Alignment is part of standard automobile maintenance. It brings a vehicle into proper positioning and configuration so that tires wear evenly, the vehicle travels straight and contact is even with the road surface. When out of alignment, a vehicle pulls to one side or the other and ultimately causes more serious problems if not corrected. Prayer is like alignment for your heart. It aligns you with God and puts you in the correct position.
Why is alignment with God important to the Christian life? Can’t you read the Bible, try to do what is says and avoid the bad stuff? No. Just like a vehicle is aligned according to specific measurements and angles set by the manufacturer, God has a specific plan for you. In Jeremiah 29:11 He says, “For I know the plans I have for you…” God says his plan for you is unique. It is revealed through prayer.
If you have ever driven or been in a vehicle that is out of alignment, you know how unpleasant it is to keep the vehicle in line with where it should be and not veer off in an unwanted direction. God uses your time in prayer with him to bring you into alignment with his purpose and will for you. Henry Blackaby said, “If we walk with him closely today, we will be in the center of his will tomorrow.” If you want to know if you are moving in the right direction, pray.
Proper alignment of your vehicle does not change road conditions. It prepares your vehicle to respond appropriately to road conditions. The authors of the book Experiencing God say it this way, “The purpose of prayer is not to convince God to change your circumstances, but to prepare you to be involved in God’s activity.” (Blackaby) Prayer is the most effective way to prepare for what lies ahead. In other words, prayer prepares you for life’s road conditions.
James 5:16 says, “… The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (NIV) Your prayers are not powerful because you pray them. They are powerful and effective because God works through them. When you are aligned with God through prayer, you are correctly positioned to learn his plan for you and become equipped for the journey.