Join C&C
Back to Blog

Dwelling in His Secret Place

Jun 01, 2022

The Benefits of a Powerful Prayer Life 

While this verse is printed on mugs and kitchen towels everywhere, it continues to be one of the most powerful verses showing us how to pray and the peace prayer brings to our lives. 

God knew this world would be full of hardship and loss, so he created a direct streamline for us to turn to when we feel overwhelmed by the burdens of life. The physical and emotional benefits of a powerful prayer life have carried on since the beginning of time, proving that prayer is fundamental for spiritual wellness. If you want to incorporate prayer into your mental health journey, stick with me. We're going to discuss what prayer is, how to connect to God in prayer, and how prayer affects your mind and your life. 

What Is Prayer?

Prayer is talking to God. As children of Christ, think of prayer the way a child sits on their father's lap. Children often ramble about their needs, situations that may be troubling them, or simply how their day went. God longs for us to talk to him like a child talks to a father, and He also longs to talk to us. He wants to sup with his. Revelation 3:20

One may ask, why does God want a relationship with us? We weren’t made to be automatons. We were made to be in fellowship with our creator. This fellowship that God originally intended started in the Garden of Eden, the beginning. Jesus dwelt with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. Genesis 3:8 He was in constant fellowship with them. From this, it is clear that Jesus created everyone to be in a relationship with Him, and He truly delights in hearing from his sons and daughters. 

What Is His Dwelling Place?

Through prayer, we cultivate a real, meaningful relationship with Jesus. Unfortunately, sin has compromised our consistent connection to Jesus. We now have to wrestle with God in order to create and maintain the harmony that we once had. The good thing is that there is hope. God has created a pathway back to him. This pathway consists of a powerful prayer life that will help you to heal from emotional pain, deeply connect with God and intercede for others. This type of prayer is only found in the sanctuary. Psalm 77:13

When we understand the sanctuary it’s clear that this is God’s pathway and plans to restore lost humanity from the depths of sin. This is his special dwelling place. Through the power of the sanctuary, we can approach God in various ways and attach to Him. We can pray in confession to Christ. We can thank God for all His blessings and for who He is. We can pray in deep repentance and forgiveness. We can cry for mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual healing. Prayer is personal, unique, and only between you and the savior, Jesus. Unlike the Pharisees, who prayed loudly in the streets and synagogues for all to hear, Jesus lovingly reminds us we don’t have to do this. Prayer is a secret place that we can go to with God. It’s a special place that is reserved only for Him. Psalm 91

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is unseen. Matthew 6:6. 

5 Ways Prayer Affects The Mind:

Prayer reaches us in ways that we can only access with Jesus. Prayer heals the deepest parts of our hearts and this affects us physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Here are five ways that prayer affects the mind. 

  1. Prayer Gives Us Emotional Support 
  2. Prayer Guides Us 
  3. Prayer Strengthens Our Connection to God 
  4. Prayer Decreases Anxiety and Enhances Our Mood
  5. Prayer Reshapes Our Brain 

Prayer Gives Us Emotional Support
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

Imagine you’re carrying a large backpack full of stones. These stones are large and heavy, and eventually, you begin to crumble under the weight of the pressure. The stones symbolize past wounds, trauma, emotional pain, mental illnesses, and other situations that caused inner turmoil. When we pray, Jesus removes each stone and He carries it. He reshapes and molds our minds each time he takes the stone away. Isaiah 64:8 Each time a stone is lifted your load becomes lighter. 

Jesus reminds us to lay our burdens down at his feet and rest. This brings peace to our minds. When we pray and lay our worries and troubles down, we experience the benefits of stress leaving the body. 

Stress is extremely harmful to the mind as it causes inflammation, memory loss, depression, anxiety, and other physical ailments. God created prayer as a solution to stress, asking us to trust him wholeheartedly. Our mind will begin to heal from long-term inflammation and distress when we pray. 1 Peter 5:7

Prayer Guides Us
Thy word is a lamp unto to my feet and a light unto to my path.
Psalm 119:105

In life, situations that seem to have no easy solution can often cause stress beyond belief. We may feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, thus feeling defeated and anxious. Inevitably, our bodies physically respond to this reaction, and as a result, we suffer from stomach aches, joint pain, and headaches to name a few.

When we pray, we allow God to guide our actions and behaviors. When we come to Him with our problems and ask for help, He can answer in one of three ways (1. providence, 2. an impression, or 3. a dream). He may also not answer, and this is okay too. God has a reason for every answered and unanswered prayer in his timing. Habakkuk 2:3

Whether he answers or not, through prayer we deepen our understanding of what God wants for our lives. God wants and desires to go before us to be with us in every time of need. Deuteronomy 31:8 Once we have a better grasp on this, we can make decisions that align with his purpose for our lives. He wants to guide and support us through all of life's challenges. Just knowing that the Saviour and creator of the universe want to take care of us can put our minds at ease and reduces stress because he is in control, no matter what happens. Joshua 1:9

Prayer Strengthens Our Connection to God
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
John 15:4

A stronger connection to God has many mental health benefits. Not only does it heal emotional wounds that keep you stagnant, but it also creates a more robust relationship with God. John 14:23
A deep relationship and attachment to God have also been shown to help us:

  • Tolerate stress better 
  • Reduce rates of suicide 
  • Reduce rates of self-harm 
  • Reduce symptoms of mental illness 
  • Gives us hope for the future 
  • Gives us meaning in life 
  • Encourages better relationships with ourselves and others
  • Gives us peace
  • Helps us forgive others

A deep and meaningful relationship with God, one on which we can rely and trust will remove and heal all fear and guilt. It gives us hope in our current trial, and hope for the future. It gives us faith to go forward, and the courage to persevere. It removes all doubt. It builds our endurance and is the motivation for life. It gives us our identity, purpose, and security. It is everlasting. It will never fail. It is consistent and always reliable. A personal relationship with God shows us how to love and see others with a loving, outward-focused mindset. A personal relationship with God will help us to see ourselves the way he sees us.
1 Corinthians 13

Research has shown that patients with acute mental health diagnoses have significantly higher chances of recovery when prayer and a relationship with God were prioritized.  Not only are we more capable of exhibiting the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) our minds are able to establish healthier relationships with others, positively impacting our mental health. Colossians 3:14

Prayer Decreases Anxiety and Boosts Our Mood
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.
Psalm 94:19

God longs to be our source of comfort and strength. 1 Peter 5:7 The secure attachment we feel when we engage in an active prayer life has been scientifically proven to reduce levels of anxiety. Psalm 131:2

Stress and anxiety take a massive toll on our organs, so when we pray, we let our bodies rest. This affects our minds by allowing our brains (usually running in overdrive) to calm down. Psalm 16:8

Not only does prayer decrease anxiety, but it also enhances our mood. A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania found that levels of dopamine (our happy chemicals)  increased when patients spent time praying. The levels of dopamine from prayer were as high as if the patient indulged in a chocolate bar!

Prayer Reshapes Our Brain
​​My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart (mind); For they are life to those who find them And health to all their flesh. Guard your heart (mind) with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Proverbs 4: 20-23

For decades scientists believed our brains were static - meaning once they were formed, there was no going back. However, loads of research has found this to be false. Our brains are changing and growing far into our lifetime! Psalm 51:10

New neural connections are created every time we learn something new or practice a habit. It’s entirely possible to sculpt our brains, just as if we were sculpting our muscles by going to the gym. Ezekiel 36:26

When we pray, a specific neural circuit specializing in social awareness and empathy is strengthened. This means we are literally changing our brains at a fundamental level when we spend time with our creator! 1 Peter 2:24 With these stronger neural connections we are able to love our neighbor easier, let go of anger quicker, and practice patience and self-control like never before. Galatians 5:22-23

Prayer Will Transform Your Mind and Your Life

The sanctuary is God’s specific design for life-changing prayer - and from what research has shown us, this happens on a neural level. Thankfully we no longer have to climb a mountain or sacrifice an animal to speak to God. But the sanctuary is not done away with, it continues to be the path of restoration and communication with Jesus, our loving Saviour. Psalm 77:13

God is well aware of the challenges you may be facing and he promises that you never have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death alone. When you give your burdens over to your Father you not only receive emotional support, guidance, and connection, you literally become a happier person. Romans 12:2

Join us for our 10 Days of Prayer through the Sanctuary from June 3-June 12 to start your journey to a life-changing prayer life that will never leave you thirsty again. John 6:35

Until Next Time...
Denetra Gary, LCSW 
Licensed Clinical Social Worker