Day 223 - Prayer
Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD, and he said, “Who am I, O Lord GOD, and what is my house, that You have brought me this far? And yet this was insignificant in Your eyes, O Lord GOD, for You have spoken also of the house of Your servant concerning the distant future. And this is the custom of man, O Lord GOD. Again what more can David say to You? For You know Your servant, O Lord GOD! For the sake of Your word, and according to Your own heart, You have done all this greatness to let Your servant know. For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.”
—II SAMUEL 7:18-22
Prayer is a wonderful thing, for in it we can express the greatness of our God—the only God—and our gratitude toward Him. Prayer is a relationship builder . . . that is, from our perspective; God has had a relationship with us before the foundations of the world. I have often pondered prayer and have a few observations. Again, everything I say is not absolute, but I trust that I am pointing to the One who is absolute, the sum total of resolution and truth, fixed eternally in the universe.
To begin with, I do not think that the purpose of prayer is to direct God. We have a God, and that statement says it all, for the very confession of that designation proclaims 413
that He does not need directing. Only those with a small god need to direct him; our God knows all and is directed by no one, but we are to listen to His direction. So many who entitle themselves “Prayer Warriors” believe they will change the course of God by countless repetitions. Jesus spoke to this very attitude: “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition, as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:7, 8). I have never understood the emphasis on going to a city to walk around it and pray. In a city near where I live there is even a huge building around which fly the flags of differing countries, positioned in the direction the country lies from there; the goal is to stand at the flagpole representing the country for which one has a burden and pray. I cannot get anyone to explain to me why we would have to go to a country or point toward it to pray. Can we not enter our closet and pray? Amen, if believers want to travel and see a place, they should go without spiritualizing it. God does not really care if they go to Israel for curiosity or enjoyment.
I believe there are several purposeful bases for prayer. First, it is the recognition of the constant unbroken relationship we as believers have with the Father, a relationship not dependent on time, place, or our present condition. “For in Him we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28); it is so good to recognize that and not feel the need to create it. Second, the intent of prayer is not to change the mind of God but to come to peace with the will of God. This is of utmost importance in this present day. We must remember that God is permitting what He could prevent for the revelation of hearts. We will not change an evil person’s choice. God permits man to have choice for the revelation of hearts. In the final judgment, a heart will be judged as it was revealed to be in this life. In prayer, we find peace with what God does, allows, prevents, and denies. Finally, prayer permits us to participate in the work of God. For example, I am awakened in the middle of the night and told to pray for someone. It is not as though if I turn over and go back to sleep, God will not act; it is merely a matter of my missing the blessing of participating in what God is going to do. Later, when I hear that the person was under attack, in a near accident, or had family struggles, I rejoice in the awareness that God came at the exact moment to deliver, and I am blessed that He allowed me to participate in what He was doing. In fact, any time we experience answered prayer we can boast in the Lord that He enlightened us to pray for what He was going to do; He allowed us to take part in His kingdom doings.
In short, prayer is very easy and enjoyable. In the recognition of His presence within and without, we rest, participate, and enjoy our life in Him; we want nothing but His will, which is the overriding affirmation of our prayer life. Have we not all had our fill of our own will, since we have never enjoyed it?