Have you ever thought about the benefits of prayer? Maybe you’ve not thought about prayer having ‘benefits.’
For many, prayer is simply a religious ritual. Sometimes our view of prayer can be quite limited and we don’t necessarily consider the spiritual benefits of prayer. The reality is they are far greater than you may have imagined.
Prayer can be life changing when you make time for it. That’s why it’s an important and key part of the Glorify app.
Some great books on prayer include: Prayer by Timothy Keller; a number of books by Pete Grieg including God on Mute and How to Pray; Hearing God by Dallas Willard and classics such as the Complete Works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer.
These will give you a much deeper, richer understanding of prayer but to start, here’s seven short, practical and spiritual benefits of prayer.
1. Get closer to God
This one might seem obvious, but prayer is an excellent way of getting closer to God. He doesn’t change location and is always wanting to spend time with us. But we can drift and so prayer offers an opportunity to re-engage with Him.
There are numerous passages encouraging us to “draw near to God” such as in Hebrews 10:21-22. This passage talks about being cleansed of a guilty conscience and being washed with pure water.
No matter what we’ve done, God assures us that when we come to Him with sincere hearts, we can experience forgiveness and wholeness. In Proverbs 15:29, it says the Lord “hears the prayer of the righteous”.
2. Reduce anxiety and experience calm
Getting closer to God is probably the number one reason to pray but there are other clear benefits, that’s for sure.
One of the benefits of prayer that many people will be pleased to know about is that it can reduce anxiety and increase calmness and peace. Even secular scientists agree that praying or meditating can have this result.
This is partly down to pausing for a moment and taking our focus off feelings of anxiety. Simply getting away from work, screens or difficult situations can be beneficial.
But the Bible also teaches that prayer can alleviate worry and anxiety. Famously in Philippians 4:6-7 it says, “do not be anxious about anything… but by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” When we lay our situation at God’s feet we can experience transcendent peace, which is better than anything else.
3. Increase gratitude and thankfulness
Another benefit of praying everyday is maintaining a spirit of thankfulness. Our daily lives give us plenty of reasons to be resentful, bitter, jealous or angry but these things don’t contribute to a happy life for ourselves or others.
Having an ‘attitude of gratitude’, to coin a phrase, is often cited as key to living a happy and fulfilled life. Prayers of thanks can help us refocus on the good stuff God has given us, rather than dwelling on the bad.
The Psalms are full of songs of gratitude and are a great place to start when it comes to forming your own prayers. King David also prays a powerful prayer of thankfulness in 2 Samuel 7:18-29, which is another great passage to model our prayers on.
4. Shift our focus to others
It can be tempting to focus only on ourselves and our own problems. Having some concern for our own well-being is important, but usually we could do with thinking of less about ourselves rather than more.
When we pray, we often find we are nudged to think of others. This is a good opportunity to pray for other people and their situation. Pausing to pray for others is not only a great thing you can do for them – it also helps us become more Christlike.
You’ll notice in many of the New Testament letters that Paul makes a point of praying for the people he’s writing to and lets them know about it too. One example is in Colossians 1:3 where he says, “we always thank God… when we pray for you”.
5. Hear from God
Not only can we experience God’s presence when we pray but we can communicate with Him.
A lot of praying involves talking at God – asking Him for things or giving thanks. We can sometimes forget to simply listen. God wants to communicate with us and whilst this won’t always mean hearing the audible voice of God, we can hear from Him in other ways, with promptings and images.
The Bible makes several promises about what happens when we pray to God expecting an answer. In Luke 11:10 we read, “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
There is a passage in Ezra 8:23 that says, “we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and He answered our prayer.”
6. Put off temptation
Avoiding temptation is impossible and ignoring it is easier said than done. It’s easy to let our minds dwell on things that aren’t helpful for us.
Now temptation itself is not sinful, it’s whether we give into it that matters. One of the best ways to avoid this is by turning to God and spending time in prayer.
The Bible is clear that prayer offers us an escape from worldly things that aren’t going to satisfy us. Colossians 3:2 encourages us to “set [our] minds on things above, not on earthly things” and Philippians 4:8 says, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” This is a great strategy for avoiding temptation.
7. Bring about miracles
The final benefit of prayer we’re going to look at today is the fact that prayer can bring about miracles. Whilst there is much about God that is a mystery, we know that miracles do happen, whether that’s the healing of a disease, financial debts being paid or relationships restored. There are many stories of God working miracles and it usually happens through prayer.
The Bible even says there is power in praying together (this is sometimes call corporate prayer). In Matthew 18:20 Jesus says, “where two or three gather in My name, there am I with them”.
When Christians pray about something together, whether through an app like Glorify or in their own church community, there is a supernatural power in it.
Is there an area in your life you would like God to work miracles in? Why not add your prayers to our app and get other people to pray into it too?
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of the benefits of prayer.