Jeremy McGarity
December 4, 2007

Why Pray? The Problem with Valleys and Mountaintops

Ever wonder, Why Pray? Seriously, do you ever feel like it's a practice in futility? We all do at times. I guess I've come to the realization that praying isn't about getting what I want. It isn't about making me feel good (a lot of times I don't feel good after a time of prayer, probably because God has revealed a stain in me that is dogged to get out).

Why pray? Things aren't supposed to be easy. I guess I used to pray so that the road would be smoother, the grass would be greener and the valleys not so deep. But, what if God wanted to take me through a valley, to see what's down there, to learn some new lessons that I couldn't learn on the mountain? What if as He was walking me down that valley I was oblivious, just kind of meandering along, feeling like all is well in myopia? Then, bamboon...the mountaintop seems far away and God with it. One would think the valley should draw one closer to God.

The dichotomus problematis is that in the valley one doesn't want to pray. The natural inclination is to turn from God. Say things like, "God how could you lead me here?" "I don't like valleys, I like mountaintops!" "If that's the kind of God you are....I will find a way on my own." It's in the valleys that we see what we're made of. What comes out when faced with the challenge of climbing that hill again to the mountaintop? Many people make a home in the valley. A settlement called "Failsville." And we gather together with other settlers. We talk about the mountaintop and what it was like and how we were abandoned to this place but we're going to make the most out of it but, but, but, but,....and soon the valley becomes our new mountaintop.

I've realized when I've been in a valley God hasn't abandoned me to the valley but he cares so much for me that he wants to teach me some things about life, some things about Himself, some things about other people that I simply cannot learn on the mountaintop.

When I pray I realize it's not a condition for a "swell day." It's not a condition for a problem free day. It's simply a condition for my relationship with Jesus to grow. That's it. No lucky charm, no problem free day, no special button that says, "My student prayed to me today." Simply Jesus...Simply enough reason to pray...really.

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