1. The purpose of prayer is to position our minds and hearts according to God’s purposes
There are many misconceptions about what the purpose of prayer is. Enacted because we have not fully appreciated the lesson that Jesus gave to his own disciples when they asked about the subject. Often times when we think about prayer we see it as one-way communication. That means that we are the ones speaking and God is the one listening. But this misses an important aspect of the relationship we have a God.
The reality is that God is not merely interested in hearing what we have to ask of him. Even though he invites us to do it. We have to recognize that God is interested in speaking to us. That doesn’t mean we will always find it easy to hear what he has to say. But God has spoken. And God will continue to speak. The question is will we recognize his voice when he does?
This is what prayer seeks to find an answer for. Not only can we communicate with God and to God what is on our hearts and in our minds, but God can speak to us and share with us what he feels we must know.
2. The reality of prayer can be difficult when we merely desire for God to satisfy our whims
Related to the purpose of prayer is understanding that prayer can at times be difficult. God is not some divine Santa Claus who is sitting in heaven waiting for his children to offer him all the reasons he should fulfill their requests. That is not what prayer should be. And yet many of us have made it that or something similar.
There is a deeper reality that God is seeking to create within us. And that is to make us and conform us into the image of his son Jesus Christ. That we might live in accordance with his purposes and fulfill his will. So how has God determined to provide us this information? Through a listening for the prompting of his Spirit as our ears have been trained through the reading of his word.
The Bible serves us as teacher to train our ears to recognize the voice of God. When we merely read the Scripture to increase our knowledge we silence what God is trying to say through his revealed word. Yes, we can learn from the Scripture, but I think it is more important that we learn to listen by the Scriptures.
3. The power of prayer is found when we surrender our will to that of God’s.
There is a power to prayer that is oftentimes left unused and unseen. The power of prayer will be experienced when we are no longer trying to cajole God into doing what we want. When we stop and listen and learn what it is God desires we become more able to do what God has revealed to us.
Of the many challenges associated with praying, one of the greatest is understanding that when we surrender our limited understanding to God’s infinite wisdom we will come out better in the end. And so prayer functions in our lives to reveal those areas of our lives where we are not truly surrendered to God’s will.