The Purpose of Prayer

When I taught at Hargrave Military Academy, one of my students in the Bible class brought to my attention a site he found that mocked prayer and the existence of God by appealing to the readers as educated and intelligent people who, if they were honest, must come to the same conclusion as him, that God is imaginary and prayer is an illusion. The site’s point was that prayer does not work, after all, just notice all the starving children around the world or the lack of world peace, or some other prayer request we feel has gone unanswered.  


We cannot discount the man’s questions, but he comes to the wrong conclusion based on his preconceived belief that God is imaginary. His anti-God bias affects his conclusion. God’s apparent silence is not as it seems. We cannot forget that we live in a fallen world. 


The best of all possible worlds is a place where there is no sin yet we still have free will (to do good and to love God because we choose to). To me, this sounds like the Garden of Eden before the Fall and eventually heaven. This is opposed to exercising our free will by sinning or perhaps loving God with no free will; like a robot programmed to recite a recording of its “love” for God. But in order to get to this “best of all possible worlds” we have to allow those who choose to sin or use their freedom to not love God, the option of not going to heaven. They are weeded out, so to speak. This present world, I believe, is the best way to the best of all possible worlds! 


Before I go on a tangent about all the solid and rational evidence that God exists, let me conclude with these two quotes from Oswald Chambers regarding the point of prayer and the purpose of prayer: 

The point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have perfect and complete oneness with Him. If we pray only because we want answers, we will become irritated and angry with God. We receive an answer every time we pray, but it does not always come in the way we expect, and our spiritual irritation shows our refusal to identify ourselves truly with our Lord in prayer. We are not here to prove that God answers prayer, but to be living trophies of God’s grace. 


Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself. 

If our understanding of prayer is faulty, no wonder this guy comes to the conclusion that God is imaginary and prayer is an illusion… he does not know what prayer is. He is like a child praying to God for candy, and when it does not miraculously show up, the child concludes that God must not exist.


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