Last time I talked about prayer. After I'd posted I realized I'd done something dumb. It's the kind of thing adults do with youth all the time and the kind of thing church people do to non-church people.
I'd talked about the "How" of prayer before I'd talked about the "Why". If you don't have any reason why to do it why would you care how to do it?
The real problem is that for those of us who already are working on it the why usually boils down to "Well, because you have to/are supposed to/that's the way we've always done/stop pestering me with these questions!" It's simply such a part of who we are we don't think about it much any more.
But that's no excuse and not much help to you if you're not sure about this whole prayer thing. I've got to admit from the outside the whole "I'm talking to God" thing seems a lot like the character in the movie "Harvey" who talks with a six foot tall invisible rabbit. It certainly looks like someone needs their screws tightened.
So why pray?
Hmm, theological answers first. Because God has been pretty clear he wants us to and Jesus did. If it was good enough for the Big JC it's good enough for me.
Not good enough for you? OK.
Because it helps us look a little deeper, to think things out, to take burdens that just feel too damn big to carry and hand them over for a little while. When I'm praying (and you'll recall from last time that my prayer style is, shall we say, casual)I'm placing my thoughts into a holy place. I'm amazed at how much different they often look in the light of that place. Don't worry if you're not sure you've got the "holy place" stuff down perfect. It isn't necessary. God will work with you wherever you are. As with any conversation it's very important to listen. As much to yourself as for God (for the record I've never had God speak in words to me. But I have gotten some very clear communications from the Big Fella. I'm not sure how to explain what that means. It's one of those you'll know it when you get there things. No special effects, flashes of lightning. Just knowing.) Some of my best prayer moments is when God just kind of reruns what I just said and I go "Umm, wow. That was really stupid. Let me keep working on that one"
Why do I pray? Because it comforts me. It teaches me. It consoles me. It gave me courage one night driving through a blizzard all by myself out in the middle of nowhere. It's given me strength at times when I was pretty sure I was empty. Prayer has been a time to vent, to just really give God a piece of my mind. And that kept me from turning that on someone who couldn't handle it or didn't deserve it.
I pray because it makes me feel closer to God.
You'll need to find your own personal "why". You may want to experiment with someone else's "why" but don't let anyone force you into one particular "why" or another. Find the one that works for you.
God will be happy to hear from you, no matter what.