Bible Answer

What is the purpose of prayer?

In the Sovereignty of God series, Pastor Armstrong says God's plan for us is fixed and He doesn’t change His mind, so then is there any point in bringing my requests to Him in prayer? I have made some big requests of God lately, particularly around health issues, but I know it is important to pray for God’s will to be done. Whatever He has planned, my prayer is that God will be glorified through it and that others will see God in us and how we deal with it.

In short, prayer moves us, not God, as I taught in that lesson. As we pray we are giving opportunity for the Lord to mold our hearts to fit the plan He has for us, and this is the most important outcome of prayer. Becoming more like Christ is immeasurably more important to us, eternally-speaking, than getting our way with God in some set of circumstance or need on Earth.

In fact, if our desire is not God’s desire, then it means that what we want is not the best thing for us, despite how it might appeal to us now. So as we pray, the Lord works on our hearts to show us how His will is best, and in time our desires will align with His. This is an outcome that provides eternal benefit to us, since it grows us spiritually and prepares us to serve Christ in the Kingdom. 

So we must not look at prayer merely as a means for getting our way here and now. If that is all you see in prayer, then you would be correct not to bother with praying, since (as Jesus said) the Lord’s will be done, not our will. But of course, this is an immature, foolish perspective that places earthly gains ahead of eternal gains. 

When we understand that prayer is about making us more like Christ – and that gains us eternal benefits – then we will engage in prayer BECAUSE we know the Lord’s will be done, not our own. That is the mature Christian perspective on prayer.