This is one of the single biggest questions we try to answer at Val Marie Paper through our content and products. Why? Because it’s what we all want, right? Not because we want to check something off a list to be good little Christian kids but because we know that what happens when we pray more changes our entire lives.
We’ve shared the benefits of prayer many times but in case you need a little refresher, here are just some of the benefits:
1. More Focused Prayer Time
The more we discipline our minds to pray, the more focus and depth we will experience in our prayers.
2. A Bigger Passion for Prayer
The more we experience focused prayer over time, the deeper our passion for prayer will get because we begin to see what’s possible.
3. Less Anxiety and More Faith
When our eyes are fixed on Jesus and our minds are stayed on God, we find perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).
4. A Deeper Joy
Even in the mundane moments, when we are in the presence of the Lord we get to experience the fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
5. Recognizing Answered Prayers
When we’re praying consistently, we will see God answer prayers. Looking back on these (even when God answers in ways we didn’t expect) inspires us to keep praying with confidence.
6. Living at the Center of God’s Will
Through praying consistently, we’ll hear more from God and be better able to align our actions with what we hear. And when we’re praying over a particular situation like a job or a move and receive direction from him, we will have hearts that are willing to obey.
7. Deeper Friendships with Others
As prayer becomes a bigger part of our lives, it naturally becomes a bigger part of our conversations and relationships too. And friendships that are based on prayer are often deep and rich.
8. Being a Part of God’s Kingdom Work
The more time we spend in prayer, the more we are available for God to use us for purposes bigger than ourselves, such as people’s hearts being turned toward God, justice and peace spreading in the world, and acts of mercy.
9. Knowing God
There are thousands of things we won’t know this side of heaven, but through a deeper prayer life we can learn about God and experience him. Knowing him is what we were created to do and where we’ll find the greatest fulfillment.
If you long for this too, we need to look only to the house plant or hermit crab for our answer.
Yes, a hermit crab. A hermit crab eventually outgrows its shell and needs a bigger one. A potted plant often outgrows its pot and needs a bigger one. Without the big move to something bigger, it shrinks or even dies. I bet that bigger shell feels REALLY big, even too big at first. Like what is a simply hermit crab going to do with all that space?
Likewise, you and I may need to step into a bigger shell. It may be time to challenge ourselves with something that feels daunting and scary knowing it may not be the best fit just yet but it will soon as we keep growing!
Our Rhythms Prayer Journal and even more so our Signature Prayer Journal may be the challenging next step in your prayer life. You might not feel ready. You may feel like you won’t keep up or use it well but I’d challenge you to give yourself a little credit! You’re in the growing process and capable of way more than you think. Often, we need that little push to help us see that we’re ready for more.
I get it though. Psalm 52:8 is one of those verses I read, not because I always believe it’s true but because I long to see it as true for me. “But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.”
Often, I feel like my leaves are parched and my roots aren’t deep enough, but when I read this verse, I’m encouraged as I imagine myself thriving in the house of God.
So here’s my big sis peptalk:
Wherever you’re at, take the next challenging step. It might feel too big at the moment but maybe staying in the same place isn’t just safe and comfortable but it’s actually shrinking us or holding us back from what’s possible.
Stop taking into account past failures. I’ll tell you, there’s only one guy who wants you to dwell on that and he ain’t looking out for your best interest.
Have hope that you’re ready for your next shell or pot or journal. And know that we are praying for you to experience the growth that is possible as you step out in faith!
Next big steps:
If you’ve been using our Compose Prayer Journal pretty consistently (not perfectly!!), try our Rhythms Prayer Journal.