JANUARY 7 , 2023
The Primary Purpose(s) Of Prayer
Jesus - “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)
Almost everyone prays at some time in some way in their lives. Little children are often taught by their parents to “say their prayers” before going to sleep, or pray for the Lord to bless their meal. Teenagers also pray. Someone said, “As long as there are tests there will also be prayer in schools.” And most adults also pray. A 2011 Barna poll indicated that 84% of American adults pray on a regular basis (75% of those were Christians), and 64% of Americans say they pray more than twice a day.
The big questions regarding prayer are - “Who do we pray to, why do we pray and why should we pray?” The answer to part one of that question is that we are to pray to our Father in Heaven. He’s most often called Jehovah God in the Old Testament. Jehovah God is the Creator of the universe and the human race (Genesis 1-2). He’s the Initiator of the Christian Bible (2 Timothy 3:16) and the Christian family and faith (Colossians 1:15-22). And we are told in the Bible that He is the Father of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:17) and the Heavenly Father of those who choose to receive Jesus as the Savior and Lord of their lives (John 1:11-12). And since this God is the One True God and our Heavenly Father He is the only God we should worship and pray to (Exodus 20:1-3). And Christians throughout the centuries have discovered that when they prioritize Jehovah God in their lives and worship Him and pray to Him that He is able to provide for the great needs of their lives (Matthew 6:33, Philippians 4:19).
The second part of the question is, “Why do most people pray to Jehovah God?” Barna’s poll discovered that 56% of Americans say they most often pray for family members. And honestly, we all probably pray regularly for ourselves. Now, it’s not wrong to pray for our needs or others needs. God is waiting and willing to meet the needs that we bring to Him in prayer. But praying for our needs and others needs is not the primary purpose for prayer.
The answer to part three of our question and the primary purpose of prayer is for us to draw near to our Heavenly Father, so we can sense His presence, and so we can worship Him. That’s why Jesus taught that when we pray we should focus on praying to our Heavenly Father and “hallowing” - which means worshiping, adoring or revering His name. To begin with, when we pray to “Our Father in heaven,” we are acknowledging that there is no one like our God. Our God is the only God worthy of our adoration and devotion. Since He is the God of creation and the God of our salvation, He is the only God worthy of us dedicating our lives to. Whatever we prioritize before “God” is the god of our lives. Which tells us that pleasure, popularity, possessions, power, other people or even ourselves can be the “god” of our lives. But when we stop to pray to our Heavenly Father, we are, at least for the moment, acknowledging our love for and need for the One True God in our lives.
Also, when we pray to “Our Father in heaven,” we are affirming His right to “call the shots” in our lives. He becomes the boss of our lives. When “God” is the god of our lives, according to Jesus we are positioning ourselves to experience His presence, peace, power and provision in our lives.
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY
Make a list of the people and things most important in your life, and then put Jehovah God/Jesus Christ at the top of that list. Doing so will remind you of who is always to be leading and directing your life. (For a family activity, make a list with your family adding Jehovah God/Jesus Christ at the top of the list. Then, pray as a family, declaring that God/Jesus is first in your family).
PRAYER FOR TODAY
Dear Heavenly Father, I’m grateful that You are the Creator of the Universe and the God of my life. Today I want to prioritize and seek You and Your Kingdom above everything and everyone else. Help me draw near to You, so I can get to know You better in the coming days. In the name of Jesus. Amen.