• Prayer helps our heart and mind to slowly become more aligned with God.
Have you ever thought about what prayer really is? What is the point of prayer? Why do people pray? Is the point of prayer to change gods mind? No, that's not it, God isn't in the habit of changing his mind. In fact, one of the attributes of the nature of God is that he is immutable, meaning he does not change. So, is the point of prayer to get God to notice something he is unaware of?  No, that's not right either, God already knows everything, so he isn't unaware of anything. In truth, prayer is far more about us and changing our heart and mind than it is about changing the heart and mind of God. God doesn't change, but prayer helps our heart and mind to slowly become more aligned and molded to look like his. Over time, something amazing happens within the heart of a prayerful person who grows in a heartfelt connection to their Father; their heart begins to break for the things that break Gods heart, and their values and priorities begin to align with Gods. This gradual changing of the heart to be more like Christ is a major component of spiritual growth and maturity. God is sovereign, yet he has given us free will and allows mankind to play an active and important role in our own destiny. Our prayer does not override or conflict with Gods sovereignty. If anything, prayer acts as a tool that leads the sender into connection and alignment with the receiver.

Think for a moment about the different ways a child could approach a parent. They could approach with fear, apprehension, timidity and uncertainty. Or, a child could approach their parent with a sense of love, gratitude, closeness, confidence and an eagerness to be embraced. Which of these two approaches do you think a loving father or mother would rather see in their child? Obviously, any parent who loves their child would want that child to look upon them with love, respect, and admiration, rather than fear and anxiety. This is also how we are to approach God, and how God desires for us to approach him. This is a key component of prayer; that we would approach Gods throne of grace with confidence, not in our own abilities, but with a right perspective of who God is. Why is this approach important? Because it conveys relationship. If you were to discover that your father was a powerful King and you were going to meet him for the first time, that first meeting would be one that was full of anxiousness and apprehension, because you don't know him, and you don't know what to expect. But, after many years of love, connection and intimacy, you would easily approach your father, the powerful and influential king, with confidence and boldness. This is what God wants, not to approach him with arrogance and pride, or even anxious fear, but with confidence which comes through the cultivation of an intimate relationship with a loving and sovereign God. It is through this close relationship and maturation in Christ where the promise comes that we will find grace and mercy to help us in our time of need.

Another key insight about prayer found in this passage is the idea that Jesus is our High Priest, who continually intercedes and has intervened on our behalf because of his great love. Jesus is able to empathize and understand our weakness and all that we are going through. We do not pray to a God who is so far removed from us that we are only seen as tiny ants and insignificant beings. God deeply cares for each of us, and through Jesus, he completely and totally understands every feeling, every temptation and every pain that a human could even imagine. That thought alone should give us confidence!


Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
 Hebrews 4:14-16


Christian Spirituality | Practical Theology 256

A study of what it means to be spiritual and how to grow spiritually. Special attention is given to the need to understand the nature of the gospel and how to live it out by focusing on repentance and the life of the cross. Special emphasis is put on fasting as an example of a spiritual discipline that highlights “vessel theology.”


Power Through Prayer
E.M. Bounds
Tim Keller