A cheap plaster of Paris plaque, much like the one above, imprinted on my values early on. Just 2” X 3” at most, dark brown. But I believed it, tried to live it, and certainly saw it occur. Then yesterday a friend Donna posted a quote from Mother Teresa, “I used to believe that prayer changes things. Now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.”
A nice discussion followed with diverging ideas, where I said both are true, and Lyrae responded, often simultaneously. Truly, both reflect different sides of the same coin. But how does this all function? Let’s explore Mother Teresa’s claim. At the core, prayer changes us because the more we interact with God, the more we know and absorb his heart, values, and mission. How could we not be changed? In turn, that changes what we do with other people. Just one example. Our recent motorcycle trip planned to hit the Black Hills and the Badlands. But while in Salt Lake City, we learned a long-time friend had an emergency heart surgery scheduled, so we changed our itinerary and headed to Kalispell, MT. Our prayers had changed us, and we changed things. We surprised Prudy at the hospital the day before her surgery, which blessed her.
But prayer also changes things we cannot. We gathered around the bed and asked God to guide the doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and all the team who would do the surgery. We could do nothing for them but pray. It went well, and just two days ago she headed home. Because of the prayers? I don’t know, honestly. But this next verse makes a connection between how prayer effects change.
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). The more we allow God to change us, in part through our prayers, the more powerful our prayers are in changing things we cannot control.
To sum up. Prayer works. Well. Powerfully. It changes our hearts and actions. It changes the world around us. So, how are we doing?
Kick Starting the Application
Realize that the questions I’ll present are from a flawed individual who doesn’t make prayer as significant in his life as he should. I’ve found a lot of my posts have me as the primary audience. So please accept them as a fellow struggler with prayer.
How big a role does prayer play in your life? 5 minutes a day? An hour? A regular interaction with God as you walk through life? If prayer changes us and things, are you an effective change agent? Regardless of where you now are, how can you improve in this area? What keeps you from changing the prayer in your life?