Have you ever considered the effect of prayer in your life? How does prayer transform your life? Prayer has several definitions. People define prayer as talking to God and building a relationship with Him. Prayer involves seeking permission, help, and direction from a supreme being, which is God. Prayer is a form of communication between God and humans. The Oxford Dictionary defines prayer as “a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or another deity.” However, I find one definition of prayer to be more truthful and authentic, as stated by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:
“Prayer is spiritual communication between man and God, a two-way relationship in which man should not only talk to God but also listen to Him. Prayer to God is like a child’s conversation with his father. It is natural for a child to ask his father for the things he needs.”
Is there more to prayer?
While I comprehend the various definitions of prayer, I find them insufficient to fully define its essence. There is an overlooked aspect of prayer that believers often neglect or fail to consider. Many believers view prayer solely as an act of thanksgiving, petition, intercession, forgiveness, or spiritual warfare. We tend to focus on the actions we engage in during prayer, disregarding or undervaluing its transformative effects on us. Prayer is not a unilateral exercise; it establishes a connection between us and God. Apart from listening to God’s voice, we must also be conscious of and purposeful in acknowledging prayer’s impact on our lives. It is crucial to recognize that communion with God leads to personal transformation. We need only look to the examples of Jacob (Genesis 32:22-32). We can also look at Prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19) to see how prayer can profoundly change us.
Biblically, transformation refers to a complete change for the better. In Romans 12:2, Apostle Paul issued a warning, urging us not to conform to this world but to undergo transformation by renewing our minds. That transformation is necessary and continuous as long as we are still in this world.
There are several ways prayer transform our lives as believers, but here are some biblical transformation that prayer can cause to happen in your life;
Brokenness is the ability to identify, accept and confess your sin to God. In the place of prayer, your heart is opened for the Holy Spirit to convict you of any lingering sin thereby leading to instant repentance and confession of sin with forgiveness already waiting for you from God. One thing that a consistent prayer life will do to you, is bring you to a place of total humility and transparency with the Holy Spirit. At this stage, it becomes nearly impossible for you to hide or harbor sin. The moment you sin, when you pray the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sin leading to repentance. A Broken heart is one thing God loves so much and finds irresistible, and one way to become broken is to continually fellowship with the Holy Spirit in the place of prayer. The Bible in the book of Psalms, chapter 51 and verse 17 made it clear to us that God will never despise or reject one with a broken heart. Brokenness delivers one from Pride, Ego, and Arrogance. It brings you to the place of total surrendering to the Sovereignty of God over your life.
In a world of never-ending battles both spiritual and physical, Strength is one thing you need to stay alive and focused. It is surprising sometimes when people just want to give up when they are tired, weak, or weary. But it shouldn’t be the same with you, for in you dwells a direct source of strength- The Holy Spirit. In the book of John 4 verse 14, Jesus said;
“But whoever drinks the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up unto everlasting life.”
This water is called “The Living Water” (see verse 10 of John 4) and the Living water is the Holy Spirit according to 1Conrinthians12:13. In this world where “thirst” is forever sure, the only way you can stay hydrated is to continue drinking and obtaining strength from the fountain of Living Waters that can never run dry. And the only way to do that is to continually fellowship with the Holy Spirit in the place of prayer. This is how you and many other believers get strengthened in the place of prayer, intentional or unintentional. Another biblical confirmation of this is the famous Isaiah 40:27-31 which makes it clear that when we “wait on the Lord” (by praying) “we renew our strength”, “will soar on wings like eagles”, “will… not grow weary”, and “will walk and not be faint”. Now that’s the kind of strength I am talking about!
3. Control over your thoughts.
The ability to control what to think about and what not to think about is essential if you plan to live a Christlike life. While gaining control over your thoughts is a lifelong process, you grow this ability by consistently fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit (talking to Him) in the place of prayer, and by meditating on the word of God. As a child of God, what you think about is important to your spiritual growth. The Bible in Philippians 4:8 states the kind of things you should think about as a Child of God. It says;
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Prayer aids in directing your mind and thoughts toward God. There are instances when you pray and your thoughts wander, causing a lack of focus on the words or even finding yourself speaking in tongues while your mind drifts elsewhere. Some might describe this as praying on “auto-pilot,” where your mind is preoccupied with other matters. However, maintaining a consistent prayer life can help you center your thoughts on God during prayer. You will discover the ability to restrain and dismiss negative thoughts and capture every evil imagination, as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10:5. Through this practice, you will delve deeper into contemplating God’s character, and His involvement in your life and the world. Your meditation on God’s Word will foster an increased understanding of who He is.
This article on Building a Positive Mindset by Tobiloba will help understand how you can be intentional about your thoughts and mind.
Peace is what prayer gives to the soul. In the place of consistent prayer, you learn to drop your worries for the peace of Christ Jesus. The world has a lot to offer, but definitely not the peace that Christ gives to us as believers. In John 14:27, Jesus said;
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Rev. Dr Daniel C. Arichea in his article on SAGE Journals, said that the term “Peace” is referred to in the New Testament in five different ways. One of which is;
“peace as a right relationship with God or with Christ.”
Having a personal relationship with Christ in the place of prayer transforms your life by bringing rest and peace to your soul. If there comes a time in your life when fear, pressure, and worries are what you see around you, then you should check if your prayer altar is intact. To have a right relationship with Christ is to do His will and consistently fellowship by praying and studying the word of God. To do these is to have everlasting divine peace.
Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and is one of the things the Holy Spirit deposits in your life when you spend time praying. It is not happiness. Joy is not limited to an experience, season, or achievement. No, the Joy you express as a child of God is from a fountain within you that can never run dry. A Joy that knows no bounds. Even in challenging seasons, you won’t lose your Joy because the source is from within. In John 16:24 Jesus said;
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
Another way prayer makes you Joyful is when they are answered. When you pray and ask God for what you need that is in line with His will, when He answers. It brings Joy to your life. If you continue in the place of prayer, you become unconsciously transformed from a gloomy, sorrowful and sad person to one filled with the Joy of the Holy Spirit.
In the place of prayer, you experience conviction of any sin, leading to growth and transformation of your convictions. Consequently, you gain confidence in discerning what aligns with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the interpretation of God’s words. Prayer facilitates an open reception to the teachings and guidance of the Holy Spirit, who strengthens your convictions and serves as the foundation of your faith in Christ Jesus. The book of John, specifically chapter 16 verses 8 to 11(AMP), provides a clear explanation of this concept:
“And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin because they do not believe in Me; concerning righteousness because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; concerning judgment because the ruler of this world has been judged and condemned.”
The Holy Spirit’s presence guides and convicts believers in all matters concerning God’s will and purpose for their lives. Achieving this is possible only through establishing a loving relationship with Jesus and welcoming the Holy Spirit into your life. Subsequently, you can continue to nurture the fervor on your prayer altar.
The Bible, in 2 Corinthians 7:10, discusses the distinction between godly sorrow (grief) that brings forth repentance leading to salvation and worldly grief that leads to death. Therefore, if you find yourself spiritually or physically low and experience sorrow as a result, allow it to draw you closer to Christ rather than push you away. Instead of being overwhelmed by weakness, let Jesus grant you strength. Exchange any form of captivity for freedom, replace your worrying mind with peace, and transform your sadness into joy. Furthermore, allow Him to convict you of your sins, ultimately leading to the salvation of your soul. May God bless you abundantly.