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Day 18

PRAYER

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

MATTHEW 6:8

Prayer doesn’t give you spiritual power. That may sound surprising, but it’s true. Prayer doesn’t give you power. It aligns your life with God so that He chooses to demonstrate His power through you. The purpose of prayer isn’t to convince God to change your circumstances but to prepare you to be involved in God’s activity. The fervent prayer of the people at Pentecost didn’t induce the Holy Spirit to come on them. Prayer brought them to a place where they were ready to participate in the mighty work God had already planned.

Jesus told His followers to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit came on them (see Acts 1:4-5). The disciples obeyed His command, waiting for God’s next directive. As they prayed, God adjusted their lives to what He intended to do next. As they prayed, a unity developed among them. For the first time the disciples used Scripture as their guide in decision making (see vv. 15-26). The day of Pentecost arrived, and the city of Jerusalem filled with pilgrims from around the world. When God released His Holy Spirit on the disciples, He had already filled the city with messengers who would carry the gospel to every nation. Prayer had prepared the disciples for their obedient response.

Prayer is designed to adjust you to God’s will, not to adjust God to your will. If God hasn’t responded to what you’re praying, you may need to adjust your praying to align with God’s agenda. Rather than focusing on what you’d like to happen, realize God may be more concerned with what He wants to happen in you.

Consider that even before you call on Him, the Father has already begun to provide all you need (see Isa. 65:24). Jesus wanted His disciples to learn how intimately God knew and loved each of them. That’s why He told them to pray. He assured them that even before they prayed, God knew all about their situation.

Prayer isn’t designed for us to inform God of our needs, for He already knows them. Why, then, should we pray? Prayer enables us to experience God more intimately. The more a child experiences the loving provision of a parent, the more convinced he or she becomes of his parent’s unrelenting love. Often a parent anticipates a child’s need before the child recognizes it and prepares in advance to provide for that need. Likewise, our Heavenly Father knows exactly what we’ll face today and next week. He’s eager for us to experience Him as He provides for us.

To our surprise, we often discover that God knows far better than we do what’s best for us. At times we assume that we know what would benefit us. We can even be foolish enough to assume we don’t require anything of God. Yet God wants us to go to Him in our need (see Matt. 7:7). He’s ready to show His strength through our weakness. Our Heavenly Father knows exactly what’s best for us, and He’s prepared to provide for every need if we will only ask (see Phil. 4:13).

What have you been praying for recently? What needs do you have?

What answers to prayer have you experienced?

When have you been aware of God’s changing you through prayer?

What was the most meaningful statement or Scripture you read today?

Reword the statement or Scripture into a prayer of response to God.

What does God want you to do in response to today’s study? [Henry T. Blackaby, Richard Blackaby (2014). Seven Realities for Experiencing God – Member Book. LifeWay Press. Retrieved from https://read.lifeway.com]

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