If you read the stories of transformation in the Bible, whether transformation of a person or a situation, nearly all of them have one thing in common – someone prayed.
Biblically, transformation is almost always preceded by transformational prayer.
3 characteristics of transformational prayer – prayer that God will use to transform us and those around us.
The people of God had been shown God’s favor from the beginning, yet because of a slide down into disobedience, God had to discipline them by sending them into exile for 70 years to Babylon.
Daniel was one of those exiles. He had caught the eye of the king and served steps from royalty during his captivity. It was towards the end of the captivity that he prayed fervently for his fellow people to be returned back to Jerusalem. It is in the couple of verses leading up to that prayer that we learn what transformational prayer looks like.
2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. 3 So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.
3 characteristics of transformational prayer
- Transformational prayer begins from a place of knowing God’s heart – Daniel 9:2
Daniel knew God’s heart for the situation they were facing because he knew God’s Word. We should know God’s Word, but Jesus told us about another way, in addition to the Word, that we can know God’s heart.
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
One of the Holy Spirits roles is to bring to our mind the things that Jesus spoke, and Jesus only spoke that which originated from the heart of the Father.
Prayer should not become something we do just to check a box. We should be constantly paying attention to who or what the Holy Spirit put’s on our minds, and then be diligent to pray.
Who is it, or what situation is it that you keep thinking about at the most random times? Those are not random thoughts, but the Holy Spirit stirring you up to pray.
2. Transformational prayer is both often and immediate – Daniel 9:3
The first thing verse 3 tells us is that Daniel committed to a season of prayer. It was not a one and done. We read only one of the prayers in Daniel, but the language here suggests that he was committing himself to a season of intense, specific prayer. Transformational prayer is not a one-time thing, but a commitment to a lifestyle of praying.
Secondly, Daniel’s first response to the revelation God gave him was to pray. He didn’t say that he would pray, or ask how he could pray (both good things), but he simply prayed.
What if our knee-jerk reaction to a situation was to pray?
3. Transformational prayer is expectant prayer – Acts 3
The Bible is full of examples of prayer that exceeded what the person praying could have ever expected:
- Daniel prayed for his people to return to Jerusalem – what he didn’t fully know was that the rebuilt city would set the stage for the biggest rescue operation ever to take place.
- Hannah prayed for a son. What she didn’t know was that that son, Samuel, would be the one to anoint David king of Israel, and that it would be from the line of David that God would bring forth the Messiah.
When we pray, are we expecting that God can do exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that we could ask or think? (Ephesians 3:20)
Acts 3:1-10 tells a story of a man paralyzed from birth who was sitting outside of the temple gates, begging for some money to get him through to the next day.
Peter and John walked by, and verse 5 says that he “expected” something from them.
The problem was that he expected far too little. He expected that they were just going to give him a couple of coins.
He expected something to just get him by for the day, but what the Lord had for him was healing that would totally transform his entire life forever.
When we pray, we need to be expecting that God is capable of doing far more than we could ever wrap our minds around.
In all of our talk about transformation, we have established that:
- we need to be men and women of the Word.
- We need to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- We need to be in relationship with other people.
What if, with all of that in place, the final ingredient to serious transformation occurring around us is that we become a people who simply listens to the Holy Spirit, and prays often, immediately, and expectantly?
- What has the Holy Spirit put in front of you to pray for? Could be a person, situation, nation, etc.
- Spend time now praying for those things…don’t wait.
- Commit to entering into a lifestyle of prayer with those around you.
- Join our prayer warriors team on Sunday morning at 8:00am for 30 minutes of intercessory prayer.