THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE OF PRAYER
“One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.” (Psalms 27:4 NKJV)
Understanding the purpose of a thing is the only antidote against its abuse or misuse. Prayer is undoubtedly a great privilege bestowed upon mortal men, especially the New Testament believers.
We now have “boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh.” (Heb. 10:19-20 NKJV).
A good understanding of the God-ordained primary or ultimate purpose of prayer will undoubtedly revolutionize your prayer life.
It is crucial to understand that there are different kinds of prayer and serve other functions or purposes.
Apostle Paul highlighted four kinds of prayer in First Timothy 2:1, namely Supplications, Prayers, Intercessions, and Thanksgiving.
Paul writes, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” (1 Tim. 2:1 NKJV).
Let us consider them briefly.
First, Supplications (in Greek, DEESIS) imply to humbly and earnestly ask, entreat, beseech or petition God for a specific thing.
Second, Prayers (in Greek, PROSEUCHE) can be a general term for all types or forms of prayers, but it usually refers to a genuine conversation or communion with God.
Third, Intercessions (in Greek, ENTEUXIS) refers to prayer, supplication, or petition on behalf of someone else.
While Jesus Christ is our High Priest, the only great Intercessor or Mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), the New Testament believers as priests unto God are expected to intercede, pray or make supplication for others (1 Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:5-6).
It is indeed a great privilege to plead on behalf of others or stand in the gap before God for others.
Fourth, Thanksgiving (in Greek, EUCHARISTIA) is simply an act of worship. It speaks of gratitude, thankfulness, or giving thanks to God. Just thanking and praising God is a powerful form of prayer.
Apostle Paul’s prayer list is certainly not an exhaustive list of various types of prayer mentioned in the Bible, but it is undoubtedly the basic.
Prayer is not intended to be a tedious, rigid, mechanical, or monotonous religious ritual or exercise. Talking with God your Heavenly Father should be a joyous, exciting, and engaging experience you look forward to.
Prayer becomes dull, boring, and tiring when it is simply regarded as or reduced to a spiritual formula for receiving from God or a time of wrestling with God or fighting against Satan.
Prayer certainly includes asking, petitioning, or making supplication to God for our specific needs. Prayer is an expression of our dependence or reliance on God to meet our needs. Prayer includes seeking God for His miraculous intervention in our lives and situations.
The Lord Jesus taught us to ask our Heavenly Father to “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matt. 6:11 NKJV).
The Scripture also admonishes us to cast all our cares and burdens upon the Lord for He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7, Psa. 55:22).
Philippians 4:6-7 – NKJV
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
However, suppose the only primary reason you pray is always to petition or entreat God to supply your spiritual, emotional, material, or physical needs. In that case, you may never grow and mature in your walk with God.
While prayer cannot make you more or less acceptable to God, for you are already perfectly acceptable to God in Christ; however, a daily, deep and dynamic conversation, communion, or fellowship with God is crucial to your spiritual growth (Eph. 1:6).
Effective communication is very crucial to every relationship. You cannot know a person intimately without personal, deep, and consistent communication, interaction, or fellowship with the person.
David understood this truth clearly!
Psalms 27:4 – NKJV
4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.
As you spend more time in prayers, not as a religious routine to bombard or assail God with all kinds of requests or petitions but to fellowship with God and to behold the beauty and glory of God increasingly, you will be transformed increasingly into Christlikeness in your thoughts, mind, will, emotions, actions or character.
That is the ultimate purpose of prayer!
Prayer is intended to change the believers into Christlikeness in every aspect ultimately. God’s ultimate goal, desire, or expectation for all His children is “to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:29 NKJV).
The believers are already conformed to Christ in their born-again spirits, but not yet in their souls (mind, will, and emotions) and their bodies. Prayer is one of God’s vital means of transforming us into Christlikeness in every aspect of our lives (2 Cor. 3:18).
Beloved, the ultimate purpose of prayer is not to simply change your situations but primarily to increasingly change you into who God intended you to be (Christ-like). Why?
Because God’s ultimate purpose or goal for you on earth is for you to “grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” (Eph. 4:15 NKJV).
This should be your greatest desire, goal, or pursuit in all your prayers. Everything else you desire or pursue in your prayers should be secondary.
It was while the Lord Jesus Christ was praying that He was transfigured!
Luke 9:28-31 – NKJV
28 Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray.
29 As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.
30 And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah,
31 who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
That also should be your own experience in prayer!
Communion with God in prayer should ultimately change or transform you increasingly into Christlikeness. Anything less than this is missing out on the greatest blessing of prayer or neglecting the ultimate intended purpose of prayer.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, I give You praise for revealing to me today that the ultimate intended purpose of prayer is to transform me increasingly into the image of Christ in every aspect, from glory to glory. Holy Spirit, help me set and pursue this goal above everything else in my daily prayer, in Jesus’ name. Amen.