A Selfish Benefit of Prayer?

How many benefits are there? Com’ on, no one except God knows. I can give you one that I continually, regularly, and faithfully experience (extra adverbs for emphasis).


My personal preference for devotional time (Bible reading and prayer) is early in the morning. I love the quiet mornings; more of a Jed Clampett than a night owl. By starting my day off with devotions I get recalibrated. My mind and heart starts the day off focused on my God, and it helps me to see with an eternal perspective. All of this helps to get my priorities in line for the day as well see the Gospel afresh for the day.

The honest part is: I wish I could stay calibrated throughout the day. But as the insurance commercial reminds us, “Life comes at us fast.” Sometimes it is a challenge just to drive to work. As the day wears on the needs for re calibrating our heart, soul, mind, and …. (fill in the blank) becomes more obvious. We are messy lives, especially spiritually,  needing our Maker and Sanctifier to put our bubble back between the lines, level, and moving forward.

Challenges and temptations, successes and failures shout reasons for recalibration. “Here I am, Lord. I’m still a mess and I’m still broken.” I need my alone time with my Father, my Savior, and my Sanctifier—the Triune God. Discombobulated is not my preferred alternative state for the day.

“Oh God, You are my God; Earnestly I seek You.” Psalms 63:1a (NIV)

Do I think this is a selfish motive to pray? It is a God-given benefit of His grace. Therefore, the answer is: Nope.

Confession of Freedom in Christ

If you are In Christ, then you are free. You are free with an exclamation point. We need to be careful not to replace His exclamation point with a comma and add to what He did and Who He is for us. Don’t add requirements, rules, or yokes of bondage of human-works to the simple Gospel of Grace. It is by faith alone; grace alone, in Christ alone, … plus nothing!

John 8:36 “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

The “Indeed” is Christ’s exclamation point. Don’t add a “… yea but …”


A Confession of Freedom

Jesus, You set me free and I live in Your Grace …

So that I can enjoy You, my God and Savior;

So that I can bathe in Your Love, in Your kindness towards me, and drink from Your fountain of Life;

So that I can walk with You and talk with You in both the Good times and in my struggles and heartaches;

So that my flesh nature will grow weaker and more dim in its influence and voice;

So that I can become the child & son who You created me to be;

And so that I may know You, My God and Savior.


I live free from the fear of Your rejection;

Free from the fear of disappointing You;

Free from worrying if I’m good enough, strong enough, righteous enough, or religious enough.

Because I am not and I can’t be, and Jesus Christ is for me.


I live free to love You without wondering how You love me;

free to be just me, and I don’t have to strive to be like anyone else – to be a ‘cookie-cutter’ Christian;

I can live free from what others think about me because I know What You think about me.

free from Who religious people try to make me to be, which is like them;

free from trying to keep a list of requirement to be loved by You.


I am free to serve my God not because I have to, but because I can and want to serve You;

I am free from all requirements to be saved, to be accepted, and to walk with my Jesus;

I am free from my past, and that includes yesterday. I can enjoy the Now with my Savior and Father;

I no longer live under a yoke and in religious shackles, but in the Ocean of Grace.

That is why I boast in nothing but the Cross.

I am free… TO LIVE!

A Conversation Between Prayerful and Prayerless

Many people wrestle with the question: “If God ordains and controls everything, then won’t His plans from of old come to pass whether we pray or not?”

This is a fun and clear explanation, via a conversation between Prayerful and Prayerless that will answer this question.

Click this LINK to go to the Blog or read below. Thanks, John Piper.


Prayerless: I understand that you believe in the providence of God. Is that right?

Prayerful: Yes.

Prayerless: Does that mean you believe, like the Heidelberg Catechism says, that nothing comes about by chance but only by God’s design and plan?

Prayerful: Yes, I believe that’s what the Bible teaches.

Prayerless: Then why do you pray?

Prayerful: I don’t see the problem. Why shouldn’t we pray?

Prayerless: Well, if God ordains and controls everything, then what he plans from of old will come to pass, right?

Prayerful: Yes.

Prayerless: So it’s going to come to pass whether you pray or not, right.

Prayerful: That depends on whether God ordained for it to come to pass in answer to prayer. If God predestined that something happen in answer to prayer, it won’t happen without prayer.

Prayerless: Wait a minute, this is confusing. Are you saying that every answer to prayer is predestined or not?

Prayerful: Yes, it is. It’s predestined as an answer to prayer.

Prayerless: So if the prayer doesn’t happen, the answer doesn’t happen?

Prayerful: That’s right.

Prayerless: So the event is contingent on our praying for it to happen?

Prayerful: Yes. I take it that by contingent you mean prayer is a real reason that the event happens, and without the prayer the event would not happen.

Prayerless: Yes that’s what I mean. But how can an event be contingent on my prayer and still be eternally fixed and predestined by God?

Prayerful: Because your prayer is as fixed as the predestined answer.

Prayerless: Explain.

Prayerful: It’s not complicated. God providentially ordains all events. God never ordains an event without a cause. The cause is also an event. Therefore, the cause is also foreordained. So you cannot say that the event will happen if the cause doesn’t because God has ordained otherwise. The event will happen if the cause happens.

Prayerless: So what you are saying is that answers to prayer are always ordained as effects of prayer which is one of the causes, and that God predestined the answer only as an effect of the cause.

Prayerful: That’s right. And since both the cause and the effect are ordained together you can’t say that the effect will happen even if the cause doesn’t because God doesn’t ordain effects without causes.

Prayerless: Can you give some illustrations?

Prayerful: Sure. If God predestines that I die of a bullet wound, then I will not die if no bullet is fired. If God predestines that I be healed by surgery, then if there is no surgery, I will not be healed. If God predestines heat to fill my home by fire in the furnace, then if there is no fire, there will be no heat. Would you say, “Since God predestines that the sun be bright, it will be bright whether there is fire in the sun or not”?

Prayerless: No.

Prayerful: I agree. Why not?

Prayerless: Because the brightness of the sun comes from the fire.

Prayerful: Right. That’s the way I think about the answers to prayer. They are the brightness, and prayer is the fire. God has established the universe so that in larger measure it runs by prayer, the same way he has established brightness so that in larger measure it happens by fire. Doesn’t that make sense?

Prayerless: I think it does.

Prayerful: Then let’s stop thinking up problems and go with what the Scriptures say. Ask and you will receive. You have not because you ask not.