By purpose I mean the direction that prayer should take; that is, what things God has designed for us to pray about. The purposes of prayer has been set forth for us in the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13). Some of the purposes will endure forever, but some will be discontinued after we are glorified—because they have to do with our present condition; namely prayer for forgiveness of sin, and for protection and deliverance from evil.
- For Needs and Desires
As for the purposes of prayer that will remain the same in heaven, the obvious purpose of prayer is for our daily needs. We will always be dependent on God for everything, and so we will need to pray about everything—with rejoicing and thanksgiving (1 Thess. 5:16). We will not have the same needs in heaven as we do now, but we will still have desires. We will not have trouble and pain and sorrow to pray about as we do now. And we will not have to pray for our protection and deliverance from evil, and to be forgiven of sins as we do now (Matt. 6:12-13). All these things will be over and done with. But there still will be much to pray about. Everything we do we will talk to God about. Every decision will be prayed about—where to go, what to do, who to talk to. Every desire I have for something I will ask Him about and He will immediately give those things to me (Jn. 16:24; Is. 65:24)—things I want to see, things I want to taste and eat, things I want to experience and explore, places I want to travel to. Of course God always wants us to be involved in His work and His kingdom. He will talk to me about that, and I will talk to Him and ask Him many things about what He wants me to do and what His will is. (Read how Moses and Elijah, who were in heaven at the time, discussed with Jesus His departure, Luke 9:30-31.)
The purpose of prayer is not just for daily needs and desires. It is also for the praise and worship of God; it is for His glory and kingdom and will. This higher purpose is designed to take precedence over and to influence all our daily needs and desires so that all we pray about (every desire, every decision) is for His glory and according to His will. There are three different points of prayer that Jesus has already outlined for us (in Matthew 6:9-10) that falls under this higher purpose of prayer: (1) “Hallowed be Your name;” (2) “Your kingdom come;” and (3) “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
- For His Glory
In the first point of prayer, “Hallowed be Your name,” we are asking God to show Himself to us so that we may lift Him up and glorify Him. For example, we may pray, “Lord, let me see who You are and what You have done so that I can tell You how great You are and how awesome You are. Lord, You are so very holy. I desire that all people treat You as You are—holy. I desire that all people would praise You. Help me treat You holy. Show me how to see You and treat You as holy and perfect. Lord I worship You.”
- For His Kingdom
Corresponding to the second point, “Your kingdom come,” we should and will pray something like this: “Lord, because You are so holy and so great, we desire to be part of Your kingdom and to experience all the great plans You have for us. Lord, we commit ourselves to You. We want You to reign and rule over us as King. Guide us and rule over us so that we may see Your holiness and be holy as You are. We are Your willing servants.”
That is the spiritual part of prayer. As for the physical meaning, we now pray that Jesus will come soon bodily to rule and reign on this earth, to make all things right. Of course in heaven our prayers will be a bit different. We will pray, “Thank You for coming to us and for making all things new and better.”
- For His Will
Corresponding to the third point, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” now we pray for our salvation and sanctification and for everything to be done on earth according to His will, as it is being done in heaven. When we get to heaven, of course, all things will be done and will be going according to His will; and so we won’t need to pray about it, but I can imagine we will be thanking Him for eternity—for saving us and for making us holy, without sin. But I suppose there is one thing we will pray about—that we will come to know Him better and better, that we will learn more and more of His will every day for eternity. This will be our growing desire, and of course it is exactly what will happen.