Prayer Changes Me, Not Them!
“I will also put a new spirit in you to change your way of thinking. I will…give you a tender, human heart.’
Ezekiel 36:26 (ERV)
‘change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by [personal] desires. Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness.’ Ephesians 4:22-24 (CEB)
Dear Prosperity Partners and Friends,
I pray that all is well with you and all that concerns you. I am praying the Prayer of Faith and the Prayer of Serenity even as I type these words. I am grateful that prayer has anchored me in God’s Omnipresence as I steadily affirm God’s presence and power everywhere for everyone. Let’s continue to live steadfast in God’s presence, acknowledging that God’s plan of love, peace and harmony cannot be thwarted.
On Sunday, we prayed Reinhold Niebuhr’s, Prayer of Serenity, that reminds us that prayers work on the ‘inside’ of the one who prays. Yes, the prayers you pray are for you. The changes you make are for you. The good you do are for you. While others may benefit, all that you do is really for you. You are answering an urge in your own soul to express in outward ways, what resides within you.
When we pray, something is happening within us that can only bless us and others, too. Prayer helps us to ‘accept’ the things that are out of our control, and it gives us the
courage to ‘take action’ on that which is ‘begging to be changed.’ You see, there are some cycles of life that are finished, and it is best to ‘go another way’, leaving what ‘was’ in the past. When we linger where we do not belong, we get entangled in all manner of situations that don’t belong to us. So, we pray to leave those places that have served their purpose. In faith, we turn our attention toward the horizon of a new experience.
In the meantime, we pray. We pray because even if there is not outer sign of change. We know that change is happening. We are not deceived by life’s appearances. Be reminded that:
- We can change even if the situation doesn’t. Change may appear as: • Diminished fears
The fear that seemed to conquer us, loses its power over us. We are no longer afraid. (See 2 Timothy 1:7)
- Increase in our Faith and Confidence levels
The faith and confidence that appeared absent from us, begins to engulf us as we pray in the silence of our soul. (See Isaiah 30:15)
- Release when forgiveness is not yet an option
In the book, Before You Pray, Forgive, author Dr. Mary Tumpkin reminds us that when forgiveness seems too hard, there is another option available us. We can pray for the courage to release the situation, the person, the outcome, and loosen the hold that the situation has had on you. Release! (Colossians 3:13)
- Receptivity to new possibilities
As we pray and release, we find that God’s will of absolute good for us has not changed. It never will. In receptivity, our eyes are open, and we catch a glimpse of new possibilities that have been available to us all along. With eyes to see them, we are now able to pursue them. (See Psalm 119:13)
- The Prayer of Serenity reminds us that our prayers give us the courage to ‘accept’ what won’t change, and to be a ‘change agent’ for what is begging to be changed.
- Queen Esther was unconcerned and clueless, but she prayed. (See Esther 4)
The queen was afraid when her Uncle Mordecai suggested that she act to thwart Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews in Persia. She formed a prayer group that prayed with her for 3 days. Then she courageously moved into action, inspired by a God idea. Let’s follow the queen’s example and ask others to join us in prayer.
- Sampson was blinded, but he prayed. (See Judges 16)
Forgetting God’s call on his life, Sampson, found himself weak in the lap of a Philistine woman. He prayed and his strength was rejuvenated after doing so. Sampson then destroyed that which previously gave him pleasure.
- Jesus was betrayed by a trusted friend, but he prayed. (See Matthew 26)
Instead of attempting to change Judas, Jesus invited Judas to ‘carry out’ the plot against him. Jesus later retreated to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He didn’t pray about Judas, but about himself and God’s will for him.
Our attempts to change others is an unwise investment of our time and effort. The better investment is to change YOU. Change your perspective. Ask: Is there another way to interpret what I am seeing? Ask: Where can I go from here? Ask: Does this mean the answer is ‘no’ or does this mean that the goal will be accomplished in another way, by another means and in a different time? Such questions assist us to clarify our thinking and feeling. As we continue to pray, our options become clearer and clearer. We are guided in the action that is right for us.
Let’s pray: Lord, help me to change what must change. Help me to accept what is not mine to change. Guide me so that I know the difference between the two. Amen.
Prayer Insight: ‘When things don’t change, we can change. Unless we change, there can be no change, in us or in the situation.’ Sheila McKeithen