What is the purpose of prayer? As I said in an earlier post I am spending the next year trying to really focus on prayer.
I have been trying to read a lot about it, reading through the prayers in the Bible, reading prayers by others and talking to people about prayer (and actually praying, thought I might clarify that). It seems the more I talk to people the more answers I get, some certain, some not so sure and then some with no clue. This Sunday I am preaching on the topic of prayer at Westhill and I am really excited about it. I really want to get more opinions from people on the purpose of prayer, so what do you think?
Sometimes we are left wondering, did God actually get the message? Is He listening? God I have been praying the same prayer for months or years, are you there? God take away the cancer. God give me a job. God give me an answer. God I need hope. God I can’t hold on. God are you listening? And we wait. But what do we do when it seems like no one responds; When we don’t get the job, when we don’t the outcome we want? Does it mean we lack faith? Paul prayed 3 times for the thorn in his flesh to be taken away and it never was. Even Jesus asked for things in prayer that were not answered with the outcome He requested. And if, from observing the situation see that nothing changes, is it even worth our time to keep praying? Many times we end our prayers, with God only if it is your will. So if He is only going to do His will, why are we praying for ours? Should we pray for things we want to see happen? Can praying change God’s mind, like in the story of the persistent widow?
Then there is the flip side, because the people we see on TV, the televangelist and preachers and pastors who will say if you only have enough faith, or give enough, God will answer. Will he? If he does not answer the way that person sees fit does that really mean they didn’t have enough faith? Did Paul not have enough faith? What about Jesus? I have heard of people giving their life savings because they have cancer and a pastor told them to give everything and they will be healed. What do you do with that? Jjust because bad theology comes from a leader, preacher, teacher or pastor, would God not still honor their faith? So why pray? What do you see as the purpose of prayer?
I know just a few “light” thoughts but I would love to hear for some more people on this… You can comment below or email me.
By the way I will be throwing my two cents in later.