What is the purpose of prayer? Whether we realize it or not, the truth is that prayer isn’t a tool to make God do what we want. Rather, it’s an aligning of our hearts to His will instead of our own. It is through this use and purpose of prayer we ought to grow, firmly believing and embracing His plans for our lives.
Jesus left nothing to chance when it comes to prayer, leaving us a model.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10, KJV).
More than a model, he left us his personal example. Even just before his crucifixion, He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane pleading,
“My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matt. 26:39, ESV).
Remembering the Purpose of Prayer
One of the most trying times that caused me to embrace the real purpose of prayer was weeks after finding out my husband and I were truly pregnant. It all happened earlier this year. And I say truly, because late last year, after having faint positive pregnancy tests, the blood tests turned out negative, and the ultrasounds were empty. The doctor explained, “You weren’t really pregnant.” But come March 2022, my new set of positive pregnancy tests was confirmed by the doctor during our first ultrasound. She then explained that we had to recheck the baby’s heartbeat after two weeks because it was below the average that is expected of its gestational age.
It was time to wait.
That period of waiting was in stark contrast with how I initially reacted in our previous challenging circumstances. Why? This time, I realized that my heart was indeed prepared and pruned by the Lord to remember the true purpose of prayer.
Before, though I knew that I had to submit to God’s will, deep in my heart as I prayed, I longed for God to miraculously give me a positive blood serum test or let an embryo show up in my ultrasound. Honestly, I was desperately hoping I could “manipulate” God into granting me my heart’s desire. But our two-week wait became a period of humbling ourselves before God, interceding that our hearts will embrace His perfect will for us.
Practicing the Purpose of Prayer
My husband and I soaked ourselves in the truth of His Word and recited them in our prayers. These verses ultimately pointed us to who God is. He is all-powerful and all-knowing, God is the One who has done wondrous works and bestows good gifts (Psa. 65:5-7; 71:5-6; 83:18; and 84:11). But we didn’t demand that His might and goodness meant that our child’s heartbeat and very life will be sustained.
Instead, we prayed for God to teach us to believe that He is good if our child’s heartbeat will normalize, and the baby will continue growing healthily in my womb. And even if we lose this chance of successfully conceiving again, He remains good, wise, and sovereign (Job 1:21). God was abundantly gracious to make our hearts aim not for a change in our circumstances, but a transformation of our hearts – one that has solidified trust and reliance on His unchanging goodness and steadfast love, for this is the purpose of prayer.
When it was finally my turn for the ultrasound, the doctor happily told me that our baby was healthy and had a good fetal heart rate.
A Lasting Testimony of Practicing the Purpose of Prayer
Today I am near giving birth to our firstborn. This journey in experiencing the right purpose of prayer in my own life is a testimony that keeps us in awe. No. it’s not because of the favorable answer to our prayers, but how He, by His grace and doing, has transformed and grown us through the humble surrender of our will (Phil 2:13).
How about you? What have you been praying for lately? Take a moment today to let God search your heart and mind. Ask Him to humble you so that you will embrace His will. In prayer, behold and declare who He is. Know that whatever He has ordained to grant you is always rooted in His perfect love and goodness.
Abbie is a teacher by profession and a writer at heart. By grace alone, she seeks to draw her students and readers closer to Jesus. She is a Filipina and a blessed wife, pursued by and in pursuit of her Greatest Love.
God has graciously led her to start a blog that encourages people to know the truth of the Gospel and treasure Christ above all. Here is her Instagram account, and you can also connect with the Back to the Cross community here.
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