3 Ways Prayer Shows How to Change Your Perspective
Considering how to change your perspective through unanswered prayers could be a key change of intention that actually leads us to see more of God. Clearing the idea that some prayers go unheard or unanswered builds our faith to pray more boldly and more consistently.
The sacrifice of our time and the humbling of our heart, the laying down of all our struggles for control, leads us to recognize the benefit of unanswered prayers or prayers that aren’t answered the way we hoped for. When circumstances play out differently than you prayed, don’t think for a minute it means your prayers weren’t heard or honored.
How to Change Your Perspective through prayer
God sees every crack and cranny of a heart in need of his light and grace. Instead of glossing them over and hurrying to our requests, God pauses mercifully. He pauses as long as it takes for our cracked open heart to catch up with his plan for bigger and better.
Here’s how I know.
Early in my marriage, for a period of about two years, I prayed for my marriage to be stable and secure. Things weren’t where I longed them to be. Do you know that for two years, God and I went round and round on this?
I’d dutifully ask, “God, please give me stability and security in my marriage.” and he’d reply, “You need to find your stability and security in me.” So I’d come back, “But, God, don’t you want me to have a stable and secure marriage? Aren’t I praying for what you want?”.
He’d answer with a yes, but no, “Find your stability and security in me alone.” Though I was stubborn and couldn’t see it, this time spent with God over what I saw as an unanswered prayer gifted me insight on how to change your perspective.
Prayers to Change Situations
I was not satisfied with God’s answer. I ignored it because it didn’t make sense to me and because it wasn’t what I thought was best. I had no clue how to find my security and stability in God alone. Instead, I wanted to hold other people responsible for filling all of my needs.
God knew though that the gaps in my ability to trust others and lean in healthily weren’t my husband’s responsibility to heal. Only God could heal what was broken in me. Only God could heal what was broken in my husband. Only God could bring the level of security and stability I craved.
Truly, only God could grow me into a healthy spouse capable of enjoying and upholding a stable and secure marriage. He saw my need and answered in the fullest way possible, even though that wasn’t what I was praying for. While I was busy praying for a fix of the other person, God saw needs on both sides of the table and addressed them simultaneously like only an Author and Finisher could.
God’s faithfulness to finish what has been started in you is an important part of learning how to change your perspective in any tough situation.
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Letting Go and Trusting God
Here’s what I came to understand about our omniscient God’s righteous level of security and stability and the way it will support you as you seek how to change your perspective:
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. -Psalm 62:1-2
God alone satisfies our souls. God alone is our ROCK and salvation. God alone is our security and stability.
If you know you need to see things differently but wonder how to change your perspective effectively, I encourage you to pray for specific things and then expect God to do even more than you requested. Just be prepared God’s “more” may not be recognizable until the situation has passed.
God heard my request and changed what really needed addressing which was my heart. Changing my heart to depend on God alone, affected everything in my life, including benefiting my marriage. Of course, God wanted our marriage to be stable and secure. He just chose to work on my half of the deal first.
When I relented and let God alone be my rock and my salvation, it changed my perspective.
How to Change Your Perspective Through Prayer
The time I spent praying for God to change my heart and allow me to trust him the way he said I could, significantly cut back on the time I spent laying out my complaints. This method on how to change your perspective is easily obtained by you, too!
1. Intend on Letting Go and Letting God Take Control
This change in perspective that led me to trust God more and complain less trickled out from my prayer time into my marriage. I wasn’t as critical or needy. My feelings of stability and security weren’t wrapped up in the emotional ups and downs of marriage. I could take life day by day and know that whatever came next, my God was bigger and stronger. I also knew God was working in both of us. He was for us, not against us and he’d finish the good work he started in each of us individually and inside our marriage.
In my letting go and letting God take control, I became less worried and controlling. I realized I was no more perfect at marriage than my husband was. It was equally new for both of us! God was merciful and so very patient to give me the repeated message until I decided to let go and let him work in both of us.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
His message of resting in him alone didn’t just help my marriage in that season. It bled over into my friendships, my parenting, and my work.
I can confidently say in any situation, however this turns out, whether what I want really is best or whether I’m selfishly mistaken, I hand it to you, God. You alone are my rock and my salvation. You alone provide my stability and my security. I rest in you, knowing the battle is already being fought and I won’t be shaken, at least not greatly.
Letting go and letting God take control is a huge step in learning how to change your perspective!
2. Trust God sees the Bigger Picture
Turns out, God isn’t into quick fixes.
I saw this proved in my life, but we also read about it the story of Paul’s conversion and his resulting service of God.
First, according to Acts 9, as Paul set out to imprison more Jesus followers, he was met with a bright light and a voice from above asking why he persecuted God. Not surprisingly, this dramatic interruption brought on a change in perspective. Paul began following Jesus and greatly influenced the early church.
Later on, Paul asks God to remove a figurative thorn from his side. He pleads with God three times to remove it, but God says “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul then reports, “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
If you ever wonder how to change your perspective, ask God for wisdom in seeing the big picture or at least gaining the wisdom to trust there is a bigger picture and that God is in control of those plans.
3. Put Your Confidence in God, not Man
Paul’s saying, “I went from pleading with God to remove this vile part of me to thanking him and delighting in it and any hardship that follows, because GUESS WHAT? Lesson learned. Those are things that drive my stubborn, struggling human heart into a position of sacrifice and praise. When I am weak, he lends me his impenetrable strength. Nothing tops it.”
If you’ve been doing life with Jesus for a bit, you’ve probably Amen’ed the verses below. I encourage you, no matter how many times you’ve heard them, to take a pause and mull these over. This encouraging word is brought to us by none other than our Perspective Change Hero himself, Paul. They are such praiseworthy and insightful words on how to change your perspective!
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12:1-2
Prayer Shows How to Change Your Perspective
God, I pray that you bring sensitivity to my heart that I might see your transformative work in every situation I face. The good things, let me be quick to praise you for those! The awful things, let me be quick to seek your faithfulness so I remain open to hearing what you want me to learn. I know you will not leave me or forsake me. Help me not confuse you with my circumstance! Even though they change, you do not. You are steady and I am secure in your salvation. Let my life always be a living sacrifice to you and your perfect will.
Resources for How to Change Your Perspective
Prayer journaling is a great support in figuring out how to change your perspective. As you journal about your prayers you’re keeping a history that you can come back to later. Sometimes we don’t see God’s hand moving until we review what we prayed for previously! Prayer journaling can provide big “aha” moments, as well as teach you that praying is equipping you on how to change your perspective.
I love this “Be Still” Prayer Journal. Having a specific place for writing all of my prayers together creates a personal treasure while simplifying the process over time. This journal includes a different verse on every page, which I love. The spiral-bound book means no wasted pages and there’s a hard surface included for writing wherever I find myself!
There are two things I love about reviewing prayer journals.
1) I can remember the prayers and see exactly how and when God answered them. In that way, and since so many prayers include praise and thanks, it lends itself to doubling as a Gratitude Journal. Gratitude Journals are an amazing reminder that seasons come and go, but there are always good, solid things to be thankful for. It’s a perspective changer all in itself!
2) I can see my perspective changes so clearly. When my prayers change to reflect less of me and more of God, it highlights an area where he was working faithfully in me. Again, this lends itself to overwhelming gratitude.
This Change in Perspective article came about through the questions I’ve had on the benefits of prayer, especially those that seem to go unanswered.
You can dive into the questions with me here, then continue through the series to see these benefits of “unanswered” prayer:
Such a beautiful post, Rachel. Thanks for your honesty and openness here. A great reminder about what prayer is: finding God in one’s self–the Holy Spirit–and then listening. As you note, this listening really does transform the way you SEE the world.
Thanks for stopping by, Ryan! It is comforting and affirming of our identity in him, that he’s always working in the situation/person we’re praying for, but also in us. He’s so good that way!
Thank you for your honesty about your marriage. I believe it is something we all struggle with and I love that you are bringing it to light. And this just spoke to me especially and is my new prayer:
“I can confidently say in any situation, however this turns out, whether what I want really is best or whether I’m selfishly mistaken, I hand it to you, God. You alone are my rock and my salvation. You alone provide my stability and my security. I rest in you, knowing the battle is already being fought and I won’t be shaken, at least not greatly.”
Relationships are hard, but easier with God. Thankful he invites us to bring all our worries to him, then ups the ante by working in us, too. Kinda blows my mind!
Oh how many times I’ve wrestled with “God confidence vs self-confidence! Your personal story was a touching illustration of why God “isn’t into a quick fix.” Thank you for sharing.
It’s a real ‘aha’ moment to realize He has things to do in our own hearts, too! Sometimes, and I definitely believe most of the time in my own heart, a quick fix just won’t cut it. Thankful our Father is in this for the long haul!
I love the beauty of God presented in this post. After 24 years of marriage, the Lord did bring to realization that our safety and security is in Him alone. Ana I also keep a prayer journal; it is sometimes amazing to me to see the prayers that were answered without my realization
So true! Writing in a prayer journal is a huge aid in seeing Him in the details of life. So often, we can overlook the groundwork He’s laying because we’re so focused on the end result. Being able to look back and even highlight or write our former or future self a note in the margin keeps our eyes open to how thorough our God is!
I love this post. There are so many benefits to prayer… but the change in perspective is exceptionally beautiful. Thanks for telling your story and encouraging us along the way at the same time!
You’re so welcome, Cecily! I really appreciate you stopping by to read and comment! The more we find our identity in Him, the easier it is to share our mishaps and growth stories. That John 3:30, “more of Him, less of me” is really hitting home these days!