I said in "Dangerously Close" that God is not a Sky Santa or Tooth Fairy. Of course that’s how atheists believe that He should be and when He doesn’t deliver, atheists throw a pout and pretend to ignore him. The atheist’s “logical” conclusion after first denying God’s existence is that prayer doesn’t work. Well, if your goal is to get Him to dance to whatever tune you choose to play, then, no, I suppose prayer doesn’t work.
On the other hand, there are some interesting verses regarding prayer. Two in particular grab my attention.
One, in 1st Thess. 5:16,17 - “Be joyful always, pray often and give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” The other says,
Philippians 4:6,7 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And (if you do this) the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
As I’ve matured in my relationship with God, I’ve realised that giving thanks is the appropriate response because God is already working in the situations that I’m likely to bring before my Creator.
Take care of these kids? He’s already rescued them from neglectful homes.
Watch over our congregation? It’s His Church
Help me be the kind of dad and husband you want me to be? He’s been doing that for decades.
Come into my pain and change me? That was His idea in the first place.
In reality, most of my prayers turn very quickly to a litany of "thank you" for all the wondrous gifts that God heaps on me. “Morning by morning new mercies I see.”
Why pray? You may as well ask, “Why talk to your wife?” Christianity is all about a relationship. Relationships thrive on communication. Relationships thrive on acknowledging the good that your partner has done for you. Thanking my wife for the role that she plays in my life is in part, acknowledging that I can't do this by myself. It's admitting that my life would be poorer if she was not in it.
It's exactly the same with my relationship with Jesus. Basking in the warmth of God’s love compels me to live a life of thanksgiving and praise.