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1112. The Forgotten Purpose of Prayer

God has a purpose for prayer that you may have never considered.

IT’S WORTH CONSIDERING

The Forgotten Purpose of Prayer

An incomplete understanding of the purpose of prayer will prevent us from seeing others, especially the difficult ones, as God sees them. If we will allow God to soften our hearts and change our focus during our time with Him, He will give us the same compassion He has for those He has placed on our hearts. The only way this will happen is if we understand that prayer is not designed to change God. It’s not intended to change His mind about something or to convince Him to bless our plans. Instead, prayer takes us into God’s presence, shows us His will, and prepares us to obey Him. It allows us to connect with Him, understand His heart regarding the issue at hand, and respond in a way that accomplishes His will. The bottom line is that one of the purposes of prayer is to change us.

Moses on Mt. Sinai

Moses spent 40 days communing with God on Mt. Sinai.  That’s an intense time of prayer! During that time, Moses learned from God just how wicked the people were and how imminent God’s judgment was. When Moses saw the people as God saw them, he pleaded with God, “But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written” (Ex. 32:32). Because Moses had allowed himself to be changed by his time with God, he felt the same compassion God had for the people, in spite of their wickedness. He actually asked God to blot out his name from the book of life if it would save the people from His impending judgment.

AS I SEE IT

Think about what God created during those 40 days. God had formed Moses into a mighty intercessor for His people. Because Moses had allowed himself to be changed during his time with God, the entire “nation” was spared. Imagine what God may desire to do through us, if we will allow Him to change us in our times with Him. We can be certain that He wants to soften our hearts, to change our focus, to see through His eyes and to love with His heart.

The Bible is full of examples of great things happening while God’s people prayed. On the day of Pentecost, the Spirit came upon the disciples as they gathered to pray (Acts 4:31). Barnabas and Saul received their marching orders from the Holy Spirit during a time of prayer (Acts 13:2). We tend to pray for things to happen some time in the future, but God may be ready to bring about a change in us right then, if we will only spend the time necessary to connect with God’s heart. Can you imagine what your ministering would be like if you actually shared in God’s own compassion?

If you don’t love certain people as you should, spend some protracted time praying for them and let God change you. Whatever your area of weakness, bring it to God in prayer and ask Him to give you His passion for it. Expect to be changed, and He will do it. If we want God to use us, we must be willing to be made usable, and being changed during our times with our Lord may be exactly what’s been missing.

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