The purpose of prayer is . . .


“Sometimes the purpose of prayer is to get us out of circumstances, but more often than not, the purpose of prayer is to get us through them.

I’m certainly not suggesting we shouldn’t pray deliverance prayers, but there are times we need to pray prevailing prayers. We need to ask God to give us the grace to sustain, the strength to stand firm, and the willpower to keep on keeping on.

The primary purpose of prayer is not to change circumstances; the primary purpose of prayer is to change us! But either way, the chief objective remains the same: to glorify God in any and every situation.”

– Mark Batterson
Draw the Circle


My book review here

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20 thoughts on “The purpose of prayer is . . .

  1. Victoria

    This is very thought provoking, thank you for sharing. Am loving this series! I think one of the things that is hard with this type of prevailing prayer is not just remembering to take this focus, or choosing to take it, but actually knowing how to pray it, what are the right words for this circumstance, what are the right graces to ask for? I suppose we don’t necessarily need to know, if we have the right heart we can start our prayer and be led to those attitudes and qualities….thanks for helping me think this through!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think you nailed it here, Victoria: “I suppose we don’t necessarily need to know” – I love that beautiful truth about prayer. The Spirit intercedes on our behalf when we don’t/can’t know what is best to ask for. I believe the Lord is pleased with our dependence.

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Prayers for strength to “get through” do seem to hold the seeds of “get me out of here!”, at least in many cases, in that they open a channel for God to show us the path that will bring us from dark to light.

    I’ve had a problem with specific petitionary prayers ever since, when I was praying that I would get a certain university teaching job, I was engaged in a zero-sum contest…if my prayer for success was granted, it would mean that the other aspirants’ prayers were denied. That just seemed wrong, and I try not to pray that kind of prayer. Instead I ask God to let me do my best, and leave it at that.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve thought the same thing about zero-sum contest prayers: some pray for rain for good reasons; others are praying for no rain also for good reasons. May the Lord decide what’s best, and give us an open heart to accept it. I’m still not as accepting as I want to be about it, but it’s the direction I want to keep growing in.

  3. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I have never heard the term: Prevailing Prayers before, but I understand it.

    I have read of so many preachers who say ‘just pray and you’ll get what you want’. It just doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes the troubles I have are the desire and purpose of God. Then it’s so important to know how to pray for fortitude and strength to not get sad or despair. Of course, I’d rather have smooth sailing! But if it’s time for rough seas, it’s good to know that I can pray to get through it.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I wasn’t familiar with that term either, but I am familiar with the concept of hanging-on prayers. 🙂 I prefer smooth sailing, too, but if not, thank God for sticking by me in the boat or walking on the water.

  4. Sharon

    Oh yes, indeed! I love this! I had never really thought of the difference between deliverance praying and prevailing praying. So often I’m asking the Lord to *fix* something – and by that, I usually mean “make this situation better, or better yet, make it go away!” But, prevailing! Yes! Overcoming, standing firm, resisting – all these things are what we need to pray for the most. God will sometimes *fix* things – but more often than not, He wants us to instead *fix* our eyes upon Him!


  5. Barbara H.

    I tend to pray both – “Lord, PLEASE deliver me! Please!” and then “But if not – give me grace through it.” I’d really rather have the former, but often His answer is the latter. 🙂 I’m thankful He knows what we need, both in specific answer to prayer and in growth and dependence on Him.

  6. Linda@Creekside

    God knows how much we need a heart-change, day in, day out. And I love that when we can’t pray, others can. And the Holy Spirit interceeds.

    We are not alone in this prayer process. And for that, I am thankful, Lisa.

    Thank you for this needed reminder …

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