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What Does Prayer Do?

There are few Christian disciplines as important as the discipline of prayer.  Ironically, there are few Christians who engage that discipline with either the frequency or the intensity that it warrants. In fact, 1 Thessalonians 5:17commands us to pray without ceasing. What Paul meant by the command was that we should be ever aware of God’s power in our life, and that we should be ever listening for him, and ever focused on him at all times, and in all of life’s domains. Unfortunately, too many of us (me included) walk through our days without nary a thought of God. When we do that, the world will rob us of great power.

Here are a few examples of the great power that prayer offers:

It transforms us: One of the ways that we are transformed into new creatures so that we are no longer chained to the corruptions of this world is by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). Prayer is as much a sacrificial mental activity as it is a spiritual one. When we pray, we focus our minds on God. When our minds are focused on God, our behaviors, attitudes, values, emotions, and spirits will follow.

It provides us with a weapon: In describing the Armor of God to the church at Ephesus, Paul tells them to consider the Word of God as a sword, and then commands them to pray at all times (Ephesians 6:18). He is equating prayer with military hardware in our daily spiritual battles.

It helps us to determine God’s will: When we set our minds on God, and he renews that mind, and transforms us, we are better able to know what his will is (Romans 12:2). When we know what that will is, we are better able to walk in  line with God’s plan for our life.

Prayer brings comfort: The bible teaches us not to be anxious about anything, but to make our requests known to God through prayer, and that when we do, we’ll have an all surpassing peace (Philippians 4:6-7).

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