Most people go to God in prayer when we have a need or a want. When we are in need of healing. If we need a new job. Family members in a bad situation etc. Sometimes God answers the prayer and other times that prayers seem like they go unanswered. I started thinking about this and the question that I started thinking about is “What is the real purpose of prayer?” Since we already determined that we can trust the bible in my last post (Can The Bible Be Trusted?) Lets go to the bible to see what it ways.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:5-8)
In this passage of scripture, Jesus is talking about prayer. I highlighted the last part of verse eight because that is where I want to focus on. God knows what you need before you ask in prayer… So why ask?
What Happens When You Have a Prayer Request?
As Christians, when we have a need there are a few things that we do (or should do) first. We need to repent for our sins so that there is nothing hindering our prayers (Psalm 66:18). We should read our bible to see if what we are asking for lines up with scripture (Psalm 37:4). In doing that we should find bible verses that support what we are praying for. Also, we should boldly approach God by the blood of Jesus with confidence knowing that we can ask for anything that is within His will for our lives (1 John 5:14). Now, I know that there is more that we can do (fasting, giving etc) but I’m just outlining this at a high level and although we do all these things, there is no guarantee that the answer to our prayer will be in our favour. This leads me to my next point.
Prayer Is Not Your Attempt to Control God
If you are a Christian and have a need in your life, we are tought to pray to God so that He can intervene in your situation and cause the outcome to work in your favour. God can totally do this and cause his miraculous power to be displayed in your life. I know I’m not the only one who has prayed for something to work out a certain way and God not answer the prayer in the way I intended. This is a very important point. By us praying, we are not going to convince God into doing things our way. Prayer is not a means of controlling God so that things always work out in our favour. God is sovereign and He is love. He will always do what is best for us even when we don’t fully understand what the best is.
So What’s It Really About?
I like to say that God uses heavenly psychology to get us to learn and grow. He knows exactly what buttons to push in our lives or how long we need to stay in a situation so that we would become the person that He intends us to become. The needs that we bring to God in our prayer request serve as our meeting place with our Heavenly Father. When you think about how much God desires to have fellowship with us, its only natural that He would allow us to have needs and desires that He alone can answer and keep us in that situation as long as we need to be in it. As we are in that situation of need or desire, we express our dependence and reliance on Him to bring a resolution. Bringing our request to him on a daily basis causes our communication and relationship with God to deepen. As this happens, we grow closer to God which is what I believe he is after. He wants to fellowship with us. This is the reason why Jesus came to the earth. To reconcile man back onto God (2 Corinthians 5:18). God uses our natural needs and desires so that we can come to Him with it and as a result, grow spiritual through our reading or the bible, regular prayer, worship and devotional times.
New Approach to Prayer
So lets look at it like this. Lets still bring our prayer request to God regularly. Both needs and desires. After we present our request, lets ask God to search our hearts and help us to mature and grow into who He has called us to be. With the rest of our prayer time, lets not continually repeat the same things over and over again like the pagans did, but lets just fellowship with God. Lets spend more of our prayer time praising God for the things that he has done and for who he is. During our prayer time lets remember the mighty acts that have been written down in the bible and even the mighty acts that God has done in your own life. We all have a testimony. Lets focus on building a strong relationship with God through our prayer lives as He uses our prayer request (needs and desires) to keep us in close fellowship with Him.
One of my next projects that I am working on right now is the Faith Fight Podcast. It will be released soon. It will be all about prayer and help you grow in your own prayer life. To be updated when I release the first episodes, click here to subscribe. I want you to be encouraged and grow from level to level for Gods glory.
Until next time. Be blessed.