Published on July 9th, 2019 | by Nina Pulley
The Power of Prayer: Actualization, Faithfulness and Freedom
The Lord wants us to be bold and ask Him for what we need everyday. Jesus taught us how to pray, instructing us that we need not worry about a thing, but simply pray, believing that we will receive what we have asked for and rejoice as such, worrying not about what will come tomorrow or even the end of the day. He shared with us that every day has its own troubles and struggles to be overcome. With that comes gratitude, the realization that we are powerless over the things that will happen, yet that there is a God who cares about us and will look after us no matter what, as long as we believe in Him and do His will, the best will for our lives.
We need not be afraid of what will come tomorrow or the next day but simply trust and believe that things will work out, and even that belief has power. The same is true with prayer. We live in a polarized time, with people rejecting religion while churches everywhere are either looking to become more relevant or are becoming more exclusionary based on dogmatic principles. The combination of the two create a highly volatile environment where people have often expressed they feel unsafe expressing their true feelings. Compound that with controversies constantly erupting on social media and one’s internal environment can become overwhelmingly cacophonous. How do we settle down and take time to process? Personally, for me, prayer is revolutionary: it turns everything on its head. Chaos turns to calm. Fear turns to faith. In a time where it is easier than ever to turn to other people for validation, it may be difficult to find the time to figure out the components of prayer and figure out why they’re important to you. There are three principles that accompany prayer that help us wade through the water of troubles and arrive on the shore of faith, cleansed, better than you were before, and at peace with whatever troubles come your way.
Prayer is about turning your dreams and desires into reality. There are many theories that support this idea, many of them taking the form of self-help literature, personal development courses and inspirational YouTube videos meant to bring people to a higher plane in themselves. Many of these forms are monetized. Truth is, nothing can be monetized that is spiritual, and that is the ability to pray. Many of us pray without realizing that we’re doing it: we are praying to win the next baseball game, praying that our favorite dress goes on sale by the time we get the next check, praying that a certain someone notices us. However, these are not always the things we need or even truly want. If we spend time thinking about it, we realize we want something deeper, more fulfilling, more durable than a change in temporary conditions or material gains. Actualization is the treasure in our hearts that we can never dig to the bottom of: it is the effort we put towards something we desire and the ability to see it happen. Prayer, in essence, is the first step of actualization. We come to the God who created us with our wishes, the one who already knows the depths of our hearts and placed our desires there, and share with Him our wants and our concerns. When we look at it that way, rather than a rite of affectation and obligation, we can come to better understand what prayer is.
Prayer takes faithfulness. We can’t just pray one time and expect everything to be granted immediately, with what we want falling out of the sky. We often must return to the foot of the throne and make our requests known day after day, night after night, with the expectation that it will be granted “on God’s time.” Faithfulness, like in any relationship, is not effortless. It requires focus, attention, empathy, understanding, and a desire to be there for your significant other. It also yields great rewards. We all see those couples who celebrate twenty or thirty years of marriage, or simply friends who have known each other for most of their lives, and the beauty that lies therein: the peace they share, the love and acceptance they have towards so many besides themselves, the patience they have with one another and the joy that they share. Prayer is the same: the more we do it, the more it will yield results in our life.
Freedom to ask for what you truly want
I think this is the part that many people struggle with, myself included. Prayer is not just praying ritualistically without really knowing what you’re praying for; it is not a procession, process, or ceremony. It is a true expression of the heart. You should not be afraid to pray for exactly what you need, bringing your whole heart to God and praying to him fully, and truly. He already knows everything about you, and has seen an eternity before you were even conceived and will see endless eternities after your time here on Earth is over. Why pray about something that you don’t mean or don’t fully understand. Wherever you are, God will meet you there. This also comes with the understanding that what we truly want – acceptance, safety, prosperity, health, friendship, acknowledgment – was placed there by God in the first place. All we have to do is trust.
There it is. These are only some of the aspects of prayer. Prayer, like human life, is prismatic and has numerous levels, understandings, and applications. When you’re feeling down, like you’re on your last leg, tired, worn down, and misunderstood, you don’t have to worry that you’ll be misunderstood or in the same place forever. When you turn to the God that created you and turn to prayer, expressing all that you require, believe that you will make it to another day better, stronger, and fuller than you are today.