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Transformational Prayer

How many times have we approached our time of prayer with a laundry list of needs and desires only to be frustrated over what seems to be a lack of movement on God’s part?

I can honestly say there have been moments in my life where I did not want to participate in prayer because it felt like a waste of time. The prayers that would go unanswered seemed to outweigh the times I would see God’s movement. I was confused and frustrated by the silence of God, and frankly it always felt like we were on different pages, and God was too stubborn to get on mine.

All the while I had friends who thrived in their prayer life and found such joy in it. I was constantly wondering what I was missing. There was a disconnect in my understanding that only God’s mercy and patience could remedy—humility.

In Matthew 6 Jesus teaches us how to pray with the passage many of us know as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Have you ever considered the intentionality of the word order Jesus chooses to use in His outline?

Let’s observe together:

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”

Notice how the prayer begins with: YOUR name, YOUR kingdom, YOUR will and then ends with give US, forgive US, lead US, and deliver US. Jesus is calling us to a reprioritization of heart.

Prayer is our opportunity to commune with and worship God. True worship that gives God full glory is worship that seeks the FATHER first (Matthew 6:33). Prayer that wholeheartedly embraces this posture of heart forgets itself. Therefore, humility is the starting point of transformation.

The hard truth we need to grasp as Jesus followers is that saying YES to Jesus means we are saying NO to our fleshly desires (Galatians 5:19-21). We are called to a daily death to ourselves so that we can pursue a transformed life lead by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When we do this, we take the focus off ourselves and focus on God. This shift in perspective reminds us that God is the one who is at work moving His Kingdom forward on Earth, and we are invited to join Him in the process.

One of my favorite scenes from the Bible that really drives this point home is Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is the moment right before Jesus is arrested and crucified. We read in Matthew 26 how Jesus is physically wrestling with his fleshly desires. Sweating drops of blood, He is begging the Father, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” It says that Jesus prayed three times that night asking the same question of God, wrestling with His troubled, weary soul.

This scene reminds me that Jesus had a choice—give in to the temptation of the flesh or follow the Spirit in obedience with humility. Jesus understood His purpose. This scene from the garden is a beautiful illustration of the inward battle that lives within all of us. Jesus needed daily communion with God to soothe His weary, sorrowful soul. His consistent connections with God were moments of sweet renewal and restoration He desperately needed to move forward in His ministry. Prayer protects us from the temptation to fall into the trap of our own desires. When we are troubled, weary, sorrowful, or overall struggling we need to seek the Lord first in all things so He can humble our hearts and we can abide in Him more fully.

Prayer is an act of surrender.

This communion is an act that aligns our hearts because we are training our heart, mind and soul to abide in Jesus. The spiritual discipline of prayer teaches the humility that is required in complete surrender to the will of God. When we reach that point of surrender, God’s will and our desire become one because our hearts are in complete alignment.

True transformation begins with humility.

Humility is cultivated in prayer.

Prayer restores, renews and realigns our hearts to obey the One who calls us forward to make Kingdom Impact in the world around us.


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