{This post is Part 1 of a series, “Staying Connected: The Power of Prayer”}

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What is prayer? What is its purpose? (c) Leland Francisco, 2009, via Creative Commons Licensing.

“Daniel prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.”

 

{Daniel 6:10}

 

Do you pray?

Many of us have been praying, in some form or another, since we were small children. Maybe it was the “Grace” you sang at Girl Scout camp, just before eating those foilpack dinners around the campfire. Maybe it was the blessing of the food by the eldest male, maybe daily, maybe only at holiday time. Perhaps your prayer was a set of memorized verses that were part of the order of your service. Maybe you are a prayer warrior, and have been praying for everything and everyone since you-don’t-know-when. Or perhaps your prayers are limited to the “Oh, God!” that you utter just before a calamity.

Are you getting the most out of your prayer life? And what, exactly, are you  SUPPOSED to “get” from prayer?

But, Wait – What is Prayer, Exactly?

Prayer, in a nutshell, is a relationship with God. God wants to fellowship with us, and prayer is the way we relate to Him.

Think of your relationship with God as a microwave oven, plugged into the electrical socket in your kitchen wall. You are the microwave, and God is the Power Source. No matter what kind of microwave you are, or how powerful you are, or whether you have a dial, buttons or a touchpad, you will not serve any purpose unless you are plugged into the outlet.

God is the Creator of everything. Trillions of stars, each one of them a sun, with countless planets around them all, all get their power from Him. And here we are, on this little blue marble in space. Our one smallish sun generates enough energy to burn us if we don’t wear sunscreen. Imagine how much power is in the One who created ALL those suns! How do we connect with that power? Through prayer.

Why Do We Pray?

You can probably think of many situations where you have been a part of prayer. But what purpose did each prayer serve?

There are a number of reasons that we approach God in prayer. Below is a list of some many reasons we pray — it’s not intended to be exhaustive. We will look at some of these in more detail in other parts of the series.

  • to magnify and glorify the Creator
  • to confess and accept forgiveness of our sins
  • to surrender ourselves to God as His servants
  • to receive daily new grace and mercy
  • to rest in His presence and majesty
  • to reflect on and feel our weakness and our need
  • to wait on God’s voice and the movement of the Holy Spirit
  • to receive the Power of the Holy Spirit to take us through the day
  • to thank God for His favor and mercy
  • to intercede for the needs of others
  • to cast out demons and spirits from others
  • to bestow blessings on others
  • to renew our friendship with God

Now let’s think about that microwave oven again. You plug it into the outlet, and the wires in your house connect to a system of wires, that eventually connect to the power plant. Unplugging your microwave oven in no way diminishes the energy of that power plant. Likewise, God doesn’t NEED us to plug into Him to be powerful — God is God, all by Himself, as the church mothers say. So the first purpose of prayer, to glorify the Name and Person of God, we do out of love for Him. This purpose is the HE part of the relationship.

The next group of reasons we pray show some of the many benefits of relating personally to God in prayer – the ME part of the relationship where we receive benefits from God. God does not withhold any good thing from His children {Psalm 84:11}. All these things, and more, are available to us — if we will only choose to have a daily relationship with God. While God doesn’t NEED the relationship — He’s still God — He desires it, because He loves us. But we certainly NEED the relationship with Him, for without Him, we perish. The microwave oven of our lives just can’t function without that Divine Power Source.

The prayer warriors out there know that the Power of God doesn’t stop at the one who prays, but can be directed to benefit others – the “THEM” part of our relationship with God. While casting out demons and bestowing blessings are not prayers, in and of themselves, they depend on having a daily relationship with God in order to be effective. If you don’t put your rechargeable batteries on the charger, they will eventually run out on you. Having consistent contact with God lets us be His representatives on earth. Now that’s some power!

Tapping into God Through Prayer

Okay, you are a beautiful, new microwave, sitting on the kitchen counter. You can make popcorn, reheat leftovers, bake things and even defrost frozen meat. You can be programmed to do all kinds of fancy things. And you’re sleek-looking and quiet.  There is a house full of hungry people waiting to reap the benefits of your many useful features.

If you’re not plugged in, you might as well just climb back into the shipping carton.

Which leads us to the most important reason for prayer, and the last one on the list below – to renew our friendship with God.

Friendship, you say? With the One Who is God, All By Himself? Yes – God’s love is so great for us, that words cannot even describe it — God tells us that He has loved us with an everlasting love {Jeremiah 31:3}. Yes, the same God who created the Universe has waited for YOU, since the dawn of time, to be His friend. Prayer leads us to focus on the US part of our relationship, our friendship with Our Heavenly Father.

Think of your best friend from childhood. You couldn’t wait to get out of the house to see him or her, to play, to talk, to shop… it didn’t really matter. You weren’t in the friendship to get stuff, although good stuff seems to happen when you have good friends with you. You just wanted to be with your bestie. That’s how God wants to relate to us.

God called Abraham “friend.” He called Enoch “friend,” and called David “friend.” And, guess what? He wants to call you “friend,” too.

Heavenly Father, God of Love, I thank you that you waited for me since before time began, just so I could be your friend. I ask you to teach me how to be a good friend to you everyday. In Jesus’ Name I pray. ~ Amen.

In the Next Post…

… we will learn how to use prayer to rest in His presence, using His Word, the Bible, as an instruction manual. If you want another book to help guide you into building a great prayer life, I would recommend The Power of a Praying Life: Finding the Freedom, Wholeness, and True Success God Has for You, or any other books by Stormie Omartian. Click on the link or the image below, for ordering information.

 

https://bugsandstuff.wordpress.com
The Power of a Praying Life, $48.99 at Barnes and Noble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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