A lot of good things will happen to you even if you don’t pray, and a lot of bad things will happen to you even if you do pray. We expect God to send blessings to His friends, but He also showers blessings on His enemies, because they are His enemies and He would like for them to become His friends. He loves His enemies as well as His friends. That’s the good news of the gospel.
Are we only friends with God because of what we hope to get out of Him? If that is our only reason for serving God — to try to gain His blessings for ourselves — then are we really His friends?
The primary purpose of prayer is communication with God. It is not to get answers. ["Answers" refers to blessings. We always receive a response, but may not get the answer we are after.] While it is true that our primary purpose is not to get "things" from God, it is also true that we have been invited to ask Him to meet our needs, and even our wants.
So, don’t forget: it is always right to ask! We have been invited to ask. God wants us to ask. We may not receive what we expect, but we are always welcome to ask. ...But the most important reason why we pray is to enter into the deepest fellowship and communion with Him, as He shares His thoughts with us and pours out His heart to us, the way He longs to do.
The ACTS Map
Intercessory prayer is the one type of prayer that God delights to answer above all others. When you pray for others, you are joining with the great Intercessor: Jesus prayed for others more than for Himself. He prayed for you! (See John 17.)
One of the evidences that prayer works is that when we pray for others, even without their knowledge, our prayers make a difference. Remember three things: (1) you are making the request on behalf of a friend in need; (2) the One you are asking has what is needed; and (3) you and the One you are asking are also friends!
God is willing to give and delights in responding to our requests. But there are times when He is silent for a time in order to test the genuineness of our desires, of our trust in Him.
The TRIALS Trail
The PART PLAN
Get a looseleaf notebook, paper, and eight section dividers.
Write one of the following words on each divider tab: Praise, Admit, Requests, Thanks, Passages, Listening, Awareness, and Notes. You don’t have to write something in each section every day. Adjust the plan to your own devotional needs.
P-Praise. Copy a psalm or write a praise poem of your own on one page of the Praise section. Date your entry. The next day, skip a space and write a new love letter to God. Praise expresses your feelings toward God because of who He is, not for what He does for you.
P-Passages. Here you record powerful passages of Scripture that speak to you. When you find a verse that touches your heart, stop to look it up in other versions and in the SDA Bible Commentary. Write down your thoughts about this verse, including a paraphrase if you wish. If you limit yourself to one text per page, you can later file these according to the Bible book or topic; after several years, you’ll have your own commentary.