Saturday, January 23, 2016
Some Benefits of Prayer
When I sing this particular verse of this hymn, I can't help but close my eyes and bow my head in shame because it is true. So easily do I just wander away from Him. And I don't think I do it on purpose. It is more like a boat that isn't anchored that just floats away and just heads in all kinds of directions. Never on purpose, but always surrendering to its circumstance. Thankfully, whether I feel lost or floating about in my spiritual life, the truth is that He is the One who has me anchored to Himself and I am assured that He will never let me go. (John 10:29)
One way that I feel anchored again (remembering that regardless of my feelings, my salvation doesn't ebb away) is through prayer. And I know that sounds so "cliche" and so easy of a fix, but truly there is nothing (outside of Scripture) that hones in my heart to match His as prayer can do.
Prayer sifts out my sin.
When life gets busy, sin can easily hide. When life gets idle, sin comes out to play. Regardless if I am confessing a besetting sin or if the Holy Spirit is revealing one to me, prayer allows me to be more aware of the sin that grieves God and brings me to the cross gladdening my heart for He is always faithful to forgive. (James 5:16)
Prayer brings me to the throne
When I think that I am approaching the King of kings in prayer and I am not going to die I am left speechless. There are no words to describe that a Gentile woman can enter the Holy of Holies and worship. (Heb. 4:16) Prayer allows me to worship Him privately.
Prayer reminds me that I have love to give
When I read my prayer list and pray for those on it, I am reminded of people who are hurting, lonely, lost or feeling loss. It triggers me to make a phone call, bake some cookies, write a letter, type out a text, send a facebook message, or make a house visit. Prayer beckons me to be His hands, feet, shoulders, arms and voice.
Prayer softens my heart
Some people are hard to love and some people are even harder. When I honestly pray for those that hurt me or those that hurt the people I love, God does something amazing. He softens my heart towards them and they begin to have less control over me and my feelings. And in the rare occasions when I have trouble "forgiving", God always reminds me of the dastardly things He has forgiven me for already. :)
Prayer is therapeutic
My overbearing mother, my passive father, my annoyance with my ex-husband, the attitudes of my children, my lack of wanting intimacy, my self-esteem, that thing I do that I don't want to mention here and so, so much more; I have brought to God. And He truly has helped me figure so much out. It is through prayer that we are given wisdom. (James 1:5) So many times I have come to God bawling my eyes out, completely overtaken by despair, and patiently He has brought to mind Scripture that overtakes my moments of sorrow or pain. I have also come to him lost, in a rage, scared for my life, indecisive, numb, depressed, raw and feeling so many other things. I have also been given the peace that transcends understanding, and it was always after time spent with Him in prayer. (Phil. 4:7) Who better to tell me about myself and how to handle a certain situation than the One who created me and was with me throughout my entire life? (Jer. 33:3)
I want to encourage you to take time to pray. If you are not sure how to, Jesus Himself teaches us how to pray in Matthew 6:5-15. Also we can read Jesus' prayer before he was captured in John 17. And what is so amazing about this prayer is that in it you can read where Jesus is praying for you!!!!! (see verses 20-21 of that same chapter), and He is still praying for you! The Son of God prays for you! So let us imitate Him and pray.
. . . . For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. ~ Romans 8: 26-27