What is the Purpose of Prayer?

By | February 10, 2024

[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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Author: Eddie Gilliam

I served in the air force for twenty five years in the security forces career field. I retired in December 2006 at McGuire Air Force base in New Jersey. After my retirement I decided to stay in the local area to be closer to my family and the doctors taking care of my health care issues. The local church was also a factor I stated in the local area. I am preaching and teaching adult Sunday School.

28 thoughts on “What is the Purpose of Prayer?

  1. Fannie G Williams

    What a wonderful and encouraging word! It makes me plan to be more intentional with my prayer life. Thank you for a wonderful word.

    1. Mikka Solarno

      Mr. Eddie is a wonderful man with much goodness in his heart and shares that with us at every turn. He is the kind of man we all need to have in our lives, honorable, morally solid, helpful, willing to stand up for what is right, Christian, and a man who can be relied upon to do the right thing. Personally, I’m proud to read his words because they are inspirational.

    2. Eddie Gilliam

      Tks you cousin for reading this article. Feel free to read the general Douglas Sattefield blog. He post daily. You will love his letters to his granddaughter

  2. Willie Strumburger

    Eddie, you da man. Giving us such insight is helpful. Much appreciated.

  3. Eddie Gilliam

    Good evening. Tks for your comments on this article I was blessed to wrote. Thank to my friend Gen Douglas Satterfield for his confidence in me to reach out to me for writing blogs for his bloggers. I am looking forward to all the comments .you have not because you ask not

    1. Jonnie the Bart

      Hi Eddie, i’m happy to see you back again on Gen. S’s website and writing about something so very important to every Christian. Thank you, sir!!!!

  4. Bryan Z. Lee

    Eddie, consider Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This verse does not give us a way to manipulate God; nor does it mean that, if we obey, He will reward us with whatever treat we crave. Rather, it means that, when we delight ourselves in God, then we will find everything we want and need in Him. The key here is that the heart of the seeker is changed—when we delight in the Lord, God’s desires begin to become our own. When our desires match God’s, then our prayers are automatically aligned with His will. I think you would support this idea.

    1. HAL

      Good point. This passage was mentioned in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount. When you look at this passage as a whole, it speaks of the Kingdom of God and connecting our lives to that Kingdom.

  5. Maximilian Krämer

    In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that whoever asks receives, whoever seeks finds, and whoever knocks will find an open door (Matthew 7:7–8). But with this and all other verses we must examine the context. Jesus goes on to say that God will not fail to give His children good things (verse 11). So, this is one condition to the promise of “ask and receive”: what we ask for must be good in God’s estimation. God will give advantageous gifts to His children; He will not give us bad or injurious things, no matter how much we clamor for them. The best example of a good gift is the Holy Spirit, according to Luke 11:13. We begin to see a two-fold purpose of prayer—to increase our understanding of what God calls “good” and to cultivate a desire in us for what is good.

    1. Army Captain

      Well said, Max.
      Our prayers to God are not unlike our requests of men. Our prayers are based in a relationship, as Jesus points out in Matthew 7:8.

  6. Big Al

    Thank you, sir, for your inspirational post today. Prayers to you and your family.

  7. Pastor John

    “Ask, and it shall be given you; Seek, and ye shall find; Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” – Matthew 7:7
    Mr. G. this is my favorite passage in the Bible. It gives such great advice to not be ignored. Well done. I’m now appreciating your articles more and more. Thanks to Gen. S. for providing the platform. God Bless.

    1. Tom Bushmaster

      Yes, Pastor John, Eddie Gilliam has given me something to think about. And, yes, Gen. Satterfield is providing the place to make great arguments about the Holy Spirit. 😊

      1. Melissa Jackson

        Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.
        May your Kingdom come soon.
        May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
        Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins,
        as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
        And don’t let us yield to temptation,
        but rescue us from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13


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