The topic assumes that it is universally agreed by the readers that prayer transform lives. The most basic definition of prayer is “talking to God.” One writer declares that “Prayer is not meditation or passive reflection; it is a direct address to God.” Therefore, prayer is the primary way for the believer to communicate his emotions and desires with God and fellowship with Him. 

Transform suggests changing from one form, appearance, structure, or type to another. So, we expect prayers to change not only an individual mind, belief, or conduct, but situations and circumstances in the individual’s environment. 

The most enlightening transformational effect of prayer happened to Jesus’ disciples during their tarrying period in the upper room (Acts 1:14). Before the upper room, the disciples experienced jealousy and pride. There was evidence of infighting, lack of faith, and lack of spiritual vitality. The inner struggle made the disciples spiritually weak and ineffective in ministry.

As a result of spending time with God in prayer, the disciples experienced a revival. Their lives were transformed as pride gave way to humility. Acts 2: 44-47 provides a summary of the new attitude. It can be said ‘love autographed their actions.’ They became fearless preachers, and miracles happened. 

Personal prayer changes the individual and they soon realize that prayer is faith-building. A person cannot interact with omnipotence and still cherish a negative attitude. Pessimism will give way to optimism, ingratitude will surrender to gratitude, and an impulsive and self–willed disposition will change to self-control and restraint. 

Families are also transformed through prayer. The transformational effect of prayer within the family is scientifically validated. Dr. Frank Fincham, Eminent Scholar and Director of the Florida State University (FSU) Family Institute studied the impact of prayer on marriage. He recruited people to take part in a four-week study where they were randomly assigned to either pray for their partner, engage in general prayer, or set aside time to think about the positive things in life and about their partner. Fincham’s research showed that those who prayed for their partner showed a greater willingness to forgive their partner for a transgression.

 A happy marriage is a union of two good forgivers.   -- Robert Quillen

The transforming power of prayer is evident during evangelistic campaigns. The evil forces would like to keep an individual bond in sin. However, it is the transforming grace of God that produces a breakthrough. I have witnessed persons entering the prayer room with hearts in stubborn resistance to the Holy Spirit; but after participating in prayer over a few nights, the bible worker report that their stubborn resisting hearts have melted. They in turn surrender to Jesus. An effective prayer ministry is indispensable during public evangelism.

I call on all Christians to reactivate the family altar and witness the transforming power of God through personal, family, and corporate prayers.

Our heavenly Father waits to bestow upon us the fullness of His blessing... He is ready and willing to hear the sincere prayer of the humblest of His children (Steps to Christ, by Ellen G. White - chapter 11).

Article by Elder Keble Dawkins, Prayer Ministries leader for the New Providence Seventh-day Adventist Church.

This article was extracted from the Logos for April 3, 2021.