I’ve been struggling the last few weeks to understand prayer, and I think I may finally have figured it out (sort of).
God doesn’t NEED us to pray for others in order to heal them, He WANTS us to. Technically, He can heal them without our prayers. For example, He didn’t need Moses to part the Red Sea but He decided to use him to do it since Moses was willing. As with praying, if we are willing to pray for others, then God will grant us the power to change their lives. So I guess we are making a difference. Praying for others is basically like saying, “Please God, use this prayer to help heal my friend,” instead of “God, I ask You to decide to heal my friend.”
Accordingly, praying for ourselves shouldn’t be about asking God to please show more mercy – He is already supremely merciful. Praying for ourselves should be about asking God to give us the strength to be more like Him – which He already wants anyway. We are not trying to persuade Him in order to make Him want to change us – He already has that desire.
While God’s mind doesn’t change; our prayer shows Him that we have changed our mind. When we pray with humility, we are basically admitting that we need Him. He wanted to help us all along. He just knew that we wouldn’t learn from our mistakes unless our improvement was a result of humbly asking for His help. In many cases, if God helped us without us asking, we would only see short-term improvement and we wouldn’t learn anything. All that to say…praying is powerful, but not because it is persuasive. Prayer is powerful because it invites God into a heart that is truly ready to be healed.
I really never took the time to think about the purpose of prayer besides drawing you closer to God. It’s not good to overthink things, but it’s also not good to under-think things because that results in ignorance. I think, up until now, I’ve been living in ignorance of what prayer really means beyond the beauty of a conversation with the Lover of your soul – which is important, but that is not all – prayer actually accomplishes things! I knew that I was supposed to believe that it did, but I really never understood it until now.
I still have much more to learn about prayer so please comment and share your insight!