The Prayer lifestyle: A Personal reflection

The Prayer lifestyle: A Personal reflection

The Power of Prayer

Prayer is an essential element of my life as it has influenced my experiences and shaped everything I do and all the choices I make. Indeed, it is a life-changing practice to many because it brings about calmness in challenging times and a sense of belonging when one feels insecure. Prayer has inspired and strengthened my faith. How has prayer done that for me?

Finding Peace in Challenging Times

In my life, one of the most significant benefits I found with prayer is the peace it offers when we face uncertainty. Prayer serves as a haven—a place to let go of one’s anxiety and fear. For the past few years, I have gone through some really tough days with lots of pressure in life. For instance, at one point I was working full time and studying full time. Another time I couldn’t work for a long period of time due to a health condition I was going through. The pressure was too much because I had bills and a family under my care. Sometimes I could feel a sense of loneliness yet I had many people around me. At this stage, I couldn’t disclose my inner feelings to anyone. But because I have learned that prayer is like a conversation between friends and I always turned my focus to prayer, it became my strength and encouragement. Regardless of my tight schedule, I took time to pray to God at least twice a day, explaining to Him my inner pain caused by past losses, or my fear for the future. As a result, God in His faithfulness gave me moments of stillness, peace and joy which otherwise could not be attained by taking any substance. Indeed, some challenges can be quite tough to handle in our physical strength, but through prayer our faith is strengthened to overcome them, and we’re enabled to remain faithful and on track with our duties despite the challenges.

One of the Bible verses that captivated my prayer lifestyle says

‘And 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 minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

This single verse is an excellent example of how prayer can help us find order in what seems to be the most chaotic situation.

Guidance and Direction

Prayer has also been one of the avenues that I have relied on for direction. Through prayer, I have consulted with God for clear direction when I needed to make critical decisions. We may agree that our human or academic understanding is not sufficient to make the right decisions that may go against our beliefs and values. An example of a time when I was caught in such a dilemma was when I was thinking of a second career. The decision would be entirely risky because it would deviate my focus from the main calling. Therefore, I needed clarification about whether I was making the right decision, and which course I should take. In this case, I prayed to receive knowledge and understanding. When praying, I began to feel very confident in the decision that I was about to make. This was not an immediate epiphany but a process when my mind cleared, and not only my decision-making abilities improved, but I had peace. With hindsight, prayer allowed me to access another level of sensing and it allowed me to be in touch with a providential purpose that informed my behaviour. In Acts 16:25-26, we see an example of prayer leading to a supernatural outcome:

“About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. There was a great earthquake, so the prison’s foundations crumbled at
once. All the prison doors opened, and everyone was freed from their chains.”

Though my circumstances were not as extreme, this story shows two things; one, our attitudes when we face
challenges. Do we curse and blame others or be thankful in all circumstances? Two, the power of prayer and how God’s intervention can result in provision, positive change and miraculous solutions.

Building a Relationship with God

Prayer is not merely an instrument for acquiring peace or receiving direction; it is also an approach to developing an intimate relationship with God. This is one of the most important ways to develop relationship with God that I have had in my spiritual life. Prayer has been a way of saying thank you to God for His guidance and provision, but also, a time to say sorry for my faults and wrong choices. At some point, I felt guilty of  due to doubt and incompetence. In these instances, prayer allowed me to ask for forgiveness and allowed me to accept the things that were happening that I couldn’t control. Prayer helped me to focus on the love and forgiveness of God that we sometimes do not deserve. This request dramatically helped to change my perspectives and the world around me. In the New Testament, Jesus speaks a lot about prayer to cultivate this relationship with God. In Matthew 6:6 Jesus says, “but when you pray, go into your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is out of sight. For your Father alone who sees in secret will give you your reward.” This verse reveals and emphasizes the private and genuine communication with God in prayer.

Prayer in Community

Although prayer is best done individually, praying with others takes spiritual life to another level. Attending a prayer meeting at church brings us into fellowship and we get the support of other people. Praying together not only brings us together and fosters a sense of community, but also helps to unify us as one body of believers and remind us of common goals. For instance, in our small group meetings, we pray for one another’s struggles such as illness or financial matters. By sharing prayer requests and collectively praying over them brings emotional and spiritual support and everyone feel uplifted; but above all our faith grows deeper and stronger when we hear about our answered prayer in Sunday announcements, thus, a strong sense of community increases.

Prayer has greatly benefited my life in many ways, such as during intense pressure, in decision-making, for spirituality and fellowship. It is a practice that everyone can enjoy regardless of where we are in our faith. We also learn that prayer is not a mere requirement of religious undertakings and a source of solace and companionship, but our source of strength and it cements our relationship with God. This reminds us that we are never alone in our challenging times and have a way of finding solace in prayer.

Philippians 4:6-7 makes us understand that whatever request is made to God should be done with thanksgiving, leading to a peace that shall surpass all understanding; further, it protects our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. This experience shows that, when done together, prayer can significantly transform emotions and spiritually enrich one’s life.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV), Acts 16:25-26 (NIV), Matthew 6:6 (NIV)

Augustine Butera

Augustine and his wife joy have six children and they live in Ottawa. They are part of bethel family and very committed to prayer ministry and bethel small group. Augustine accepted Christ around the tender age of fourteen years old, and he serves as pastor and church planter for over twenty years. He is a humble and gifted servant of God whose ultimate desire is to make Christ known, new believers grow into the likeness of Jesus, and God’s will done on earth.