Yes, I’ve heard it too, all my life: “Prayer changes things!” Except for one thing… It doesn’t, always, change things. I’ve prayed and prayed for things to change only to experience circumstances that often go unchanged and at times, get even worse. If you’re honest, I bet your experience has been the same.
Yet, at the same time, I’ve heard countless stories of circumstances changing in response to prayer: sickness healed, bills paid, relationships restored, lottery winners, etc… So what gives?
Here’s the truth: Prayer may or may not change things, but it will change you! That’s the main point of prayer anyway: to align your heart, will, and desires with God’s heart, will, and desire for you. And every time that happens, you change.
Prayer is not meant to simply temporarily change temporary circumstances on earth to our liking. Prayer is ultimately meant to bring eternally significant change to eternal beings, me and you. Circumstances are always temporary. You are forever! You are God’s greater work, not your circumstances.
Pray! When things change, great! When they don’t, it’s ok. Why? Because God is changing you, working on you, molding your will, shaping your heart, equipping your mind to be more like His Son. Maybe God wants to change you by helping you learn to trust, to wait, to focus on helping others in your own time of need, or simply to get you to come to Him with this problem you’re facing. These are the kinds of things that change us.
That’s what Paul was getting at in Philippians 4:6-7:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Notice what changes, what the promise truly is. The promise is how God will bring about change in you, your heart and mind.
So keep praying, and whether or not things change the way you want, hope, or pray, God will be changing you. And you are far more important than any “thing” you’re asking God to change.
Join us in June at The Summit for “Amen”, a 3-week series where we will look at the most famous prayer in history and discover what to pray for when we pray.