If you have been following my journey for a while, you will know I wrote early last year about some of the difficulties I faced. Although the year started rough, I learned many lessons and ultimately came out better than before. I firmly believe that my growth happened because I decided to start seriously praying.
At the start, the prayer increase was partly due to not having anything else to do, and not desiring to find anything else to do with my time. I heard a sermon at the start of the year about being equipped for battle by spending time with God, and I realised that I’d rarely spent more than an hour at a time seeking God. So I made it my goal to spend longer amounts of time with God to see what would happen.
The result of increased prayer was spiritual alertness and vision I had never experienced before. As I grew spiritually throughout the year, I saw most things differently; My perspective changed dramatically in only 12 months! The most obvious change to me was that I became more aware of the spiritual health of myself and those around me. I have realised that gifts (in and out of the church) do not equal spiritual maturity. In some cases, I saw that people with gifts had become spiritually dry over time as they started to lean on their gifts rather than their relationship with God! However, those who were healthy all had one thing in common – a close relationship with God and regular prayer.
Seeing things the way I do now, I find it quite interesting that most christians I talk to do not see the need for much intentional prayer, if any at all. I agree that subconscious prayer is incredibly powerful and should be practiced by all christians, and the bible backs this up in Thessalonians:
Never stop praying.1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT
But, there’s more to prayer than the inner prayer. It’s the intentional prayer, when time is set aside specifically to address concerns and talk with the Father. I believe Jesus was talking about this kind of prayer in Matthew 6:
“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.Matthew 6:6 NLT
And also in Luke 11:
“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.Luke 11:9 NLT
There are many other verses on prayer, but these three already start to show what a healthy prayer life looks like. I want to encourage you to work towards this kind of prayer life. Every prayer moment is another step with Jesus, so guard your prayer life.
Since increased prayer, I noticed increased spiritual activity around me. Jesus has visited me multiple times in dreams and visions. In addition, I notice more angelic and demonic activity. Demons have specifically targeted me to bring me down and cause me to stumble, but the Father has rescued me every time. Crazy things happen now, some of which I have shared, and many which I haven’t. I am incredibly blessed, and I have had opportunities open to me that would have taken me many years to see. These are only some of the benefits of a closer relationship with God.
If you struggle with anything at all, I want to encourage you to write it down and create a list of things you want the Father to develop in your life. As Jesus said in Luke, keep asking and you will receive what you ask for. I personally focused on character development and prayers around growing spiritually and maturely, but you may want to broaden your prayers to your work life, family, friends, and other areas. In all your prayers, submit to the Father’s will so that your prayers will be answered.