What is the purpose of prayer?
We have struggled with infertility for years. It is a common challenge for many people, but that doesn’t make it any easier when you are faced with it yourself. Over the years, I have run the gamut of emotions ranging from disappointment, to anger, to resignation and defeat. Having children is a righteous desire, so why couldn’t we, who are trying to be good people and who would give children a loving home, have children easily?
I also had a difficult time knowing how to pray about it. On one hand, we are taught that if we are faithful, our prayers will be answered. On the other hand, we are taught that the purpose of prayer is to bring our will in line with God’s will. The two ideas seemed a little contradictory to me. I felt a little bit guilty praying for a child if it wasn’t God’s will for us. As I was sitting in Sunday School one day, the lesson was on prayer and the teacher referred us to the bible dictionary. What I read changed my perspective forever:
“As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”
When I was able to view prayer as a form of work, I no longer felt guilty for praying for a child. It released a huge burden and I could pray without reserve while hoping that it was a blessing God was willing to grant. This lesson has helped me in every trial since and I hope it helps you as well. God wants to bless us, but we have to do our part.