Prayer: The Design of Prayer

Design can be defined as “intent or purpose.” Everything in creation has a design – God’s stamp on us, His creatures.

His purpose or design in giving us prayer is to provide the means for us to come as children to a father. There is perfect order and precision in all He made, and He has a perfect plan for prayer. In Psalm 8:3 David writes, “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained ….” He then asks, “What is man?”

David marvels at the vastness and wonders of God’s great creation. As creation shows how great a Designer we have, so prayer demonstrates God’s marvelous design to show us His goodness and power. He gives us the ability to pray as well as blessing us with communion with Himself. God created us to have a relationship with Himself. We may draw close to Him through prayer, to communicate, worship, and seek God’s face, knowing He not only hears and cares, but will respond to His child’s request.

Prayer then was designed by God for all men, for every circumstance, in every condition, as a way to come and speak to Him. It is the greatness of Who we come to that makes prayer so important and needful. God knows all things, so He knows our hearts and every need.

God is everywhere at all times, so He hears everything we utter, or even think! God cares about every detail, delight, and yes, every disappointment of your life as He is all-loving and all-knowing. God created man to have a relationship with Himself. He longs for His creatures to draw near. “Draw near unto God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8, ESV).

Prayer was given for all to enjoy and for our profit. The young can pray and the old have learned through good, as well as difficult times, the absolute necessity of prayer. It is both the unsaved and the saved who can pray.

In Acts 10, Cornelius feared God, prayed always, and was honestly seeking after the truth, but was not yet saved. God heard his cry and sent His servant to show him the way of salvation.

In Matthew 14, it was Peter who prayed, “Lord save me.” The Lord heard and delivered him. Even our Lord Himself would often pray to His Father showing His dependence and submission, as well as emphasizing to us that if He felt the need to pray, how much more should we?

Prayer is designed for all times. “Evening and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and He shall hear my voice” (Psa 55:17). Every circumstance that crosses our path requires prayer. We should pray in times of need. The Lord bids us to ask and it will be given. In times when guidance is needed, He bids us to seek and we will find. In times when the way is barred and there seems to be no escape, we are to knock and He will open the door. We are like the children of Israel at the Red Sea who experienced an impasse. We see them crying out to Moses for deliverance. On another occasion, they came to the waters of Marah and rejoiced to see water after a dry spell. Now it seemed like their need was being met by God, but the waters were bitter when they drank. They cried, God heard, and the waters were made sweet. We can pray in times when we are near to God and we can pray in those times when we are at a distance from Him. We can pray in times of joy, blessing, and fruitfulness. We can cry to God in times of heaviness of heart, as well as times of dearth and barrenness. “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil 4:6).

Prayer is also for all circumstances. We see this illustrated in the vows that are often said at a wedding. These vows are given to encompass the entirety of our life’s experience: richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Nehemiah helps to illustrate this, in his captivity. He was captive in a foreign land, serving as the king’s cupbearer. Upon Hanani’s return from Jerusalem, Nehemiah asked him of the conditions there. The report told of the desperate state of the city. Nehemiah sat down, wept, and prayed, feeling the burden of those in Jerusalem. In Nehemiah 1:6, he acknowledges his own sin and the sin of God’s people in his prayer. It is this attitude of prayer that is characteristic of Nehemiah’s life, as recorded in the Scriptures. In the Psalms, David’s heart and need for prayer is shown in all the circumstances of his life’s pathway.

Finally, God has designed prayer so it can be expressed in at least three different ways. Each person can individually turn his heart to God, entering the closet in privacy and pouring out his need to God. It was our Lord, Himself, who often would go to the mountain to pray. This shows the paramount importance of a personal prayer life. Another way to pray is with a fellow believer. This can be with your spouse, sharing common concerns and cultivating a closer relationship with God, and, therefore, with each other as you both are drawn to Him. Prayer can be brother with brother, sister with sister, or friend with friend. Each of these can create accountability and enhance one’s prayer life, doubling its power. The last way is displayed in Acts 12, where it was the collective church in Jerusalem praying, joining as one in power with God. Instead of one, or two, all joined in their cry to God for Peter’s deliverance. What a night it was when Peter walked into their midst! What power in united prayer!

Truly God designed prayer to meet every need we have. It is summed up in the words of our Lord, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Draw near to God today, claim the promise of “shall.” He designed it so.