March 19, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer.”—1 Peter 3:12 (NIV)
“The God of all grace.” That’s what the apostle Peter calls Him. That word grace (Greek: charis) . . . it means “favor extended.” It implies a gift or blessing, a loving kindness; it’s where we get our English word for charity. So, God is the giver of all blessing, all gifts, all loving kindness, and all favor. He is the giver of EVERYTHING that is good. And one of the chief vehicles through which He extends all grace to us is through prayer!
What Is Prayer?
In the most basic terms possible, prayer is talking to God; it’s a conversation between us and God. But as one Christian author said, “Prayer, for the Christian, is not merely talking to God, but responding to the One who has initiated toward us. He has spoken first. This is not a conversation we start, but a relationship into which we’ve been drawn. His voice breaks the silence.”
In prayer, we’re speaking to the One who has spoken to us through creation itself (Romans 1:20; Psalm 19:1–4), the One who has spoken grace (2 Corinthians 12:9) and peace (Psalm 46:10) and love (John 3:16) over us, the One who has spoken the words of truth (John 6:68) and life (John 10:10), who has shown us the way (John 14:6). In light of this, prayer is thus a response, a reflex to the grace He gives us.
When we come before Him in prayer, to speak to Him, we can be sure He has already spoken to us. 2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT) declares, “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding ‘Yes!’ And through Christ, our ‘Amen’ (which means ‘Yes’) ascends to God for his glory”
Prayer is our two-way relational lifeline, a lifeline that is made available to us through the person and work of God’s Son, Jesus Christ and by the presence of the Holy Spirit in us.
What’s the Purpose of Prayer?
Okay, so . . . prayer is a conversation that God initiated; it’s our response to the God who hears us, listens, and “accepts my prayer” (Psalm 6:9 NIV) . . . but what is the grand purpose of prayer? God knows what I’m going to pray before I do it, He knows my heart better than I do, He knows my needs, my desires, my dreams, my fears, and the areas I need Him most. So, why do we pray? It’s not because we get anything from God, but because we get God! John Piper once wrote, “It is not wrong to want God’s gifts and ask for them. Most prayers in the Bible are for the gifts of God. But ultimately, every gift should be desired because it shows us and brings us more of Him.” Friends, in the simplest terms I can muster, the purpose of our prayers is for us to experience more of God! In every request, every expression, every question, every pleading, every confession and revelation, everything we ask for or declare in prayer, the endgame of prayer is to know on the deepest level possible the God who saves and sustains and redeems and restores.
Why Do We Pray?
Augustine once said that nothing happens in this universe apart from the will of God. So, if God is sovereign and knows all things from eternity to eternity, if He knows my heart, my hurts, my intentions and requests and knew them even before the foundations of the universe were laid, why pray at all?
Two reasons . . .
But here’s the thing: He doesn’t just command us to pray…
Prayer Is for Us
Want to hear something amazing? God doesn’t desire prayer from us, He desires it for us! While He is blessed by your prayers and delights in your prayers, the primary beneficiary of prayer is you. Again, the purpose of prayer is for us to experience more of God! In consistent, biblical prayer, we are transformed and changed. In consistent, biblical prayer, our relationship with Him blossoms as we know Him more deeply, experience His presence more clearly, and are comforted, strengthened, empowered, inspired, equipped, and sanctified by drawing near to Him. In consistent, biblical prayer, we develop intimacy with Jesus and become more like Jesus.
I want to close today with this simple reminder: God is readier to hear from us than you are to pray. Think about that . . . He wants to interact with you. He desires more than a head knowledge, shallow, hypothetical relationship. The God of all grace wants to fill you with all His grace beyond your ability to measure, and prayer is one of the chief ways He has designed to accomplish this!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.