Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
- Luke 11:5-10
“Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Thinking about asking God for the means of getting things, even that type of prayer is instructive. Some would look on the results and say that God does not answer prayers. But in the arena of learning about God, when we have prayers that seem to fall on deaf ears, we can ask ourselves, and God, ‘Why was the request rejected?’
If we go into prayer with the idea of reading off our “Christmas list,” we may truly conclude that no one is there to grant any of those wishes. But if we come seeking God, and while we are praying … by the way, we have a few requests, we may linger after those requests. Then, we might get this idea that one of those requests, maybe more, would be counterproductive to God’s kingdom. Maybe one of those requests, maybe more, improved our way of life, but had no effect on anyone else’s. Could we then become comfortable and not work as hard for God’s glory, when it was God that had granted that request? Why would God grant a request like that?
In time, if we look at those requests, we start seeing the agenda behind them. Much of what we ask for is earthly comfort, rather than becoming more like Christ. And in jettisoning such selfish requests, we start understanding God more. So when we say “Your will be done,” we might know better what God’s will is and we might just mean it when we say those words.
“Your will be done.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
I have a friend who asked me, more than once, how to make prayers work. I ended up writing a book that said that prayers do not work, they are not magic, and we should not think of prayer that way. Prayer is time spent with God, conversation with our heavenly Father. He loves to hear from us. Any effort to quantify the effectiveness of prayer completely misses the point; prayer comes from our love for God, and that love begins with him (We love because he first loved us) and flows from the faith he has planted in our hearts. J.
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Thank you for you addition and clarification. Some times I circle the wagons and only hint to the bottom line. Again, thanks.
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” biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.” Thank you for the reminder that God isn’t a genie giving out wishes. He wants a relationship with us. It’s a hard prayer to say, “God, may YOUR will be done.” But, when we draw closer to God, we draw closer to that.
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Amen. And thank you for your comments