We’re having a second bite at this topic: developing a healthy prayer life by praying in such a way as to be confident God will act. Part one is here.
It can be hard to change your mind. My wife and I were raised with different perspectives on many things. One that threatened to cause a divorce in the earlier years of our marriage was the right way to peel vegetables. With a peeler that peeled away from you, or a peeler that peeled towards you? We settled on a compromise. We have our own peelers. Mine peels away from the body (the correct way, of course), and hers peels towards the body (false doctrine if ever I saw it). Joking apart, some attitudes do not need changing. But some do. It’s going to be hard to have a healthy prayer life if we go into our times of prayer without a willingness to change our hearts and our minds.
In last week’s article, we focussed on the idea, summed up in the quote from Spurgeon, that, “Prayer is the slender nerve that moveth the muscles of omnipotence.”. How should we pray? Our first insight was to see that, 1. Prayer is satisfying when God is who we are seeking. What of our second insight? It is this.
Prayer is satisfying when we are willing to be changed
I’m not sure if prayer always changes God’s mind (he is sovereign after all), but I am sure it changes mine. Consider the example of Jesus. He prayed in Gethsemane for his will to be in line with God’s – “Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mk 14.36. He was changed and strengthened (enabled to go through with the crucifixion) “because of his reverent submission.” (Heb 5:7)
How do we do this? I suggest three steps:
- Ask for the right heart. “Grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalms 51:12 NIV11)
- Consciously commit the issues to God. “Commit your way to the Lord;” (Psalms 37:5 NIV11)
- Trust God that the outcome will be best for the kingdom, and for you. “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.” (Psalms 25:1 NIV11)
Charles Finney wrote, “prayer produces a change in us that makes it fitting for God to do what would not have been fitting otherwise.” In other words, we’re kidding ourselves if we think that God will act when we’re not prepared to be involved. We cannot be detached from what we’re praying about. In praying for something, I’m effectively saying, “I’m ready to be involved in seeing that prayer answered with whatever I can do.” Let’s be sure that we’re willing to be changed and used by God.
We’ll look at a final point in one more article next week.
Questions: What stands in the way of you being willing to do God’s will? Is there anything you know He is asking of you that you are resisting? What is at the root of the problem? Do you have some tactics for dealing with these challenges that have worked for you? What will you do differently in your next prayer time? Leave a comment in the comment section below.
Audio of this post can be found here.