This is an excerpt from my book Purpose of Prayer. You can get it as an e-book at my website.
1. Prayer is God’s idea as the way to acquire salvation. Whether it is verbal prayer or a silent prayer of the heart, God has designed that salvation will come to us when we cry out to Him in prayer. For He has said in His Word, “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). Hence, God has made prayer a tool that gives expression to our faith and works it out. Therefore, our prayer of faith acquires salvation—as we ask Jesus into our heart and He comes in and redeems us from our sins.
2. Prayer is God’s idea as the means for His will to be carried out in accordance with His great plan. God has planned from eternity past that through prayer we would share His vision and His rule. That is, by prayer we realize His vision and rule and that we are called to share in it; and then we actually share His vision and rule through our prayers. Wesley Duewel writes,
He has made us to be priests to God, which certainly includes the intercessory role of all priests (Rev. 1:6). We are to be not only holy priests (1 Pet. 2:5), however, but royal priests (v. 9), appointed to serve our King. In the light of other Scriptures, this responsibility obviously includes our being given a kingly rule in our intercession. We become interceding royalty. We, like Jesus, rule and extend Christ’s rule by our prevailing intercession.
3. Prayer is God’s idea as a means to resist Satan. We can’t destroy Satan by our prayer, but we can by prayer prevent Him from destroying us. We can pray out the evil that Satan brings, and pray in healing and truth. We do it in connection with God’s Word of truth. Hence, when we prayerfully repent of our sins and pray the truth of scripture into us, the strongholds of Satan (made up of lies) will be destroyed. Therefore, by the mighty weapon of prayer, according to the Word of God, we are able to resist Satan and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
4. Prayer is God’s idea as a way to bring help in trouble. For many of us trouble is when we have car problems, when the baby is sick, or when we can’t pay the bills. To others trouble is not having a home; or it is being in prison. Trouble always seems so terrible; it brings with it so much fear and pain.
What do we do? Well, God has designed prayer to bring us help in trouble. I have found that in most of the passages of the Bible, when people were in trouble and prayers were made, prayer was for deliverance out of trouble. Psalms 50:15 says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” We can also read from Psalms 81:7, and Psalms 107:6, 13, how God promises to deliver when prayers are made. These verses, and many more, speak of how God delivers people out of trouble when they pray.
But in God’s deliverance trouble is not always removed. Deliverance sometimes is the help He gives us through prayer to go through trouble; then He will use that trouble to strengthen us and comfort us and to give us patience (Read Ps. 119: 143, Nah. 1:7, and 2 Cor. 1:4).
5. Prayer is God’s idea as the way to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. If you have received the Holy Spirit by asking for Him in prayer (Lu. 11:13), it makes sense that He will also give you His power by asking? Ask for His power and you will receive it!
And the very first thing you will notice when you ask is that you will be enabled in your prayer weakness to see things from God’s perspective. According to Duewel, “[the Holy Spirit enables us as we pray] to see people and needs from His perspective.”
Accordingly, that power is the power for soul winning. Many Christians, including you, may not even know about this power. But if you would set your mind to witness, and prayer for the Holy Spirit’s power (Acts 1:8) you will see great things happen. For instance, if you would prayer for boldness as they did in Acts 4:29, I believe boldness would be given to you just as it was given to them. For verse 31 says, “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.”
6. Prayer is God’s idea as the way to get our daily bread. When Jesus told His disciples to pray “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11), He was revealing to them the great idea of God—that they could ask for what they needed each day and receive it. Hence He was also giving them the idea that God is our Father and that He loves us and wants to give us all the things we need. He expressed this idea to them in Matthew 7:7-11. He said to them, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
7. Prayer is God’s idea as the way to receive guidance. Psalms 119:105 says, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” This verse is true, but to make it work for us we must prayerfully meditate on His Word; we must pray the Word into us; only then will we see clearly the path before us. E. M. Bounds said, ‘It is by prayer that the eyes of our heart are opened…Prayer gives us eyes to see God.” Hence, without prayer we would be lost as if in the dark; but by prayer His Word is illuminated to us so we can see the way clearly. And why did God make prayer necessary for guidance? I don’t really know, but from the beginning of time that’s what God decided—that prayer would be used by those He would create to find their way. Well, prayer is still His idea, and it still works.
8. Prayer is God’s idea as a way to have fullness of joy. John 16: 24 says, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Here we see that it was God’s idea and plan that prayer would bring joy. Now as we look at this verse, at first glance we may think that the joy comes in receiving the gift He gives us. But I think the joy is more in the experience of the Father’s love to us when we receive the gift; it is in the communion we share with Him and in feeling His presence. What a great joy He gives us when we pray and experience His love. What A great idea God had.
9. Prayer is God’s idea as a way to commune with Him. E. M. Bounds has said about prayer, “It gives prominence to the element of devotion. It is communion and intercourse with God. It is enjoyment of God.” Hence, if you are lonely and feeling sad, try prayer. Through prayer God will give you a great time! A time of enjoyment and satisfaction! I’m not joking! God wants us all to feel a sense of satisfaction and a deep soul fulfillment. And He has designed that He will do that for us through prayer.
10. Prayer is God’s idea as a way to glorify Himself. If you think that the main purpose for prayer is to get what we need, think again. The supreme reason why God gave us prayer is to bring glory to Himself. According to Ronald Dunn, “The big deal about prayer is not that we get what we ask for, but that God is glorified in our getting it.”
John 14:13 says, “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” If God isn’t glorified when we pray then our prayers are not true. They are selfish and with wrong motives. Prayer must always please God and bring Him glory. This is true with anything we do; all we do should glorify Him. That is the way He has designed prayer and that is the way He has designed you—to glorify Him.