Three Keys for Growing in the Secret PlaceJune 26, 2023
Promises for Those who Wait on the LordJuly 10, 2023
Why is prayer so important? What is the purpose of prayer and why are believers called to spend time in prayer? Below is an excerpt from Living From the Secret Place that gives the two main purposes of prayer:
This chapter will give a broad overview of the topic of prayer rather than an in-depth or exhaustive study. But before we go into some practical teaching on how we can grow in this area, I want to lay a foundation for why prayer is so important. Knowing the why behind prayer will help to fuel us in our journey of growth as a person of prayer.
We could look at various reasons why prayer is important, but I believe that it really boils down to two main purposes: relationship and partnership.
1. Relationship With God
We can’t get away from the fact that prayer and relationship with God are inseparable. For any relationship to grow, there must be time spent together, open communication and dialogue, and the sharing of hearts. This is true with human relationships but also true in our relationship with God. Prayer is the avenue for this type of connection to God to develop. It is communication with God, communion with God, and union with God.
There is an important place in prayer for receiving answers from God in response to our petitions. This is certainly a key purpose of prayer, and I will discuss it shortly. But let’s not lose sight of the truth that ultimately, prayer is about relationship with the Lord. It is about getting to know Him more and about opening our hearts to Him in transparent relationship. The secret place of prayer is the avenue to intimacy with God. Many seek to move the hand of God without moving the heart of God. Intimacy comes first. Results in prayer come as a byproduct of intimacy.
2. Partnership With God
Prayer is relationship with God, but it is also partnership with God. It is an indisputable fact of Scripture that God works on this earth through His people. He set this in motion from the beginning of creation when He first gave Adam and Eve dominion over the earth (see Genesis 1:26-28). God is sovereign, but He has chosen to work through mankind. We can’t escape this reality. And one of the primary ways that He works on earth through His people is when they call on Him in believing prayer.
The simple truth is that our prayers matter, and they matter greatly. This is seen from cover to cover in the Bible, as illustrated in just a few examples below.
- Joshua led the troops against the Amalekites in Israel’s first battle after their deliverance from Egypt. The text shows that the key for Israel’s victory was Moses’ intercession. While Joshua and his army fought, Moses lifted his hands to God on the mountain, and this is what secured the triumph (see Exodus 17:8-13).
- Hannah wept in anguish before the Lord because of her barrenness. She petitioned God to grant her a son, promising to dedicate him completely to the Lord. God answered her prayer, and Samuel was born. He would become a great prophet and leader of Israel (see 1 Samuel 1:9-20).
- The apostle Peter was captured and imprisoned by King Herod, who intended to kill him as he had recently done to James. But the church went into fervent intercession on Peter’s behalf. God sent an angel to miraculously set Peter free from prison and deliver him from certain death (see Acts 12:1-17).
We could fill a whole book detailing story after story of God working through the prayers of His people throughout Scripture. Church history is also filled with examples of God intervening in the earth as His people cried out to Him in persistence and faith. Our prayers matter more than we often realize, and our lack of prayer hinders the advancement of the kingdom of God more than we know. Souls are saved in answer to prayer. Destinies are changed in answer to prayer. Captives are set free in answer to prayer. Revival is birthed in answer to prayer. There is a partnership where God works in and through us as we call on His name.
In all of this, it is important to understand that prayer is not about us getting what we want but about God getting what He wants. That is why praying according to His will is a condition for answered prayer (see 1 John 5:14-15). Our Father is good and He cares about our requests and needs, but we must not see prayer as some sort of magic formula to fulfill our every wish. Prayer is about relationship, and prayer is about partnership. As we grow in intimacy with the Lord, we begin to pick up on His heartbeat and His burdens. This pulls us into the co-laboring aspect of prayer where God accomplishes His will on earth through our petitions and intercessions.
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Time alone with God was never intended to be a boring duty or empty ritual. It was meant to be a passionate pursuit of God that leads to encountering His presence and knowing Him more.
Living from the Secret Place is a call to personal devotion. With rich scriptural truths, personal examples, and practical teaching, this book will equip you to grow in the most important thing you can do—spend time alone with God!