What Difference Does Prayer Really Make?

I had another really great meeting with my men’s group this morning.  We continued the theme of prayer that has dominated our thoughts and conversations over the past week and will continue through the current series.

Specifically, we talked about the purpose of prayer.  Since God knows everything before we even know we need something (Matthew 6:32) and because He has no need of anything, including praise, thanks, etc. (Acts 17:24-25 – that is to say, though He may desire to hear our thanks, it is not something He needs to feel good about Himself), what is the real point in prayer?

Our conclusion was that, as we have said before, prayer is not so much for God as it is for us.  We don’t pray to change the mind or heart of God but that our minds and hearts will be changed to reflect that of God.

Since God does not need thanks or praise, giving these things to Him because He is worthy develops within us people who are grateful and God-focused (thereby bringing glory to God, which is required of us).  Asking Him for things causes us to realize our utter dependence on Him (also bringing glory to Him) and provides Him the opportunity to display His glory through answering prayer.

The wonderful reality here is that God always takes the initiative (which is a huge relief!).  How many times have you been prompted to pray for something or somebody?  Who did the prompting?  Is it not strange that God would prompt someone to pray something to Him so that He would move to answer the prayer He initiated?  Doesn’t it seem God could just take out the middle man (the one praying) and just do it?  It seems that God is glorified by having His people burdened for something by Him so that He can show off His power.  The result?  Not only is the answer given, but the one praying is strengthened in their faith and walk with Him.  It motivates us to want to pray more and about everything.

Sometimes prayer comes hard.  If, however, we keep these things in mind that God is developing in us people who trust Him more, depend on Him more, and show Him more gratitude for what He is doing in us, we will be encouraged to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), offering up little pop-up prayers throughout the day.  What an amazing God!