The Fruit of Transforming Prayer
As I have watched the power of worship-based prayer transform hundreds of lives, I have seen some very specific fruit. I long for more of this fruit in my life and the lives of everyone I influence. What does this fruit look like? Here is a summary of what I have seen occur as people learn to seek God’s face:
God is glorified! — One of the great results of transforming prayer is that people recognize God at work because they have joined Him in that work through their prayers. Their hearts are sensitized to His presence, His power, and His purposes. Their lips are free to recognize Him as the source of all good things. Their souls are eager to cry out, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory!” (Psalm 115:1).
For people who fail to pray, everything is a coincidence that has little recognition of God at work. For those who pray, everything is a co-incident, as they have joined the Lord in His work through the privilege of prayer. The principle is simple. When we pray, God gets the thanks and the credit for what happens.
We are sanctified! — Sanctified. Did you notice that word in the morning paper today? Of course not. It is not a word in common use, but it packs a powerful meaning. It means to be “set apart” to God. It means God is working in me, around me, and through me to make me holy, more like Jesus. The great fruit of transforming prayer is that praying Christians, while not perfect, are growing every day to the point that they act, think, speak, and serve like Jesus.
The church is edified! — When I first came to the church in Northern California, I followed a godly predecessor who served for forty years as their senior pastor. This left a great heritage, for which I was very grateful. It also left a very traditional and older church. These wonderful saints cherished the days of the past and felt trepidation as they faced the inevitability of change in the future. Five years later, at one of our conferences, a visiting pastor from New York commented, “These are the youngest old people I have ever seen.” This was evidence that when transformation occurs within hearts, ignited by the truth and presence of Christ, everything else begins to change for the sake of the health of the church and the fulfillment of the mission.
Jude 20 says, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. . . .” The Amplified version elaborates, “But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit.” To say that the church is “edified” means that the lives, marriages, families, and ministries of the church are built up, made strong and healthy — through biblical prayer, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The world is mystified! — Over the years, we have heard significant debate about the best way to reach the unchurched and what influences the hearts of unbelievers who attend our church services. First Corinthians 14:25 is the only verse in the New Testament that speaks specifically to the experience of an unbeliever coming into a church service. In essence, when the Spirit is working among God’s people and the truth is honored in their midst, it says that the unbeliever sees this in the lives of believers and “the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.” I believe this is a clear description of the glory (manifest presence) of Christ among His people.
The early disciples, who “filled Jerusalem” with their doctrine and “turned the world upside down” (Acts 5:28; 17:6), truly mystified the religious people of the day. When the Jewish leaders interrogated Peter and John, it was said, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
The world is not transformed by relevant Christians, strategic Christians, visionary Christians, leadership-savvy Christians, wealthy Christians, attractive Christians, educated Christians, active Christians, or articulate Christians. These are all interesting qualities, and might be helpful on occasion — especially in building big religious organizations and selling books. Ultimately, the world is transformed by sanctified Christians through whom the life of Jesus becomes a mystifying manifestation.
As Paul said, “For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:6–7). People changed by Jesus cannot help but change the world.
The enemy is notified! — This is not a book on spiritual warfare, but at this point I want to remind you that Satan is not omniscient. He is supernatural and powerful, and supported by myriads of demonic forces, but he cannot read our thoughts. The best he can do is observe our behavior, eavesdrop on our conversations, and implement a strategy to send his fiery darts against our minds — based on his understanding of our vulnerabilities and habits.
When we are in the habit of experiencing transformation as we seek God’s face, the enemy’s efforts to defeat, discourage, distract, or destroy us are met with the reality of our Christ-ward focus and the victory that comes from intimacy with Jesus. To Satan’s dismay, he sees us praying, trusting God, and becoming more like our Lord as we do so. He is notified that we are engaged in a pursuit of the promises of transformation and impact for the Savior.
Copyright © 2011 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.
(This e-devotion is an excerpt from the book Transforming Prayer – How Everything Changes When You Seek God’s Face. To order your copy, CLICK HERE.)