TOPIC:"The High Return of Profit in Prayer"
by Rev. Dr. Reg Dunlap
"Who is the Almighty that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have
if we pray to Him" (Job 21:15, NKJV)
As we come to this section of Job we find that Zophar, one of Job's friends, was falsely accusing him of being a sinful man because as he states - God only punishes evil people and prospers good people. He asserted that outward prosperity is a sign of God's blessing and man's goodness, while outward adversity is a sign of God's punishment and man's wickedness. Since Job was hit hard by trouble, he must be an evil man.
But such was not the case! Job was not only a righteous man, but he was a man of faith. He lived the life! So here in the chapter before us Job refutes Zophar's argument by reminding him that even wicked people, the greatest of sinners, live out their days in prosperity and even leave this life without any sign of God's wrath upon them. And that is the kind of person, wicked, but outwardly prosperous, that Job is describing who defiantly cries out "And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?" (Job 21:15). The were scoffing and mocking God. But let's consider for a few moments the right attitude and use of this question: "What profit do we have if we pray to Him?" Or as the New Living Translation has it: "What good will it do if we pray?" For praying is profitable for those Christians who use it according to the guidelines as set forth in God's Word.
When I use the title for this message, The High Return of Profit in Prayer, I realize there is a danger to be avoided here. It is the danger of believing that prayer is simply a means for getting what we want from God. All we have to do is present Him a shopping list of what we desire and He will give it to us. In other words, we think of the words "the high return of profit in prayer" much like the way it is used in the business world today. But prayer is much more than that!
The real value of prayer is not how much we can get from God, but how much of what we do get we use for our spiritual growth and for His glory in the promotion of His Kingdom. So let me mention four things that come to us when we begin to make use of the ministry of prayer.
Think to begin with of this: There is profit in prayer because it CAUSES JOYFUL FELLOWSHIP. Turn with me to I John chapter 1 verse 3 where we read these words: "and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." Here John introduces to us the main purpose of the Epistle. It is to have fellowship . . .