one place and making prayer for him (Acts 12:5)
When God’s people come together for any reason, especially worship and Bible study, they ought to offer prayers to God. Prayer brings us closer to God, and makes our worship of Him more meaningful to us.
2. Times of worry call for prayer.
Jesus warned us about the “cares of this world” and how they could choke out the word of God from a hearer’s heart (Luke 8:14).
Worry is wasteful. Not an ounce of work gets done while we worry about how hard the work is going to be.
Worry is worthless. Jesus asks the worrying Christian, “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (Matt. 6:27) A person has never grown an inch by worrying about how short he is.
Worry is wicked. Again Jesus says, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Of, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek)… “ (Matt. 6:31, 32). Jesus said that only the heathen, that is, the “Gentiles,” worry about things like food, drink, and clothing.
Prayer is the cure for the ailment of anxiety. Paul prescribes, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil. 4:6,7).
3. Times of weakness call for prayer.
When we are sick, or suffering, or have sinned, we are usually at a very low point in our spiritual lives. James tells us to pray, “Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray…the prayer of faith shall save the sick…Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:13-16).
Jesus endured tremendous torment the night He was betrayed and arrested by praying to the Heavenly Father: “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39). If prayer helped our Savior, it will also help us cope with the difficulties we are facing.
Lots of work, even doing good things for others, can drain us and leave us wavering. If we will pray it through, we can find more strength. We should “continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving” (Col. 4:2). And, remember “always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).
And take to heart the words of this song: “O, how praying rests the weary, prayer will change the night to day. So when life seems dark and dreary, don’t forget to pray.”