By Toru Minegishi
From the Evangelical Christian perspective, prayer is defined as communication with God in the form of conversation. In prayer, we call His Holy name through His Only Son Jesus Christ for the purpose of giving thanks to Him, confessing one’s sins and asking forgiveness, and giving thanks to Him. In the Large Catechism, Martin Luther mentions prayer is the duty of all believers and the way in which one “calls upon God in every need” (The Large Catechism XI).
First, the purpose of prayer is to give praise to God. It is significant for one to highly honour the glory of God from the bottom of one’s heart. In Matthew 11:25-26, Jesus demonstrated the ideal manner of prayer in front of his disciples. Likewise, in the book of Psalm, there are many passages in which the author showed his continuous praise to God. At this point, the authentic prayer is used for giving praise to God.
Second, the purpose of prayer is the confession of one’s sins. It is significant for one to honestly confess one’s sins before Him. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus mentioned the necessity of asking forgiveness of one’s debts just as one forgives one’s debtors (Matthew 6:12). Since God sent His only Son to the world to save human beings from their sins through his redemptive work on the cross, all of the sins of human beings have been paid through the cross already. Therefore, all one has to do is to confess one’s sins from Him in full of repentance and receive His forgiveness.
Third, the purpose of prayer is one’s spontaneous expression of thankfulness to God. It is significant for a believer to always be thankful to God because He is the source of all of the goodness and provides everything that one needs for one’s life. Jesus mentioned God always provides His blessing, such as His sun and rain to both the good and the evil (Matthew 6:45). At this point, it is significant for His believers to always give spontaneous thankfulness to God. In fact, Paul mentioned the importance of continuous manner of prayer to God in full of gratitude in his letter without worrying about things in the world (Philippians 4:6). Likewise, in the Old Testament, there are many passages in which the author showed spontaneous thankfulness to God.