Each person has an awesome purpose in God's eyes. Prayer helps connect us to that purpose.
Each person has an awesome purpose in God’s eyes. Prayer helps connect us to that purpose. Paul summarized our overall purpose as believers in Ephesians 2:10 where he stated that we are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” He added in 5:1,2 that we are to be imitators of God and live lives of love, “just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” That summary presents a large purpose. Essentially we are to be Christ’s representatives in our spheres of influence and bring others to Him.
Purpose cannot be fulfilled without prayer. There is little reason, in fact, to put one foot in front of another to accomplish divine purpose without first bathing it in prayer. At the same time, prayer must be coupled with action. While prayer can, and often does, marshal the forces of heaven to act in certain situations, we must be ready always to act on what we are praying about.
Paul often requested that believers pray for him that he might accomplish the mission God had sent him to do. “Pray also for me,” he said, “that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19). “Pray for us . . . that God may open a door for our message” he asks in Colossians 4:3. Then in 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12 he writes, “We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We have much to do to get the work of the Kingdom done. The task can be overwhelming; even discouraging, to the point of wondering if God is even engaged in helping us fulfill His purposes. In those times we can be most grateful, as Paul no doubt was, that there are intercessors praying that God’s purpose will be fulfilled in our life.
At the end of my freshman year of college, a friend, Cliff Scheline, now a pastor in Idaho, asked if I would travel with him that summer in evangelistic work. God also had been dealing with my heart about ministry, so I accepted. Though fledgling evangelists, somehow we managed to schedule ten revival meetings in Idaho and Oregon during those summer months.
In most communities we stayed in the pastor’s or a parishioner’s home. One dear couple living on a farm in eastern Oregon made an impression upon me that I will never forget.
Our first night there, Cliff and I were jolted awake by voices coming through the wall very early in the morning. Not sure what was taking place, we sat up to listen. As I rubbed slumber from my eyes, I began to hear one of the sweetest sounds as our dear hosts stormed the gates of heaven in prayer. They were praying for us, for the services, for their church, for their family, and I am sure they prayed all around the world before they finished! This common, unheralded couple on a nondescript little farm had learned the treasured secret of unleashing God’s purpose through the power of prayer.
E. M. Bounds states, “The prayers of God’s saints are the capital stock in heaven by which Christ carries on His great work upon earth. The great throes and mighty convulsions on earth are the results of these prayers. Earth is changed, revolutionized; angels move on more powerful, more rapid wing, and God’s policy is shaped as the prayers are more numerous, more efficient.”
Only eternity will reveal what “great throes and mighty convulsions” were wrought by the prayers that soared heavenward from that little farmhouse! Perhaps more was accomplished by those prayers than by some greatly publicized crusades and outreaches; and God’s policy was shaped in the accomplishing of His purposes on earth.
The beauty about prayer is that it matters not what one’s station or title is in life; it is an equal-opportunity means by which every believer, young or old, rich or poor, well-known or obscure, can move the hand of God to bring about His purposes for time and eternity. As we connect to God, one another, and our purpose in life through prayer, we have the opportunity to make a world-shaking, life-transforming, eternal difference in our homes, communities, churches, nation, and world. Let’s pray all the more!