The Purpose of Prayer

I’m writing late as I was out late with some friends tonight at a bowling alley. Bowling is one sport I can really enjoy. I know there are highly skilled players out there, but it’s something also that people that aren’t really athletic like myself can do a decent job at. With the steel rod on my spine, I do have a handicap, but I’m pleased with my performance tonight.

Humorously, I remember going up one time to bowl and for the first time the thought came into my mind of “O Lord. Grant me a strike.” Wouldn’t you know that that bowl was the first time that I got a strike? I had to smile, but then I also had to wonder. Could it be there was divine intervention to put a smile on my face? Maybe. Yet I thought that if such was the case, isn’t there revealed then that great danger of always getting what we pray for?

If I was guaranteed one every time I went up to bowl, for instance, then I would be detracting from the joy of bowling. Instead of working to improve my game as I should if I want to be a good bowler and learning from my mistakes, I would simply be depending on God to do for me what I should do for myself and not only that, I would be taking away from people who really do put in the practice at the game and work to succeed.

Let us thank God that prayers are not always answered yes. Chaos would result.

Yet there is nothing wrong in asking God for things, even little things like that. However, is that the sole purpose of prayer? When we come to pray, it seems one of the first things that is on our mind is our grocery list of requests. We want things. Does that now show how far we’ve fallen? Imagine if you went to a nation with a monarchy and were invited into the presence of the king. When you got to his throne and saw him in his royal robes and holding a royal scepter, it would not be fitting to say “Hi your majesty. I was wondering if while I was here, you could do a few things for me and then I’ll be out of your way!”

Such an idea seems preposterous. Such an idea seems like what we do to the greatest king of all.

Again my readers, keep in mind I speak to myself also.

What I’ve found though is that lately, my prayers become times to think about God and what theology means in my life. I try to come with praise first and find that I have to move past praise or I’ll keep my prayer at that point and we are commanded to bring our requests to God so I do not wish to do that. Still, praise is essential.

I also try to confess sins throughout the day. For me, it’s not outright sins but rather attitudes that I have had throughout the day and even thoughts I don’t think I should have focused on. It’s trying to remind me to become more Christlike in my life.

I also have thanksgiving as well and I thank God for the many blessings I have in my life and at this point in my life, my friends are a high priority on the list. Being away from family especially, my friends have become all important to me for they are as if they were a surrogate family of sorts. They’re the ones that keep me going.

Now we come to requests and I have a list that I go through. I’m the last one on my list as I have family and friends I pray for. For instance, to this day, I still pray for two Mormon missionaries that visited my roommate and I that I think left in serious doubt. I encourage everyone else to pray for these Mormons. God knows their names. I won’t give them here.

Prayer though is a privilege and too often, we don’t see it as such. It is not meant to be simply a duty. It is meant to be a joy. We don’t pray for God’s benefit but for ours. God is not bettered if we pray and worsened if we don’t. We are bettered if we pray and worsened if we don’t. God has given us the privilege of entering his throne room. It is one we should not take lightly. Let us give thanks for that privilege.

Heck. Maybe the best way to give thanks would be to do so in prayer.

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