The real purpose of prayer

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”— Matthew 6:6-8

As Christians, one of the great paradoxes we face is asking God for something that He already knows we need. If you’ve ever wrestled with that seeming contradiction, perhaps the thoughts of the 19th-century preacher R. A. Torrey can help. Among the reasons he gave for prayer are these:

  • Because there is a devil, and prayer is a God-appointed way to resist him (Ephesians 6:12-13, 18).
  • Because prayer is God’s way for us to obtain what we need from Him (Luke 11:3-13; James 4:2).
  • Because prayer is the means God has appointed for us to find “grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
  • Because prayer with thanksgiving is God’s way for us to obtain freedom from anxiety and to receive “the peace of God” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Besides these reasons, it should be enough that we’re commanded to, “Pray continually” (1Thessalonians 5:17). Yes, God is all-knowing, but He also desires our fellowship and wants us to pray to Him. He also wants us to convey our utter dependence upon Him as our creator and sustainer.
When we seek God’s will in prayer, we strengthen our relationship with Him. So pray… not because you’re telling God something He doesn’t know, but because through prayer, you grow deeper in your connection with God.

Prayer Challenge

Spend extended time in prayer today telling God what’s on your heart and allowing Him to speak into yours.

Questions for thought

What keeps you from making prayer a daily habit?

How might demonstrating your dependence on God through prayer change your perspective?