[February 10, 2024] The most basic definition of prayer is “talking to God.” Prayer is not meditation or passive reflection; it is a direct address to God. It is the communication of the human soul with the Lord who created the soul. Prayer is the primary way for the believer in Jesus Christ to communicate his emotions and desires with God and to fellowship with God.
What is the Purpose of Prayer?
Prayer is an essential part of the Christian life. It is the way we communicate with the Lord and praise Him. To understand the purpose of prayer, it is important first to understand what prayer is not. There are many wrong views about prayer in the world and culture, even among Christians, and these should be addressed first. Prayer is not:
- bargaining with God.
- making demands of God.
- only asking God for things.
- a therapeutic, meditation-type exercise.
- bothering God and taking up His time.
- a way to control the Lord.
- a way to show off one’s spirituality before others.
The Power of Prayer
The power of prayer of does not flow from us; it is not special words we say or the special way we say them or even how often we say them. Prayer places us in contact with Almighty God, and we should expect almighty results.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and ye shall find; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” – Matthew 7:7
Since God is listening and loving, Jesus tells His listeners to ask, to seek, and to knock. When you ask, it will be given. When you seek, you will find. When you knock, the proper door will be opened. Jesus commands His followers to bring their requests, to look for answers, and ask to be let into God’s presence.
Jesus will continue, however, to clarify that these promises are not a means of manipulating God. Prayer is never presented in Scripture as a means to merely get our way as if He were merely magic or a system for success. Instead, these verses are an invitation to interact with a generous Father who loves to hear the prayers of His people.
Ask (request). Ask puts into motion what you need or want with verbal speech. If you do not verbally speak your request, the receiver may make the wrong assumption of what you want or need.
Example: You want a cold glass of water but do not make it verbally to your husband. He assumed you wanted a Coke to cool off from a long walk.
Seek (Find). Seek is defined as an attempt to find something, an attempt or desire to obtain something.
I remember my favorite game we played as children: “Hide and Seek.” One person would close their eyes on a tree or the house while the other hid. We ran to hide while she counted to 10. Here I come to find you. We stayed in place when found we had to run to base before being tagged “it.”
The lady who had an issue of blood for years sought Jesus for healing. She reached out to touch the helm of his garment in the midst of the crowd. Immediately, she was made whole.
Blind man sought Jesus for healing. He received his sight.
Knock (door will be opened). Prayer is the 🔑 key, and faith unlocks the door 🚪. Matthew 6:15
Our prayer gains us access to God’s blessing. The three keys to prayer are: ask in prayer, pray according to His will, and in faith.
In conclusion, we have not because we “ask” not.
NOTES: Scholars believe the wording here might suggest a rising intensity. This might be a poetic arrangement, where “ask” means a single request, “seek” refers to something more persistent, and “knock” implies deep persistence. That would imply something to the effect of “ask, ask again, and keep asking.” The Greek verbs here are in a form that implies constant action: Jesus is saying we ought to “continue to ask…seek…knock.”
Since God is listening and loving, Jesus tells His listeners to ask, to seek, and to knock. When you ask, it will be given. When you seek, you will find. When you knock, the proper door will be opened. Jesus commands His followers to bring their requests, to look for answers, and ask to be let into God’s presence. God is a generous Father eager to give good gifts to His praying children. Jesus commands His followers to continually ask and seek, with confidence that they will receive and find. Christ summarizes the intent of the last three chapters that record what is now known as the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus commands His hearers not to pronounce shallow or hypocritical judgment. He describes God as a generous Father eager to give good things to His children when they ask.
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