Coffee and prayer. Like cookies and milk. Simplicity and perfection wrapped up together. Most of my mornings start out with a read from the Bible or devotional, a hot mug of coffee, and quiet time spent in prayer and reflection.
Not always, but most.
I have not always been the best pray-er—too busy for God, too tired for an honest one-on-one, too frustrated from the daily complications of life. But over the last two years, I have tried to make prayer a priority. And the more I’ve incorporated prayer, the greater peace and sense of purpose I’ve had. Specifically, I have discovered that prayer can transform lives in at least five ways:
Prayer humbles us.
It’s all about me. You knew that, right? Oh wait. I bet it’s all about you. We all have a tendency to believe this way, even if we don’t say it outright. Think about it. How many times in a conversation do you say the word “I?” I bet all our thoughts somehow relate to us, right? Or am I the only one?
I love how prayer humbles us. When I pray, I pray for my children, my extended family, my business associate who has cancer, my neighbor who just had back surgery, the impoverished of my city. Prayer humbles me when I reflect on others: their desires, their needs, their hurts, their stumbling blocks. Prayer offers me a way to get beyond myself to others, and to what really matters most.
Prayer engages us.
Prayer engages me to my Father. When I ask my kids, “Would you think that I loved you if I never spent time with you? If I never spoke to you?” Of course the answer is “No!” It’s the same way with prayer. When I pray, I am speaking to God. I am engaging with Him intimately. He is not distant. I can communicate with and relate to Him on a personal level. How freeing to know that I am so loved!
Prayer ignites us.
Prayer ignites reverence and passion. Prayer reminds me of not just His goodness and mercy, but His holiness. He inspires awe. Similarly, the act of a simple prayer produces passion—for His people, for His purposes, for Himself. Like a fiery spark that spreads, prayer stirs my heart in so many different life areas: my career, my relationships, my mission, and my values.
Prayer aligns us.
I admit I want to do things my way. I find that prayer, however, shifts my perspective to God’s perspective. His ways become my ways. His purposes become my purposes. Prayer aligns us to Him. When I don’t pray, I start walking away, taking the detour from the path God has laid out for me. When I do pray, I see how far I’ve strayed, and I can’t help but run back into His arms.
Prayer grows us.
Prayer isn’t just about speaking. It’s not a litany of requests or pleas for help. Prayer may be more about listening. Those who stop talking and start listening are those who learn and grow the most. God has so much to say back to us—if only we would shut our mouths and quiet our hearts. When is the last time you’ve set aside a substantial amount of time to not only talk but to listen?
He’s speaking to you. Are you willing to hear?