3 Ways to Transform Your Prayer Life
"And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be [a]transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]."
Are we fully giving ourselves to the Lord because of the grace that we have thru Him that which saves us? When I thought and prayed about how I wanted to start the year off, prayer was the first thing that came to mind. I think it is a topic that we hear and talk about a lot, but I think sometimes we only grasp the surface. When we are new in Him, we have come from the dead (a brokenness) to a new living being from within. The old withers, and the new sprouts. As we are made new in Christ, our minds are also transformed so that we can further discern God’s will. That which is good and acceptable and perfect for our world is far different than that of Christ most often, a purpose that goes far beyond the expectancies of the world. When we meet the Father in prayer we are letting Him overtake it all for us, which is what He desires, it is what He wants so that we have a vast awareness of what He is capable of in our lives. Our prayer life is transformed in walking out our faith, surrendering it all to Him, being expectant of the work He is doing, where we might be swept in a slew of directions, shaken, sifted, taught, even paused-- to actually being present, showing up to do the work-- meeting Him in that place. Honestly, we have to have a faith so rooted in Him where we allow Him the room to do the mighty works-- that is fully transforming, not necessarily doing but being one with Christ.
Transformed through Surrender
In order for prayer to fully transform us, for us to know that we are fully His I think we have to begin with surrender, the rest will follow from there. The thorns that we read about in Matthew 13:16-23, they will choke us-- it is on the hardened ground where we might cling more to the cares of the world that produces less fruit. If we dig a little deeper into our lives, into our prayer life even more specifically, when we allow our fears, our anxieties, our brokenness, our need for perfection to take hold of us-- we are in bondage to Him. We are admitting to our Savior that we don’t think what He paid for us on the cross is worthy enough--- when in truth it is His abundance He gives to us. When we break free from the thorns, whatever they are in your life, you are opening yourself up to God. He already knows every single detail about us-- He just needs us to speak it to Him. For transformation in our prayer life to sprout, to experience the fullness of Christ, we must speak His abundance-- that means laying it all out to Him. Practically it means being present with the Lord--- we live a world where it can be easy to just go through the motions-- however, in prayer, it is not that way. We have to open ourselves up to the Lord trusting and asking for His will, His way, to be done.
I don’t know about you but when I read about Jesus praying I can picture Him, being so humble and lifting His hands up in surrender. In a posture that allows our Heavenly Father to lean in closer to us. We learn from Jesus that by surrendering it all we seek His will, we are there to encounter His whispers. Our hunger and thirst for the Lord when we surrender becomes our constant appetite. Can we be so desperate that our faith in the Lord is the complete belief in what His ability is and not ours? Are we coming to the Father, fully surrender, fully prepared to abide in what it is that He has for us?
Before you begin to pray, surrender--- pause, hunger, and thirst for you to hear Him, draw near. It is almost as if you are taking a deep breath and lifting yourself up to Him.
Transformed through Expectancy
Our prayer life is transformed when we have a posture of expectancy. We need to position ourselves, our prayers, our thoughts to be expectant of what is to come. This can be hard sometimes, our world wants us to think we have to move two steps ahead and have all the answers-- that is flesh, that is not how our God works-- He is the only one who knows what was and is to come, we however just need to expect Him-- trust that He is present. We are made new in Him, and this sometimes means that we will have to wait. We are on His timeline, and each day that He gives us, we need to know that with that we are made new again and again until He says He needs us in eternity with Him.
I will tell you when I had Mason at 23 weeks, of all the things I remember most on the day he was born and the very scary days into his life, was having to be expectant. We hear the word expectant, and we tend to think of a woman carrying her child, but for me, in that place, it was expectant of what God’s plan was for Mason’s life, for our life. In praying almost every minute of those days, prayer woven into every conversation with the doctors and nurses, especially the first 4 days of his life-- I remember so clearly, hands open to Him, letting Him know I was going to just be expectant, if that meant He needed to take Mason to be with Him, He could, if He wanted Mason to stay with us a while longer, it was His will. We must go to a place in prayer where we understand that it is not about what we want when we want it--- what we may pray for may come but also in a completely different way. No matter the way He presents it to us, being expectant forces us to trust that no matter what, He is there with us-- there is nothing in His purpose for us that is not used to glorify Him.
When you pray, be expectant--- instead of only asking Him what you want or need, give Him the permission for His will to be done in your life.
Transformed through Revival
Let us first define revive:
revive is the translation of chayah, "to live," "cause to live," used of restoration to life (Genesis 45:27; Judges 15:19, etc.); of rebuilding (Nehemiah 4:2); of restoration to well-being (Psalms 85:6 (the Revised Version (British and American) "quicken"); Psalms 138:7; Isaiah 57:15; Hosea 6:2; 14:7); of Yahweh's gracious work for His people (Habakkuk 3:2, "revive thy work in the midst of the years," etc.); "reviving" is the translation of michydh "preservation" or "means of life" (Ezra 9:8,9). "Revive" occurs in the New Testament as the translation of anazao, "to live again" (Romans 7:9; 14:9, the King James Version "Christ both died, and rose, and revived," the Revised Version (British and American) (omitting "and rose") "Christ died and lived again" zao). Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'REVIVE; REVIVING'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.
For us to understand transformation through a revival perspective, we break down what the word revival means. Here we can see that to revive is to live, a means of life, to live again. We become alive when we have this living relationship, which we can do through prayer with the Lord. Revival is showing up, day in and day out, knowing that we need Him in every moment of our days. It means when we want to give into what our flesh might want, impatience, exhaustion, anger, sadness-- we have to rise to Him. We have to rebuke the enemy. Living in Christ is a relationship with Him, one where He shows up no questions asked, even when we doubt His presence. We have to show up and meet Him in all areas of our life. In order for us to bear the fruit, we have to tend to the harvest. The work needs to be put in-- whether you set 5 minutes aside a day, or you talk to Him throughout your day-- you have to filter your days through Christ.
Maybe for you, that means writing out your prayers, physically seeing the words you speak to Him, and then seeing His promises back to you-- whatever works in your life, to be transformed in prayer let yourself be revived-- brought back to life in Him. When we pray and read the word, we are not trying to get something out of it for ourselves--- our main focus has to be about getting to know our Lord and Savior. Not what He will do and fix in us, but what He has done. When we sin, when we feel less than, to trust that He makes us new--- are you going to Him, confessing, and asking for forgiveness? We have to ask ourselves if we understand the depth of what His victory in our life means-- that there is no battle we actually need to fight because it is won by Him already. In the midst of our days, when we pray we are rebuilt, right then and there. Our thoughts are shifted to a position of focus towards Him.
When you pray, show up--- get into His word, get to know Him more than anyone-- serve Him, build His Kingdom, live in Him.
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; From Him comes my salvation.He alone is my rock and my salvation,my defense and my strong tower; I will not be shaken or disheartened.” Psalm 62:1-2
What if we break down the walls of prayer-- remove the fear of not doing it right or saying the right words--- what is we grew in our relationship instead-- ultimately our transformation comes through the Lord this way. What if we threw out the misconceptions of prayer just going through motions and actually had an honest conversation with him? Can we move from here and now and to our beings waiting, surrendered, present, expectant of what the Lord has planned for your life. Waiting in silence, so that we can draw near and get so close to Him so that we can hear Him speak. Maybe you can’t quite make out the words, but a place of awareness brings so much freedom in our lives. Being aware of our joy, and contentment, all stem from Him alone. I have found that when I feel overwhelmed, doubtful, anxiety-filled— I can wait with Him, I never have to feel alone, even in a world so big, I can get still in Him. We see SALVATION here twice- deliverance— we are delivered from Him, and this friend is the only thing that should shake our day— nothing else, can shake us because thru Him we are delivered. I cling to this, I can release fear in my life because He is my defense, He wants me to live a BOLD life for Him, His strong tower protects and this is also the truth for you! In times when my soul might feel dry or run down, exhausted— these words of truth bring an eternal light and life to me, may they bring the same to your life.
Will you wait in silence for Him today? Will you FULLY trust that your salvation, your deliverance comes from Him alone? Can you picture Him as your defense today, your strong tower? You cannot be shaken friend, He is your eternity.