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What Do We Want in Prayer?

Prayer is a gift—and it brings us back to reality.

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In the event of a fire in your home, the last thing you want to do is run around in the burning house (as is often seen on TV). The temperature at head level may well reach 600 degrees, and one blast of that heat could destroy your lungs. The only way to survive is on your hands and knees. At floor level, the temperature may be only 150 degrees, and crawling to an exit is the one way to withstand such conditions.

For us as Christians, such conditions are not the extreme, but the norm. We need to stay on our knees to survive!

The reason we don't pray more is that we have misunderstood the primary purpose of prayer. Prayer is more about getting to know God than getting answers, and Jesus shows us that prayer is all about recognizing our absolute dependence on God. That's why we should pray. But in our own hearts, what do we really want when we pray? What is the desired result of our praying? God wants our praying to be the kind of experience we are drawn to, not one we are dragged into. When it comes to what we really want in prayer, we can narrow it down to a couple of basic things—both of which are found in Jesus' model prayer.

We want our prayers to be meaningful

I can't imagine anyone who takes prayer seriously not wanting their prayers to be meaningful. If you have ever been a part of a time of prayer when you sensed, powerfully, the presence of the Holy Spirit—and you genuinely believed you connected with God in your praying—you are forever ruined from participating in routine, lifeless praying. What is it that makes prayer meaningful? What makes the difference between a time of prayer that no one wants to end—when the presence of God is felt by all—and prayer that just seems stale, ...

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Steve Abbott is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

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