The Purpose of Prayer

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

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The question is sometimes asked: If God’s will and purpose are unalterable, why pray? The answer is simply: Because the divine purpose, which any answer to prayer must represent, includes the prayer itself. It is enough that He “who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11) invites and exhorts His people to “come boldly unto the throne of grace” to “let [their] requests be made known unto God” (Heb. 4:16; Phil. 4:6).

But prayer is not merely petition, as many suppose. It is one aspect of active communion with God (meditation on the Word being the other) and includes adoration, thanksgiving and confession, as well as supplication. Hyde, in God’s Education of Alan, Pp. 154,155, says: “Prayer is the communion of two wills, in which the finite comes into connection with the Infinite, and, like the trolley, appropriates its purpose and power.”

We have an example of this in the record of our Lord’s prayer in the garden, for, while He is not to be classed with finite men, yet He laid aside His glory, became “a servant” (Phil. 2:7) and “learned obedience” (Heb. 5:8; Phil. 2:8). In this place of subjection He made definite and earnest requests of His Father, but closed His prayer with the words: “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:42) with the result that He was “strengthened” for the ordeal He had to face (Ver. 43).

Thus prayer is not merely a means of “getting things from God” but a God-appointed means of fellowship with Him, and all acceptable prayer will include the supplication — as sincerely desired as the rest: “Nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done.”

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


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