What is prayer? While this seems like a pretty basic question, the answer could be pondered for a lifetime without ever being being fully exhausted. In my last post I reflected on prayer as an extension of our study of the Bible. Inspired by the words of Richard Foster, I viewed it as a means of correcting our broken spiritual compass. In other words it is a way of linking ourselves to the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. In this post, while I am continuing my meditation on prayer, I am looking at it from a slightly different angle.
In John Piper’s book “Let The Nations Be Glad” he encourages us to look at life as war, spiritual war (see also my posts “Discipleship” & “Training For Battle”). In his book he exhorts believers to see themselves as soldiers charged with the mission of taking the Good News of Jesus to all the nations of the world. Thus, it is with that mindset that he says of prayer:
“Prayer is primarily a wartime walkie-talkie for the mission of the church as it advances against the powers of darkness and unbelief. It is not surprising that prayer malfunctions when we try to make it a domestic intercom to call upstairs for more comforts in the den. God has given us prayer as a wartime walkie-talke so that we can call headquarters for everything we need as the kingdom of Christ advances in the world. Prayer gives us the significance of frontline forces and gives God the glory of a limitless Provider.” – John Piper
As I reflect on Piper’s words I am reminded of David’s words in Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”(ESV). I fear that as we look at that verse we tend to look at it with tunnel vision. What we see is “He will give you the desires of your heart.” What we fail to see is “Delight yourself in the Lord”. Here’s the point. If we are attempting to use God as a genie in a bottle so to speak, we are not glorifying Him, we are glorifying ourselves. However, when we find true happiness in the Lord, we will want the things that he wants and He will be delighted to give them to us.
Our purpose is to glorify Him and as Piper says: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him”. So, “serve the Lord with gladness”(Ps. 100:2). Serve the Lord by “fighting the good fight”(2 Tim 2:4). Fight against the forces of darkness and unbelief by spreading the joy found in the name of Jesus. Make it your mission to “let the nations be glad”, glad in Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. But, remember as you do that you are not to fight alone. We are to seek our directives from God Himself and He has given us a direct connection to Himself through prayer. When we seek to glorify Him, He will give us all we need!