Do you know that having a strong and vibrant prayer life can impact your life in a variety of ways? The power of prayer goes beyond the reasons you already know to a few that may surprise you. Let’s unpack the benefits of prayer and how a regular prayer time can radically change your life for the better.
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What is the Purpose of Prayer?
I grew up in a Bible-teaching church that was rooted in Scripture. I was often told to have a quiet time with God and start my day with prayer. But that was the end of it.
I never knew why prayer really mattered until my life was in shambles. One morning, as a weary special needs mom, I cried out to the Lord for help and comfort.
He met me in my brokenness and from that moment on, time in God’s Word and prayer became an anchor for my daily life.
I’ve learned that prayer is:
- a conversation with your Heavenly Father
- an opportunity to celebrate God’s redemption and gift of grace through Christ Jesus
- a time to lay down your burdens and let the peace of God wash over you
- the best way to seek wisdom and God’s plan for your life
- an opportunity to set your mind on good things from above and renew your mind with truth
- the time to confess your sins and repent for wrong choices
- a time to be still in God’s presence and listen for God’s voice
Prayer goes beyond a quick plea for help to a higher power. Instead, it’s an invitation to sit at the feet of your Creator, to get to know the heart of God, and make your relationship with God the cornerstone of your life.
It’s there, in the still quiet moments of prayer, where your relationship with the Lord will begin to flourish and God will refine you in His image.
So as a child of God, cultivating a thriving prayer life and spending time in sweet fellowship with Lord Jesus is one of the best things you can do!
Powerful examples of prayer in Scripture
The Prophet Daniel was a stellar example of a prayer warrior and teaches us much about the benefits of prayer. Daniel had a life that was rooted in prayer and it was an anchor for him in some dark circumstances.
He didn’t let the government or even the lions’ den deter his heart of prayer to God!
He teaches us that:
- no situation is too big to bring to God in prayer, including the mouths of the lions he faced
- there is power in praying with others and for others
- prayer should be done boldly, even when the stakes are high
God’s only son, Jesus, came to rescue and redeem mankind from their sins. He also modeled the perfect example of prayer, the Lord’s Prayer.
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:9-13, ESV
Some of His most prominent teachings on prayer include:
- starting prayer with praise
- praying through hard times
- asking for and praying for a heart of forgiveness
- surrendering to God’s will (even when it’s painful)
- lifting others up in prayer
- worshipping and loving God through fellowship with Him
- remaining steadfast in temptation
He modeled prayer throughout His life, including in the Garden of Gethsemane, when it was painful. Jesus shows us how to surrender our deepest struggles and hurt before the Father, and trust God’s will when we don’t see the way.
As the leader of the early church, Paul is a powerful example of a prayer warrior and gives us many ideas for prayer.
For example, Paul:
- prays through seasons of suffering with a joyful heart, knowing his home was in heaven
- fervently prayed for the spiritual growth and well-being of the early church
- prayed with passion and boldness, believing the Lord was listening and making a way for him
While not everyone will experience the walls of a prison shaking because of their prayers, his life is an example to keep praying and keep trusting God, even when you don’t see the way.
The life-changing benefits of prayer
Now, let’s dive into the effects of prayer on your life and how you’ll be changed for the better by spending time at the feet of Jesus.
Benefits of Prayer for a Deeper Understanding of God
As with any relationship, the best way to get to know someone is through spending time with them and having meaningful conversations. It’s same way with your relationship with God.
The more you seek His face, spend time in His presence, and pursue fellowship with Him, the greater understanding you have of His character.
Then, you learn to rely on God’s steadfast character and draw strength from Him as you regularly seek the throne of God.
It’s there where you learn to surrender to the Lord and pursue God’s will for your life instead of following your own path. And it’s there where you experience the beauty of stillness in the presence of your loving heavenly Father.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Benefits of Prayer for Standing Firm in Temptation
Ephesians 6 reminds us that we are at war against the darkness and to put on the full armor of God to stand firm in faith. Therefore, we are to pray fervently and with boldness, as we trust the Lord to lead us away from temptation.
Together with the the Holy Spirit, we are able to stand firm against the evil one and escape the ploys of the enemy. We don’t have to crumble under the weight of temptation! Instead, we can remain steadfast on the word of God, even when we’re pressed in on all sides.
All we have to do is cry out to the Lord and lean into Him for strength to combat what pulls us down. The enemy is no match for the power of God!
“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” Ephesians 6:18
Benefits of Prayer on Physical and Mental Health
As if getting to know the heart of God wasn’t enough, prayer has a positive effect on your physical health and emotional well being, too.
While there have been many studies done on the benefit of prayer on health problems, Dr. Herbert Benson’s book, The Relaxation Response, was one of the most popular. (affiliate link)
It was first published in 1976 to help patients experience the physical benefits of relaxation and meditation for those battling chronic stress. While it’s not a Christian book, it’s still a leading resource to connect health benefits to prayer.
According to the research of Dr. Herbert Benson, the scientific benefits of prayer include lowered heart rate, reduced rate of high blood pressure, and even combatting heart disease.
Yet the benefits of daily prayer also include profound impact on your mental health in times of distress, too.
When you pray on a regular basis, it reduces your stress levels and helps you focus on God’s goodness instead of your struggles. As you draw near to the presence of God, your breathing regulates and your body calms.
You strengthen your emotional health as you release your anxiety and worries at the foot of the cross. This helps you experience less stress throughout the day and remember that God is in control (even when life feels out of control.)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Benefits of prayer for stronger relationship
Prayer can also have profound impact on our interpersonal relationships, too. As the Lord grows us and matures us in the Christian faith, it can have a ripple effect on our social relationships.
As we become more like Jesus, we’re humbled and make others a priority over ourself. Only with God’s help can we extend forgiveness for the actions of other people and move forward in our relationships despite being wronged.
Once we taste the amazing grace God bestowed upon us, it will overflow into how we interact with others. As a result of a life changed by grace, we learn to make praying for different people a staple in our prayer time.
Whether you’re praying for a family member or best friend, you’ll gladly lift up others in intercessory prayer. Then, that is beginning of a better relationship rooted in praying for and over the lives of others.
Getting started with a daily prayer habit
Now that we’ve explored the importance of prayer and how it can impact your life for the better, it’s time to get started.
Yet it doesn’t have to be complicated or one more thing to check off your to-do list. Consider creating a morning prayer time and adding it to the very first thing you do each day.
Starting with prayer on a daily basis allows you to form of thoughts of God’s goodness as your day begins. It also helps you stay connected to the heart of God all day long.
Morning prayer is also a powerful way to experience God’s grace and mercy before you even begin your day.
It’s an opportunity to surrender your desires for the day and seek the will of God, instead. Before long, a morning prayer time will be a favorite part of your daily routine!
It can be as simple or as detailed as you want, too. Making it your own will help you make it an anchor in your quiet time and keep going once the newness wears off.
Use these free Scripture prayer cards as decorative elements in your journal, too! (See our full collection of Scripture Over Stress prayer cards, here).
Having a prayer group is a meaningful way to make praying for others a priority.
Whether it’s an official prayer meeting or a simple text thread from friends you see on Sunday mornings, consider gathering a group of prayer warriors in your corner.
You’ll discover the blessings of keeping each other accountable and praying for each other on a regular basis.
Whether you feel far away from God or have regular long conversations with your Heavenly Father, the benefits of prayer are impactful on life as you know it. The best part is, there’s no perfect words or flowy language required.
Simply humble your heart and start talking to the Lord. He IS listening!