Prayer is a word that some people get funny about. I’m going to be honest and say that I sometimes hesitate talking about “prayer.” I know a lot of people get immediately turned off. Some are turned off because they think of how they were taught to pray or perhaps that they were never taught to pray and it’s just not for them, the God they’re talking to, the way they’re doing it, just doesn’t feel RIGHT. If that’s the case, I would argue that’s not prayer. (I’ll get into this in a minute.) Other people are turned off because they want the prayer to be a certain way and it’s not that way when I talk about it, I would encourage these individuals to think about how that may limit God and how that’s probably not a great thing, either.
When I mention prayer people get these ideas in their heads because we are not blank slates. We have experiences and memories and we also have a lot of preconceived notions. And that’s not a bad thing unless it limits us, otherwise it just is, it’s reality and reality is a great place to start.
I also hesitate to talk about prayer because sometimes I fear that people will think I know WAY more than I do, that I’m a perfect pray-er and that my relationship with God is filled with certainty and only happy faithfulness on my part. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is what I like. The truth is that life is messy and this is no exception. If you don’t have any perfect relationships (which if you do, please tell me your tips) then your relationship with God is no exception. It can get messy. But the benefits of leaning into the mess are way more than you could imagine.
Four surprising benefits of prayer.
There are some benefits of prayer we could probably all list, closer to God, more time alone, getting in touch with your truest feelings and desires, and the list goes on. The four benefits I want to highlight are maybe not as often thought about but all ones that I’ve found true in my prayer life.
If you live in today’s world you probably know the feeling of needing more time. More time to do what you want. More time to get your work done. More time to spend with your family. The list goes on and on. Prayer is one of those things that makes time warp for me. The time I spend with prayer somehow appears to multiply time for me. Perhaps it’s because it slows me down. Time for quiet conversation with God and introspection brings me to a calmer, less rushed place and that is a good thing. Maybe it’s because while I pray I’m the stillest and most content I ever am. The days I get my desired amount of prayer in feel longer in a good way, not in a why is this day never ending kind of way. This benefit may be enough but there’s more!
Closer Relationships with Others.
The hope is that prayer brings us closer to God. The thing that I don’t think I’ve always realized is that it also brings us closer to others. It helps us to grow so much both as individuals and as relational people. If we’re able to deepen our relationship with God through intimate conversation then we will deepen our relationships with all those we encounter. When I leave prayer I am more forgiving, more loving, and more patience….
I also attribute this to the slowing down. I’m very slow to patience, ha that’s kind of like a weird pun, unintended. I digress. When I pray I’m more patient. I like to think it’s because God helps me, gives me some grace, much needed and appreciated. I don’t necessarily know why this happens. I just know that it does. Try it. See if it works for you.
When I pray I spend a lot of time asking questions, getting curious, a little time complaining, and a ton of time being grateful and it all works. God shows up, accepts me, and stretches me. I feel like in these moments I become more flexible not just for the time being but I’m usually able to see things in a new light, I ask God to help me to do this, and guess what it works! Crazy, right?! Don’t get me wrong I can be super rigid and struggle at times with switching things up, I love a schedule and routine as much as the next girl. But I realize that God sometimes leads us places we never knew we wanted to go and for the most part prayer can help me see that as a good thing.
What surprising benefits have you found from prayer?
Would love to hear from you!