“O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this, your servant, and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name, and give success to your servant today, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” Now I was bcupbearer to the king. Nehemiah 1:11 ESV
If it is true that we are helpless and God is sovereign – if it is true that all we touch is tainted and all God touches is made clean – if it is true that the meaning of all we do is by virtue of its relationship to God, then prayer is not merely vital, it is essential.
When Nehemiah heard his people were in trouble, he wept, and fasted, and prayed. When will you and I become that burdened? When will we be broken before God in prayer? Nehemiah spent four months in intense prayer. When have you or I spent that length of time in prayer?
Prayer recognizes the character of God, it recognizes the character of humans, and it recognizes the character of sin. What is prayer about? It’s about bringing myself into the place where the awesome, holy, glorious God could even work through such a flawed instrument as me. What is the ultimate purpose of prayer? We see it in all the great prayers of the Old Testament. It is that the name of God may be exalted in the earth. It is not that my purposes, or your purposes, may be achieved, but it is that God may be revealed in all his saving, redeeming power
To be in prayer is to be brought to the place where we can say, “Not my purposes, but yours; not my needs but theirs.” The function of prayer is to bring us to the point where we begin to understand how God wants to solve whatever is the problem that we are facing, and how God wants to use us in that solution.