Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What is the Purpose of Prayer?

Yesterday I was going through one of my journals and discovered a post from 2 ½ years ago that was at the time quite a revelation from God. The unfortunate thing is that this time it was just as much of a revelation (which means that I didn't do much about it the first time). Here's the revelation: for most of my life I have had a warped understanding of prayer. There, I said it.

I've looked at prayer primarily as a "Trust and Obey" issue. I've never really had trouble believing that God will not only take care of me, but that He knows what is best for me. I've always felt that God knows all of my needs and will continue to provide for those needs. I've believed that He will close and open doors as He sees fit, and therefore my job is just to walk. When He opens a door, I should go through it. When He closes a door, I should yield. If that is my attitude, then what is the purpose of prayer? Or better yet, why should I bother with prayer? God knows what I'm going to say, doesn't He? He's going to take care of my needs regardless, right? Efficiency is the key word here.

My revelation then, and my revelation yesterday, was that God is not very concerned with my efficiency. Prayer is not about getting things done. Prayer is about relationship. At the time I first realized this I did not have a son. I now understand this better. My relationship with Adam has nothing to do with accomplishing something. I spend time with Adam because I love him. I desire for our relationship to continue to grow and develop. Intimacy comes as the relationship deepens. The relationship between father (Robert) and son (Adam) is a picture of the relationship between Father (God) and son (Robert).

God is not too busy getting things accomplished that He can't spend time with me. Neither should I be too busy that I can't spend time with Him. It does go back to my understanding, though, because understanding and belief determines behavior. I'm happy to say that my understanding is changing, and I trust that my behavior will also begin to change.

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