Our church begins each year with a 21 Days campaign. It is something many churches across the country do as well, and we find it valuable to set the tone for the year ahead.
But more than set the tone, prayer does something very unique to our souls, mind, and spirit. It has a function that goes beyond good wishes or meditation. If you’ve limited prayer to a moment to quiet your soul and voice your wishes to God or the universe, let me encourage you to go beyond that and see prayer in a new way.
“But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
These things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
1 Co 2:9–11 ESV
Prayer connects us to God and opens our hearts to receive and hear from the Spirit of God. Through prayer, God’s spirit reveals the things of God to us. We begin to see things better, with a new revelation. That changes our perspective of the present, our outlook for the future, and how we think of our selves and our circumstances.
How do these things happen?
As the Scripture says, God prepared this for those who love him. So our lead motivation to pray should be our affection toward God, and our devotion to Him. If our prayer is transactional and motivated by selfishness or ambition, our hearts will not be open to the thoughts of God. But if we desire to know Him because we love Him, then our hearts are open to the work of the Holy Spirit.
That’s why it is important to pray. It is through prayer that we connect to the “thoughts of God”. So if the main focus of your prayer is petition, I challenge you to make petition the least important part of it. Still bring your petitions to God with faith, because he cares for you. Do not minimize casting your cares before God. It is so important. But elevate your desire to know God above the things you want God to do for you. Make prayer an expression of your love and devotion to God, and you will see your spirit revive in a new way.
God loves you. And that’s primarily why we pray.
-Pastor JD Müller