Have you ever woken up feeling a little downcast? Of course you have. Whether a person of faith or not, from time to time, we all do.
The other morning was one of those days for me. I felt heavy and unsure about what seemed like an uncertain future.
But then I prayed.
In fact I prayed with Mel, my wife. And though the uncertainties didn’t go, or somehow vanish into thin air as if by magic, after praying I was filled with a sense of hope.
I love this quote from Oswald Chambers, who said,
Now I know that prayer isn’t for everybody, but along with meditation and consciously thinking about positive things, I’ve found prayer to be one of the most rewarding disciplines of my life.
And by prayer, I’m not talking about the stereotypical being on bended knee – although that too has its place, I’m simply talking about taking time to speak to God about what’s on my heart and mind.
Though helpful, as with most disciplines, it can often feel difficult to do. There have been countless times when I’ve been so swamped with tasks that I’ve not given time to pray – and as a result have suffered the consequences.
So here, after having such a bad start to the day, I thought I’d share three things prayer did to change my day and make me sing too.
Let me know what your experience of prayer is in the comments below. I’d love to hear!
#1. Prayer reminded me of God’s grace
You see, that’s the power of prayer. It causes us to look beyond our circumstances, and reminds us of our need for God’s help and his grace in times of need.
Prayer causes our efforts and abilities to become secondary and prioritises God’s power and purposes instead of our own.
When we pray we communicate to God that we trust him, his motives, and his agenda, more than we do our own.
It’s similar to the account of Jesus’ betrayal and resulting death, where despite knowing he was about to die by crucifixion, Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane helped him submit to God’s purposes over his own well-being.
#2. Prayer shifted my perspective
Through prayer there’s so often a wonderful transition too.
We move from a place of despair, despondency, and disillusionment to one of hope and courage. This, particularly in our greatest time of need, is often what we need most of all. Simple hope. Simple courage.
Prayer reminds us of God’s promises and causes us to look through eyes of faith at ourselves and the world around us.
In those moments when I struggle with depression, prayer is often the key to unlocking the joy I long for.
#3. Prayer provoked my soul to give thanks and be joyful
The result of spending moments in prayer or reflection extends beyond a change of perspective that lifts us from despair.
When we pray, our souls are refreshed and we discover the faith, strength and vigour needed to experience victory throughout the day.
In some instances, as it did with me the other day, prayer even causes songs to rise up in our hearts. And not just any song, but songs of gratitude, thanksgiving and joy.
Songs that speak of the goodness of God and that help to keep us hopeful for the future.
We all have something to be thankful for don’t we? Of course we do!
So stop and consider for a moment just 10 things you’re grateful for. Doing so will lift your eyes from any difficulties you’re facing and cause you to feel a whole lot better!
A song in my heart
One of my favourite songs is by Worship Artist/Leader, Israel Houghton. His song, Just Wanna’ Say, captures so well what happens when we take our eyes off of our circumstances and consider the goodness of God.
Whilst I was in the kitchen later in the morning, this song kept going around in my head much like the those annoying Spice Girls anthems of the 90’s. Only difference was, I was pleased with what I was hearing!
So whether you’re a person of faith or not, I dare you to watch his video without moving, even just a little bit!
Over to you
What do you do when you’re feeling emotionally low or discouraged? How helpful has prayer been for you? If you were to pray, what would you want to pray about today?