Prayer: The Litmus Test of Our Reliance on God
“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD”—Proverbs 21:31. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God”—Psalm 20:7. “The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue”—Psalm 33:16-17.
What do these verses have in common? They all remind us not to trust in our own efforts or abilities but instead to put our confidence in God.
But how do we know if we’re truly relying on God or not? I once heard someone say that prayer is the litmus test of our reliance upon God. The true level of how much we’re relying on God is seen in our prayer life.
Of course, God already knows what we need. He knows what’s going on and what we’re trying to do. So why does he want us to pray? That’s the question C. S. Lewis asks and answers in one of his books in the Narnia series entitled The Magician’s Nephew. And he does it through the plot of his fictional story.
You see, there’s a majestic, stately Lion, named Aslan, who represents Jesus. And Aslan sends these children named Diggory and Polly out on a mission. But as they journey on their mission, they find themselves hungry and without food when they set up camp for the night. So they talk about their need for food with the horse who’s carrying them around (remember, it’s a fictional story). And they wonder why Aslan has allowed them to be in this situation without enough food. Polly asks the horse, “Wouldn’t Aslan know about our need for food without being asked?” And the horse responds very insightfully, “I’ve no doubt he would, but I’ve a sort of an idea he likes to be asked.”
God likes to be asked. He knows what we need even before we ask him, but he wants us to ask anyway so that we can be reminded on a regular basis how weak we are and how desperately we need him. That’s not the way we naturally think, but we need to think that way, and prayer helps us think that way.