Monday, April 13, 2009

Prayer: how God changes my mind

God answered a prayer for me this weekend! It was a small, personal request that God had laid on my heart to pray about. In the process of praying for this - indeed, in order for God to work - I had to lay aside "my way" and submit to His.

When He answered my prayer, I found myself reflecting on what exactly the purpose of prayer is.

Prayer is more than a "honey-do list" for God...more than a mere submission of everything I want to happen. While Scripture does teach that God delights, as a Father, to answer our requests and give us good things, prayer is also more than that. It goes beyond a "wish-list".

It is an opportunity for our thoughts line up with God's.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.
Even as we submit our requests, we are seeking to have our thoughts changed.

When we take the time to talk to God, the Spirit has an opportunity to work in us. Have you ever prayed when you're angry? You either have to repent of the anger, or you choose to hold on to the anger, and in the process, reject the work of the Spirit of God (a dangerous choice!). As the song says, there are just two choices on the shelf: pleasing God, or pleasing self...prayer doesn't allow us to hang on to our desires - we have to surrender them!

Prayer is a chance for the Spirit to mold our desires into His own. Perhaps we begin by praying that God would remove our sickness. As we continue to beseech Him, going to His Word, praying with our Bibles open...He actually begins to change our desires. We see that sometimes God allows sickness because that IS our "good thing".
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
And maybe our prayer changes from "God, please heal me" to "God, please show me how this is your good thing for me."

So this weekend, when God answered my prayer, I sat and smiled at the irony. Had I chosen my way in that moment, He could not have answered the very prayer I'd prayed for several weeks. But when I, by the Holy Spirit's work in my heart, followed His way...He worked.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Another good post, Amanda. Thanks for sharing. :)