How Everything Changes When You Seek God's Face
Author: Daniel Henderson
Bethany House Publishers, 2011, 220 pp. ISBN 978-0-7642-0851-5
The traditional impression of prayer meeting is that of a quick Bible study, endless discussion about the people and circumstances surrounding the prayer requests and then a guilty: “Oh, we’re almost out of time, we’d better pray!”
Although he is quick to reassure us that our requests are important to God, in Transforming Prayer Daniel Henderson is equally quick to point out that prayer begins long before the requests are mentioned and that it needs to start with a recognition of who God has revealed himself to be. He writes: “Worship-based prayer seeks the face of God before the hand of God…I have learned that if all we ever do is seek God’s hand, we may miss his face; but if we seek his face, he will be glad to open his hand and satisfy the deepest desires of our hearts…Worship-based prayer ignites a desire for spiritual intimacy and personal transformation” (pg. 27).
The bottom line, says Henderson, is that we can never expect to see revival until transformational prayer takes place, and the prayer that transforms is prayer that seeks God before it seeks what God can do. Scattered throughout the book are testimonies by people whose lives were changed as they changed their prayer habits to focus on God first.
Where gatherings for prayer are not already extinct, prayer is often treated, Henderson says, as a “leftover,” casually and selfishly. I was particularly struck by this statement, a quote from James Walker: “We spend more prayer energy trying to keep sick Christians out of heaven than trying to keep lost people out of hell” (pg. 79). He points out that when our prayers begin with a proper focus on God, our requests become more focused on God’s priorities rather than ours.
Henderson leads his readers through the steps that need to be taken to produce worship-based prayer. Prayer times are attached to the Word of God, and spontaneous prayer becomes a combination of Scripture, singing and prayer. With the focus on Scripture, we allow God to start the conversation and to bring us into line with his purposes and will.
Transforming Prayer gives ample instruction on how to facilitate worship-based prayer. There are pages of suggestions and steps to follow, but never does Henderson stray from the urgency of his message that believers need to get serious about seeking God’s face and allowing the Spirit of God to change their lives.
“…If I were the devil, I would use my best deceptive tools to keep Christians from praying in transforming ways—and especially to keep them from praying together. I would keep them busy and isolated from one another. I would do everything possible to keep them distracted and disinterested in biblical, balanced, revival-style prayer gatherings” (pg. 194).
Transforming Prayer is a powerful motivational tool for getting Christ’s church back down on its knees and on the road to a revival that we so desperately need.