What Prayer Is: An Invitation for Change

I’m picking up the pieces of the series on prayer that I started almost half-a-year ago. (See also: parts one, one-and-a-half, two, and three.) Also: NGYN’s been around for almost half-a-year, wow!

People pray for a lot of reasons (I talked about some of them in a previous post): to worship God and give thanks, to seek His will, or to ask for any infinite number of things. We pray some thing will happen (or not happen). That we’ll finally understand the reason some thing already happened. Or that God will provide us with some thing: money to put food on the table, a better place to live, a new job, or someone with which to spend our lives.

If your intention is right (and by right, I mean Christ-centered), I believe God will honor prayers for things. But I think by praying for stuff, or for stuff to happen, we miss out on something powerful: the opportunity to ask God to change us.

  • Instead of praying for a new job, ask God to motivate you to become the kind of person that companies want to hire.
  • Instead of praying for more money, ask God to show you how to better manage your finances.
  • Instead of praying that John or Jane Doe would accept Christ, ask God to use you to lead them to salvation.
  • Instead of praying that God would bless your five-year plan and make it come true, ask Him to show you opportunities to build his Kingdom.

Praying this way takes a lot of trust. We essentially have to put our money where our mouth is and admit/accept that God’s plan for us is probably better than our own. By extension, it also means admitting we may have been on the wrong track for a long time. That’s okay. Corrections will never be any easier or less painful than they are today.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

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