Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Prayer Can Bring About Psychological Change (PrayerLife)

Warren Dunes State Park
One thing I do when I pray is ask God for my own self. I have found that praying for myself has brought a variety of changes in my own psyche (soul).

In prayer, fear can be changed to boldness. Do I, at times, feel afraid? Of course. The person who never feels afraid is brain dead. Stanley Grenz writes:

"The psalmist reported experiencing this kind of psychological or emotional transformation: "In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free" (Ps. 118:5). The psalmist then expressed the new boldness that came in response to prayer: "The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (v. 6; see also Ps. 138:3)." (Grenz, Prayer: The Cry for the Kingdom, Kindle Location 468-470)

In prayer, anxiety can be changed to peace. We see this in Philippians 4:6-7:

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

I have experienced this many times, so many that I'm tempted to say it's normal and to be expected; viz., that when I go alone to pray I come away less fearful and less anxious and more confident and peace-filled. 

I experience Henri Nouwen's "proof that prayer works." In his Latin American journal Gracias! Nouwen wrote that when he didn't pray or got "too busy to pray" he found himself more fearful and more agitated.

In prayer the threatening situation's power dissipates and the inner heart-agitator is shut off.