Summary: Our prayer life can look like a roller coaster. One way of stabilising our prayer life to use prayer to find our purpose in life. This four step approach can work.
Finding our Purpose through Prayer: A Four Step approach
Pastor has finished a series of sermons on the theme of prayer a few weeks back. So and let us review and meditate on that topic today. We all know the importance of prayer, and we are taught to pray through the scriptures, through fellowships, through parental or peer guidance, through sermons etc. Yet, many a time, our prayer life is like a roller coaster ride. At one end of the continuum are the times when we immerse ourselves in prayer, we fast and pray, we rend our hearts, we cry out to God. We are generally in this end of the continuum generally when we are in trouble, or anguished, or anxious; either for ourselves or for our loved ones, or the church or the nation etc. At the other end of the continuum are times when we just go through the motions of prayer, just because we might feel guilty if we do not pray. Some of us believe that we should pray about everything, and some of us are of the firm belief that we should pray only for very important things and not for “trivial things”. Most of us are somewhere in between these two extreme ends of the continuum in our prayer lives.
The Lord has placed upon my heart to examine with you, few ways to bring some consistency on our prayer lives. This quest led me to the fact that we are more likely to stick to a prayer routine, if we find purpose in our lives through prayer. So that is the topic of todays message. How we do we find our purpose in life through prayer?
But first let us answer the question , can our life’s purpose be really be found in God? through communication with God? Through prayer?
Colossians 1:16 (MSG) For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in Him and finds its purpose in Him. The word is clear. Everything around us, including us, is created by Him for Him and hence we cannot find our purpose outside of Him. Ephesians 1:11 (MSG) reaffirms this: It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. So that should settle the question on whether we can find our life’s purpose in God. And if we can find our purpose in Him, the only way to understand that purpose is to constantly communicate with the Lord. That is precisely what prayer is. A constant conversation with God. It does not matter, which end of the continuum we are in, we as Christians are asked to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). Fortunately for us, Bible does give us enough examples of long immersive prayers (King Solomon is one example) as well as short arrow prayers (Nehemiah is an example) and then several examples of people in between. So the good news is that immaterial of our style of praying, it is a way of conversing and communicating with our God. Whether you use the ACTS model of prayer or just the conversational mode of prayer, it is way of conversing with our personal God. And it is through those conversations that we find our purpose in life.
So how can we use prayer to find our purpose of our lives? My studies reveal that there are four steps we need to follow , if we wish to understand the purpose of our lives through prayer. They are as follows.
1. Seek God’s will
2. Wait in faith for an answer
3. Obey His instruction when it comes
4. Be at Peace with the outcome
Step 1: Seek God’s will through Prayer
Thanks to our fallen nature, all of us have our own self-will. Some of us have it very strong, and some of us probably to manageable levels. So it is natural that we wish to push our agenda in front of God, even before we start to pray. We have made up our minds about what we need to do and then we continue to pray to seek a confirmation for the same. In short, we end up seeking approval from God for our plans. But the Bible tells us Proverbs 19:21 (NKJV) 21 There are many plans in a man's heart, Nevertheless the LORD'S counsel--that will stand. I don’t want to be mistaken here. I am in no way saying that asking God for what we want, bringing our needs in front of God is wrong. It is absolutely not. While we have the freedom to ask for what we want, we also are reminded multiple times, that we are also to surrender our wishes to His will. Jesus exemplified this in the garden of Gethsemane, when He prayed for the bitter cup to be taken away from Him, but immediately surrendered the want to God’s will be affirming, “Not my will but yours”. It is the center piece of the Lord’s prayer that we so often repeat, but fail to notice several times. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven..” Paul’s question in Acts 9:6 is loud and clear. “Lord, What do you want me to do?” Can we make that our prayer?