the purpose of prayer

I always heard that prayer was the thing. The thing that hours must be committed to. The thing that must be characterized by steadfastness and earnestness and discipline. And the Lord prayed with blood sweat and despair before his time was to come, and he prayed the honest prayer "father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me," and still ended with acknowledgment of the Father's authority and claimed his submission to that will. And prayer brought him back to the Father's will, brought up under the authority of the Father, and brought the bitter cup up to his mouth to drink.

And what do my prayers often look like but a mess of "I want"s and "please give me"s and this isn't bad, for the Lord said, "ask and you will receive" but is this truly what the prayer life of a saint should be? A few minutes before the day begins of sitting down and asking for favor and blessing?

And what is the point of prayer, Father? Please reveal this to me, Spirit. For you know all and in fact understand myself better than I do, so why pray? Why speak?

R.C Sproul said that "prayer prompts and nurtures obedience, putting the heart into the proper 'frame of mind' to desire obedience." And yes, I see this. I see that once I start setting aside time for the discipline of prayer (and as Corrie Ten Boom wisely said we cannot pray when we feel like it, but must "have an appointment with the Lord and keep it") and begin the act of offering all of myself to the Lord in this time of communion, the Spirit begins to change my prayers from selfish words to words not of my old self, but of the new creation that I am! And hallelujah! For I could never do this on my own but he is alive and active and transforming my heart in the here and now.

And as I see my prayer life deepen I find my list of things to be thankful for grow. Yes, the list grows longer and longer for as I speak my requests and worries and desires before the Lord I see where the Lord answers and my heart grows grateful for the faithfulness I see.

And soon thankfulness is on my lips and praise is my heartbeat. I begin to hear the voice of the Lord say "no" over certain desires and I sing thanks for my heart is learning to trust him. I watch as the Lord provides the needs in my life, even the daily ones I once took for granted, and all I can do is well up in awe for I am humbled by the constant character of my Father.

Yes, prayer is what changes. Prayer is what transforms. Prayer is what pushes me deeper into the Father for on my knees before him is where I realize my need for him, my desire for him, my thirst for him.

Yes, prayer is the thing.

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