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Prayer Changes Everything

Pray without ceasing.

1 Thessalonians 5:17
Prayer Changes Everything Book Cover

Angela of Foligno, known as the “Mistress of Theologians” in the 1200s, wrote, “Since it is necessary to know the uncreated God and Christ crucified, for otherwise we cannot transform our minds through divine love, we should read diligently in the Book of Life . . . We cannot possibly manage this reading or acquire this knowledge, without . . . constant prayer. . . . We discover God through and in prayer.”1

Reading the Bible isn’t enough. Without God’s guidance, we can twist the words to justify our misactions and harmful behaviors. That’s what happened with the Pharisees. Those men knew Scripture backward and forward, but, neglecting God’s guidance, they ended up with a vulgar idea of God’s kingdom.

When we accompany our reading with prayer, the Holy Spirit uses the Bible to shape, encourage, convict, comfort, and sanctify us. Without his work, our work accomplishes nothing. Bible reading, and the larger work of sanctification, requires nothing less than constant prayer. It’s the secret ingredient. One of the ways prayer can influence our walk with God is by illuminating Scripture as we read it.

Three Types of Prayer

Prayer calls out to God for help and communes with him. Through the centuries, the church has practiced different types of prayer. One is intentional prayer, time set apart to talk to God. For this type of prayer, get on your knees, girl. Who hasn’t fallen asleep praying in bed? Kneeling to pour your heart out to God and seek his will keeps us physically alert and reminds us through this posture of who we are—humbled before him and dependent on him. We cling to our almighty God as we wrestle in prayer and bring him our requests.

A second type of prayer is the constant conversation in our heads. This mental prayer focuses us on God during everyday tasks. We direct every thought, question, and hurt to God and listen for the answering nudge of the Holy Spirit. The more we fill our minds with Scripture, the more the Holy Spirit reminds us of these bits and pieces throughout our lives to guide our responses, emotions, and reasoning. When we feel overwhelmed or frustrated, we can repeat the Lord’s Prayer, which fills our minds with God and calls out to him for help.

A third type of prayer practices the presence of God in our lives.2 This prayer may begin with meditation on a Bible verse or through a prayer such as the Lord’s Prayer and moves to silence as we sit in God’s presence like a child cuddling in her father’s lap. This prayer centers us, reminding us that we are God’s child.

These different types of prayer help to form us into Christ’s image. They guide our understanding of Scripture and make us aware of the Holy Spirit’s voice. Without prayer, the task of sanctification is hopeless. After all, only our creator can reshape us.

 

1 Angela of Foligno, Liber visionum, quoted in Invincible Spirits, compiled by Felicity Leng (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Co., 2006), 95.
2 Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God.

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What has God taught you through prayer recently?

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Comments (10)

Recently, God has taught me about His abiding love through prayer. I have neglected my prayer life for a couple of years. So was unsure about God meeting me. I intentionally set time aside to begin practicing prayer – I felt like I was starting from the beginning of my walk with God. But that’s not what happened. God met me just like an old friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. Love, acceptance, delight is all I felt from Him.

God showed me his strength. There was a day I was not feeling my best, and needed to be there for others, I truly saw the power of the Holy Spirit pick me up and give me strength and endurance I did not think I had.

This reading convicted me to get back to prayer on my knees. I used to, since starting my in-home preschool/daycare I have not had a deep devotional or deep time of prayer. Since this is the first day of 2021 I am going to do my best in committing myself to deeper prayer on my knees with God, and deeper devotional times, like I used to.

God has reminded me that life is better with Him.

This study as brought to light that I am lacking in prayer. I mostly practice the 2nd type of prayer but rarely practice types 1 or 3 even during the time I have set apart to be with God. I will begin practicing these other more intentional types of prayer.

I’ve really enjoyed reading through scripture and allowing the Spirit to lead me to focus on one verse. I’ve been reading in Colossians and it has really opened my eyes to certain truths that I often forget. That is God showing me who he is through His Word and through prayer as the Holy Spirit brings those scriptures to mind throughout the day.

He has taught me that He hears me and that He cares what’s going on in my life. I get eaten up by guilt for feeling negative feelings or getting overwhelmed, because my circumstances look like I should be just fine all the time. But, I’m not, and I feel a huge wave of guilt every time I should be going to God with my feelings. I know this is not of Him…but, in my busyness, I almost always fall prey to this lie. Lord God, forgive me.

He gave us the Lord’s Prayer as an example of how to pray! He says, when you pray, pray like this! Our Father…. I have been using this prayer as an example to begin each day with and it is so powerful! I love the Lord and I love talking and communing with him! He paid such a price to allow us to be able to do this! In prayer with the help of the HS to guide us our father shapes us into his beautiful masterpiece!!!

I have been so amazed by God’s incredible faithfulness in each thing that I bring to Him in prayer no matter how small or big lately. It’s the small things that are really amazing to me somehow. Its just so incredible that the God of the universe who created everything actually cares a to help me when I’m feeling overwhelmed by housework or to heal my clogged milk duct. I think I used to think a lot of things were to trivial to bring to God in prayer and lately as I’ve tested and tried bringing the little things to Him, and felt His tender care, and realized that he has that same care for all of His children, I have gained new understanding about how big He is.

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