There are many legitimate motives for praying. But it is important for us to remember that the ultimate purpose of prayer is the purpose of life for a believer. I have written before on Psalm 27:4. It has been a powerful encouragement in my life. This is one of the Scriptures that shines light on the purpose of prayer. It reads,
"One thing have I asked of the Lord. That will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple."
The first purpose of prayer is life-long intimacy with God. David asked to live in the house of the Lord. Even when we come to God with needs, we must first seek God's nearness in our suffering, in distress, in need. His promised nearness, intimate fellowship with Him in Jesus, is better than the relief of our suffering. Recognizing God's presence erupts into worship. We are not to come to God simply because we desire good things He may give us. We come to gaze in wonder at His beauty. He is the heart and focus of joy."
And we come to inquire of God. Inquiring in His temple does not mean we listen to God so we can decide if we want to follow Him. We seek God's wisdom so our thinking, and indeed our lives, will be transformed in His presence. This may be something you struggle with. What is the point of prayer if I am to pray for His will rather than mine? But self-centered prayer misses all that is ultimately good and right and satisfying in life.
Let me ask you who read, to pray for my blog. I believe what I have written today and on other days is crucial for your prayer life. Next week I will write on being prayerfully alert for opportunities to speak about Christ. And I have begun writing a blog for the week after that, on praying about things we cannot understand or accept about God. This is actually part of the book Spiritual Intelligence that I hope to publish this year. Pray that God will use these truths in our lives.