What Prayer Causes
Before Jesus moved to the valley to deliver the demon-possessed boy in Matthew 21, the Bible says that He was on top of the mountain and was praying to the Father. Something that stood out to me is that it says that as He was praying, His face changed.
Now it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening.Luke 9:28-29
In the same way, I believe that many of us need to reclaim our “mountaintop experiences” because while they empower us for valley problems, they first and foremost change us.
The Bible says as He prayed, His face changed.
One of the best benefits of prayer is personal transformation. Nothing changes a person’s inner being as much as spending time with the One who made it. You would think that if there was anybody on this planet who did not need to pray it would be God – Jesus! If anybody was too busy, it would be Jesus, yet He made time to pray.
I want to encourage you to keep pressing into God in prayer. Don’t give up on seeking God intimately just because you haven’t seen an answer yet. You’ll notice that as you do, you’ll begin to change.
Prayer Is The Bedrock Of Personal Transformation
By prayer, I mean a lifestyle of intentionally pursuing the Lord.
I want us to reclaim our prayer life. Prayer has the power to bring about personal transformation. On the mountain, not only was Jesus’ face altered and His robe started shining, but the glory of God came and Elijah and Moses appeared. I believe that as you begin to press into God daily, spending quality, uninterrupted time with your Creator, not only will you become a different person, but your relationships change.
When you are relating to a divine being, it will affect how you relate to other human beings. I also believe that God will do things through you that you couldn’t otherwise do for yourself. This reminds me of a quote:
“Dear Creator, please tell me what the universe was made for. The Great Creator answered, “You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask something more your size.” Then I asked, “Dear Creator, please tell me what man was made for.” Again the Creator replied, “Little man, you still ask too much; cut down the extent of your request and improve your intent.” Then I asked, “Please Mr. Creator, will you tell me why the peanut was made?” Then the Creator taught me how to take a peanut apart and put it back together again.”- George Washington Carver
From that prayer encounter, George Washington Carver revolutionized the Southern agricultural economy of the United States, by showing that 300 products could be derived from a peanut. Shampoo, face powder, shaving cream, hand lotion, caramel, chili sauce, peanut lemon punch, peanut sausage, mayonnaise, peanut coffee, and a lot of other products came about as a result of his breaking down a peanut through his revelation from God.
By 1938, the peanut had become a $200 million dollar industry and the chief product of the state of Alabama. Through one man’s encounter with God.
Personal transformation through prayer precedes the demonstration of God’s power you will see in your life. God wants to change you and then He will work on your situation.
Prayer Enables You To Overcome, But Arguing Disables You From Winning
And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.Mark 9:14
After the disciples failed to deliver the demon-possessed boy, instead of trying again, they started arguing with the scribes. They got into a battle with religious leaders who had no experience, desire, or passion to cast out demons.
When you abandon your prayer life, you will start developing weird habits that have absolutely no bearing on the effectiveness of your life. You are not going to be empty; you are going to be negative, maybe toxic, and defensive. In life, you can always beat a skunk, but the question is, is the smell worth the fight? Your goal is not to be engaged in every battle that you are invited to. Your goal should be to only be involved in battles that have a spoil or victory at the end.
Instead of the disciples winning the battle of casting out a demon from a boy, they spent time arguing. If you have abandoned your prayer life, I am sure you have time when what you are doing is only disarming, disabling, draining you, and giving you anxiety.
We are not great debaters. As Christians, we are great witnesses. Lawyers debate, witnesses just share what they saw. We must live our lives so anchored in Jesus that we have victory in the valley. If we don’t have victory in the valley, we must do whatever it takes to find that victory instead of switching our mode and method into arguing and fighting.
Mountaintop People Can Handle Valley Problems
I didn’t say mountain-top-people can fix all valley problems.
Sometimes, when you spend time with God in prayer, God gives you spiritual insight, wisdom, direction, guidance and ideas to fix valley problems. Other times, He doesn’t give you ideas, and simply increases your strength. Not every problem gets solved; some problems get handled.
Mountaintop people have the ability not only to solve but also to handle valley problems. Sometimes, you solve the problems and other times, you walk in the valley of the shadow of death but you can handle it because you are not alone. Because He is with you, you will not fear evil. While the presence of God gives me power to overcome in the valley, it also gives me His presence and peace to endure in the valley, not get stuck in the valley, and not get defined by the valley. Instead, it enables me to come out on the other side where my table is laid, I am seated, my head is anointed and goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life (Psalm 23).
Connect And Disconnect
When Jesus came down from the mountain, the Bible says He saw His disciples arguing after they couldn’t get this demon out of the boy. At this He said, “How long shall I be with you” or in other words, I am fed up with you. Then He identified two problems with people in the valley. He said you unbelieving and perverse generation.
Unbelieving means you are disconnected from God. Perverse means you are deeply connected with the world. Could it be that sometimes we lack victory in the valley because we are disconnected and have a lack of reception? That is the unbelieving factor; it is a broken connection to God. What I have seen is that unbelief always leads to perversion. You cannot have a weak connection with God without having a strong connection to the world. You cannot have a strong connection to God without having a weak connection to the world.
Jesus’s Solution To Valley Problems
Jesus’s solution to the valley problem in Matthew 17:21, fixes your connection to God and disconnects you from the world. Prayer fixes that weak connection to God, and fasting disconnects you from the world. When you are perverse, you can claim to be a Christian but you are just like the world. When such a person find themselves in a valley situation, they start wondering why they are not seeing victory.
What if the secret of your victory is in your connection and disconnection? How is your personal connection to God? I am not asking if you to believe in Jesus. Demons believe in Jesus but they are still demons. While your connection to God is weak, I can guarantee you, you have another connection right now that is very strong. For some of us, it is sports, overeating, videos, entertainment, or habits that are hurting our physical health. For some of us, it is a kind of friend and relationship that are toxic, draining, and distracting us from where we are supposed to be.
For certain problems to be fixed in our lives, sometimes we must reset everything.
I want to encourage you to reconnect to God in genuine prayer and fast to disconnect from those things which limit you from going after God. Then, watch how you will experience victory in your valley.
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