Posts Tagged ‘Prayer Changes Me’

pray that was easy

Have you ever thought about prayer … in the midst of it?

Have you ever been at a meeting, a small group, a dinner table, a church service and felt the weight of all that you (or others) were bringing to prayer?

Have you ever lifted your head, after that short, goal-oriented point of the meeting, the small group, the dinner table, the church service and felt like you (and others) had just not done the prayer requests justice? That you had just not felt the weight of what you were laying at God’s feet long enough to allow that request to change, to alter you … your soul … just a little bit?

Have you ever wanted to simply shout out :

“we take more time to describe our prayer praises and requests than we do praying!”

Prayer is not a checklist, not simply a mandatory start and finish to a meeting, a meal, a small group. Prayer is about allowing the God of the universe to reign in our hearts, in our lives, and our allowing Him to have dominion over us in totality … whether in want or in plenty.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about how Prayer Changes Me., and quoted C. S. Lewis, who said of prayer, “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”

It is not that we pray so as to change the mind of God, as though he is some sort of puppeteer moving our bodies and our lives as if we are inanimate objects. We pray, so that our minds, our hearts become more in tune to the will of God, so that His will becomes our will … so that His plans become our plans. Prayer is the practice of changing the heart of the one who is praying, towards the heart of the one being prayed to.

“Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out. Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.” James 5:13-16

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C. S. Lewis said, of prayer, “I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.”

If you read my blog post yesterday (Something is not Right) you might be wondering how my father’s surgery went. It went just great, thanks. And if you sent a note, or prayed for him, the surgeon, the medical staff, our family … thanks so very much.

As the hours minutes of his surgery crept by, my own understanding of prayer haunted me. I agree with C.S. Lewis. I too believe that prayer is not a means of changing God, but of changing me. And, although I hold firmly to that belief, praying for my dad’s surgery to go well (aka. to go as I want it to), while acknowledging that God’s bigger picture perspective might not mean a successful surgery, or repaired body, or … another day.

Then there was my disappointment yesterday when, after hours of asking God to enable me to pray for and with my dad on the phone (it is just not the sort of thing that we do), I called to discover that he had a houseful of people there. So, I called back later, only to discover that he was already sleeping (a four hour time difference often results in this). I had missed my chance, and felt so heavy with disappointment in myself.

But, here is where God answered my prayers, just not as I had ‘planned’ that He would. Apparently a business colleague who he has developed a friendship with, called him that day, and … prayed with and for him on the phone.

Prayer changes me, it does not change God.

How arrogant of me to think that I am the only one who could give that gift to my dad! How could I ever forget that, as much as I love my dad, God loves him far more?

If I do not believe that the purpose of prayer is to change me, where would I be? Would my prayer requests that go unanswered the way I wish mean that I did not pray enough? Or with enough faith? Or with the my heart in the right place? Or maybe someone else was praying ‘harder’ than me? Yikes!

God is not my sugar daddy, who lays all of my requests at my feet. He is my creator, my sustainer, my redeemer. And, He is my teacher, who teaches me to pray, and then to allow Him to be God, as I am changed in the process.

“I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.” C. S. Lewis Carole

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