“We had our fellowship group last night,” Stan commented one morning while we waited for Ricky to bring our breakfast.
“How was that?” I asked.
“Great,” he replied. “It’s almost always great, but last night was particularly good.”
“We talked about prayer,’ Stan replied.
“You prayed or you talked about praying?” I asked.
“Both,” Stan said. “But before we spent time in prayer, the person who leads the group’s praying spent some time leading a discussion about why we pray.”
“Why you pray?” I responded. “Isn’t that pretty obvious?”
“What do you think?” Stan asked. “What’s obvious to you about it?”
“To tell God what’s going on in my life,” I said, “and ask Him to fix the things that may not be going the way I want. Maybe ask Him to give me what I want, things I don’t have. Is that what was talked about at your fellowship group?”
“We talked about those sorts of things,” Stan replied, “but what was really great is that the fellow leading the discussion led us into talking about what prayer is not.”
“What it’s not?” I said. “What’s that mean?
“With only one exception, prayer is not designed for us to tell God anything,” Stan replied. “God already knows everything about us, what’s on our hearts and minds. He doesn’t need for us to tell Him anything, but there is one thing He does want us to tell Him.”
“God doesn’t need, but He wants,” I said. “What’s the one thing He wants?”
“He wants us to come before Him and ask Him to show us what’s on His heart concerning His will for us.”
“What we talked about in our fellowship group, and how it seems to me,” Stan concluded, “is that the single point of praying is to find out what’s on God’s heart, to receive that, and to embrace it with total openness so that His will is truly done in and through me on earth just as it is in heaven!”
Bible verses to consider:
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. Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. Pray, then in this way: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:7-10.
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt. Matthew 26:39.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me. John 6:38.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for allowing me to come before you in prayer. I confess that too often my prayers consist of telling you things you already know about me and what I want. Please forgive those self-focused prayers. And please lead me so my prayer is to come before you totally open to finding out what’s on your heart, receiving that, and embracing it so that your will is done in and through me in every aspect of my being just as you want. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: In your mind, what is the purpose of prayer? Do you believe that God already knows everything about you and what is on your heart and mind? Why or why not? How are you doing in your prayers that focus only on finding out what is on God’s heart and mind regarding His will? If you sense changes may be appropriate for your prayers, how are those changes going to occur?