Everyone has a purpose. You are not an accident. Similarly everything has a purpose. This extends to spiritual activities, including prayer. Knowing something’s purpose allows you to give yourself over to it without inhibition.
Prayer allows you to talk with God.
When you pray, you connect with God. Jesus modeled this throughout His earthly ministry. He often pulled away from the crowd to be alone with God. In fact, we read: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35, NIV). Prayer positions you Godward. It forces you to scrutinize your motives, desires, and attitudes. Apart from asking God for help, the sacredness of praying increases your likelihood of making sound decisions.
The director of our children’s church asked five-year old Emma to pray. She said, “I don’t know how to.” He said: “Just talk to God like you would to a friend or an ordinary person.”
Closing her eyes, Emma prayed: “Hi, God! How’s it going? Okay; bye, God.” Her innocence was cute. But it captured the meaning of prayer—talking to God.
Prayer gives you strength.
Prayer allows you to tap into God’s strength. It also provides a forum for you to request something from Him. Jesus taught that we should “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10, NIV). This verse provides a focused understanding of a dimension of prayer. We are free to ask God for His help. When you feel weak, discouraged, or beaten down, prayer gives you strength.
Do you remember the famous story of Daniel in the lions’ den? Daniel was an adult at the time. As a foreigner he had risen to a very prestigious government job as one of three administrators overseeing the entire country of Babylon. Daniel’s leadership ability was so good the king was set to promote him over his two colleagues, and they were none too happy about it (Dan. 6:3–4). Out of jealousy they pressured King Darius to establish an irrevocable law that punished its violators by having them thrown into a lions’ den. Anyone found praying to anyone other than the king over a thirty-day period would suffer this tragedy (Dan. 6:6–7).
Daniel prayed to God for strength to deal with this oppressive law (Dan. 6:11). Eventually he was thrown into the lions’ den, but survived a nightlong stint. The lions didn’t harm him. Through this and other miraculous experiences Daniel knew the purpose of prayer. Prayer is talking to God about anything that you’re facing.
By David D. Ireland, Ph.D., Author
Excerpt from Raising a Child Who Prays: Teaching Your Family the Power of Prayer