The Purpose of Prayer



“The purpose of prayer is emphatically not to bend God’s will to ours, but
rather to align our will to his.” John Stott, The Message of Romans.
Our spiritual discipline emphasis this month has been on prayer. Last week I
wrote about enriching your pryaer life by getting beyond “prayer request”
only prayers. There is a deep longing in our hearts for communion with God
and prayer is the means God has given for us to be able to do this.
Some have wondered if God hears our prayers or, if prayer really changes
anything? C. S. Lewis has offered an insightful response:
“Can we believe that God ever modifies His action in
response to the suggestions of man? For infinite wisdom does
not need telling what is best, and infinite goodness needs no
urging to do it. But neither does God need any of those things
that are done by finite agents, whether living or inanimate.
He could, if He chose, repair our bodies miraculously without
food; or give us food without the aid of farmers, bakers, and
butchers; or knowledge without the aid of learned men; or
convert the heathen without missionaries. Instead, He allows
soils and weather and animals and the muscles, minds, and wills
of men to cooperate in the execution of His will. “God”, says
Pascal, “instituted prayer in order to lend to His creatures
the dignity of causality.” But it is not only prayer; whenever
we act at all, He lends us that dignity. It is not really
stranger, nor less strange, that my prayers should affect the
course of events than that my other actions should do so.”
And so as we come around the corner to another month’s end, I hope you will
take advantage of this rich gift God has given us in prayer. It is a means
of expressing our worship to God. It carries our confessions of sin, our
cries for mercy, and our heartfelt thanks for God’s generosity in our lives.
Prayer provides a place where we can simply commune with the Lord, sometimes
to speak, sometimes to listen. And it is in prayer we lay our burdens down
at His feet and wait in silence for His wisdom, His perspective, His peace.
I hope you use prayer to place yourself before God so He can renew, refresh,
and transform you.
The Village Chapel
Rethinking Church: New Forms for Ancient Truths


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