Have you experienced the transformative power of prayer? The book of Psalms is full of examples of transformation that happens while praying. How David started prayers full of self-pity or anger and ended up transformed during his prayer. Just compare the first and the last 10 verses of the Psalm 77 (MSG)!
1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13 Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Quite the difference! That happens to us, too, if we stay in prayer long enough to be transformed. The antidote to all our negative feelings is prayer. We just use is way too little. We can come to the presence of God with any kind of feelings, whether they are self-pity, anger, sadness, jealousy or bitterness. In prayer, our feelings meet the Holy Spirit, and we are transformed. So, any place is the right place to enter into prayer. We don’t need to get our feelings or happenings in life under control in order to pray. We can come to the Lord as we are. But we can be sure that we won’t be the same after we’ve prayed. Especially if we pray until the praise flows.
God is in the business of transformation. Grace is the method of transformation. God has been fighting for his people from the day one. The whole Bible tells us stories after stories how God is in the business of transformation. Today he is fighting for you and me. He wants to keep us in the center of his love. God wants to pour grace upon grace on us. Prayer is one way to receive his amazing grace and be transformed in the process. Nothing better than being the people God created us to be, in the center of his attention.
We come to you as we are.
You see how broken and bewildered we are.
Transform us according to your will.
Let us feel your loving presence.
Keep us in the center of your love.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Have you experienced the transformative power of prayer?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you are transformed according to God’s plans for your life!
Photo courtesy of Paule Patterson