Personal Prayer Perks
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One of the fruits of prayer, besides bringing results and answers, is the effect and fruit it has in your own life and spirit. Pouring out your heart to Me keeps you close to Me, keeps you desperate, and keeps you in My Spirit, and protects you from negative influences. Prayer is one of the greatest protections you can have. It helps to keep your heart and spirit clean.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy1
Why pray? I have asked this question almost every day of my Christian life, especially when God’s presence seems far away and I wonder if prayer is a pious form of talking to myself. I have asked it when I read theology, wondering what use there may be in repeating what God must surely know. My conclusions will unfold only gradually, but I begin here because prayer has become for me much more than a shopping list of requests to present to God. It has become a realignment of everything. I pray to restore the truth of the universe, to gain a glimpse of the world, and of me, through the eyes of God.—Philip Yancey2
More than anything else, prayer enables you to see your own heart and brings you into alignment with God’s heart. Prayer is not a monologue in which we imagine ourselves to be communing with God. Rather, it is a dialogue through which God fashions your heart and makes his dream of you a reality. It is truly the treasured gift of the Christian that through direct answers and not-so-direct answers, the follower of Jesus begins to love God for who he is, not for what he may get out of him.—Ravi Zacharias3
Prayer is an expression of who we are. … We are a living incompleteness. We are a gap, an emptiness that calls for fulfillment.—Thomas Merton
I pray because I need to. Because I need to remind myself that there is something up there and that it is good. I pray to be heard, certainly, but practically speaking, what the act of prayer does in my life is profound in its own right. The act and posture of prayer connects me back to something I lose so often, something that gets snipped like a string. Prayer ties up the string one more time. Prayer says, I know you’re up there. I believe you. I can make it. I know you are good. To pray is to say that there is more than I can see, and more than I can do. There is more going on than meets the eye.—Shauna Niequist4
In prayer I shift my point of view away from my own selfishness. I climb above the timberline and look down at the speck that is myself. I gaze at the stars and recall what role I or any of us play in a universe beyond comprehension. Prayer is the act of seeing reality from God’s point of view.—Philip Yancey5
To pray is to walk in the full light of God, and to say simply, without holding back, “I am human and you are God.”—Henri Nouwen
For once you have begun to walk with God, you need only keep on walking with God and all of life becomes one long stroll—a marvelous feeling.—Etty Hillesum
What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.—Corrie ten Boom
Praying for other people is all about love—it’s putting your love in action in the spirit. You’re not only thinking of them and desiring to help, but you’re taking action in prayer.
Intercessory prayer requires you to give from your heart. It stretches your love for the person for whom you’re praying. Your love for them obliges you to call on Me for their help.
One of the most beautiful results of praying for other people is that your vision becomes less selfish. Prayer fills your heart with more love for the person, because your love for them makes you want to help them. When you pray for someone, it keeps you desperate for someone else, so your life doesn’t just revolve around you; you’re reaching out and asking Me to help others as well.
Prayer like this is an example of selflessness, of esteeming others above yourself. It’s a form of love in action—reaching beyond your own needs and interceding for another. And because you’re going out of your way to help others, I reward your sacrifice and love by using the prayers to change and improve your life as well. Also, if someone knows you’re faithful to pray for them, in your time of need they will be motivated to be the prayer support you need as well.
Prayer is a form of giving unselfishly without expecting anything in return, but there are dividends. Try it and you’ll experience them.—Jesus, speaking in prophecy6
I believe when we pray for others, God works a softness and tenderness that was not there before in our hearts. This is because we are talking to the One who is all mercy, all beauty, all powerful, all kind, and all loving. When we pray to Him, He changes us and makes us like Himself.—Frank Alcamo
Why does the Lord in the Bible repeatedly tell you to pray, when all the time He knows what you need better than you do and He knows what you’re going to pray about? Sometimes He even says He’ll answer you before you ask. It’s mostly for your benefit, not for His; your prayers are a confession to Him that you can’t do without Him.—David Brandt Berg
On the wings of prayer our burdens take flight
And our load of care becomes bearably light,
And our heavy hearts are lifted above
To be healed by the balm of God's wonderful love,
And the tears in our eyes are dried by the hands
Of a loving Father who understands
All of our problems, our fears and despair,
When we take them to Him on the wings of prayer.
—Helen Steiner Rice
Published on Anchor February 2013. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
Music by Michael Dooley.
1 From https://anchor.tfionline.com/post/what-prayers-do/, March 2011.
2 Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? (Zondervan, 2010).
3 The Grand Weaver (Zondervan, 2010).
4 Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life (Zondervan, 2010).
5 Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference? (Zondervan, 2010).
6 Originally published 2000.