DISCLAIMER: This post is primarily aimed at professing Christians and/or those who believe in the power of prayer. If you don’t, please save your emails/comments (unless they are positive) for another forum and another place, or they will be deleted. Also, even if you are a Christian, please remember to keep the comments on this post positive and NOT disparaging to me or others, or they will be deleted. Thank you for understanding.
A couple weeks ago, one of my current pastors convicted me of the importance of praying for my elected officials, as I was sadly lacking in that. To add to that, I didn’t even know who half of them were! No, I don’t consider myself “political” in any way, shape, or form and I am not really into the political debates of the day. However, the fact is that I still need to pray for my elected officials more, because prayer has the ability to change hearts and lives.
Not only that, this same pastor also convicted me about the importance of praying for everyone, especially those who have authority or influence over me, including my bosses at work. Maybe if we (me included) spent less time complaining about those in authority over us such as (depending on your situation) bosses, managers, police, government officials, parents, and/or teachers, and MORE time praying to God, then I believe at least half our problems would be solved!
Here are some benefits to prayer that I have found, and also ones that scripture alludes to:
- When praying with a good attitude and a righteous spirit, God hears us! –
In Psalm 5:2-4 (ESV), it says, ” Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray. O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”
“But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.”-Psalm 66:19 (KJV)
2. Prayer, especially when we or a loved one are going through difficult trials, comforts us and keeps our eyes on God. I found that when I pray through a trial in my own experience, the trials become at least a little bit easier to confront and handle. This is because I no longer obsess and focus so much on my problem or problems, but on Him who helps us through them. Prayer also helps us feel less alone.
He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer.-Psalm 102:17 (KJV)
3. Prayer helps us cultivate a right attitude towards God and others.
In Romans 1:8-10, the passage says: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. (KJV-emphasis mine). Because Paul took time to pray for his parishioners, he was able to think about them on a constant and continual basis and was able to direct his thoughts to the One Whom he was praying. If Paul failed to pray on a regular basis, not only would his relationship with God have suffered, but probably also his relationship with other believers and those around him.
Also, in Philippians 4:5-7, Paul says, “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ESV-emphasis mine). Paul tells us to pray about everything, and that, as a result of that, “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
Prayer helps us cultivate a right attitude towards God and others because it helps us focus on God, helps us (if done correctly) think about more than just ourselves, and through the Holy Spirit, helps us have a better attitude towards God and others in general. For instance, in my experience, when I was upset at someone at work and when I was able to actually pray for them, it helped me have a better attitude towards them, and I was no longer upset at them.
4.) To add to #3, prayer helps keep us from sin.
The old adage that “Prayer keeps us from sin, or sin keeps us from prayer.” is true, at least in my experience. Also, Jesus speaks to that in Luke 22:44-46, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” (KJV-emphasis mine). Jesus was saying to His disciples that they should pray to keep themselves from being tempted to sin. Also in 1 Corinthians 10:13, when it says, ” No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it,” the way of escape may very well be prayer! Of course, it may be other things which God wills too, but no one can really stop you from praying not to succumb to temptation!
5.) Prayer can change lives.
I’ve heard about countless stories about people praying for others and how their prayers were answered and how God working in and through their prayers was able to change positively both their own and others’ lives for the better. So if you or a loved one is going through a trial right now or has a particular need, rather than be as a last resort, come to God about it first ! If you are working or living with a particularly difficult person, rather than just get angry and upset (though there is a time and place for that too) and complaining about them, why don’t you pray for them? If you cannot pray blessings upon them, at least pray for God to change their (or your?) hearts. Pray without ceasing, for God through our prayers, can change lives and hearts for the better.