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Change Me

May. 6, 2011

“I don’t pray so that I can change God. I pray so that God can change me.”

C.S. Lewis said these words years ago, but I have been thinking about them more recently. In this season of the year when many have participated in the National Day of Prayer in the United States, the question that comes to my mind is:  “Why do I pray?” Yes, prayer changes things. Yes, Jesus teaches us how to pray in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” Yes, I understand the admonishment that some things only happen through prayer and fasting.

But the question remains: Why do you pray? Is prayer something we do out of duty or because someone told us to?  Do we pray because we think it will get us something?  Do we only talk to our friends or family when we need something from them?  Or have you ever had a moment in life when all you could do is pray, pouring out the innermost cries of your heart before the Lord?

Jesus is always right. Even Lewis is right with his sentiment on prayer. Prayer changes things. I for one, want my prayers directed to God so they will change me. After all, prayer is a conversation with the Master, isn’t it?  Prayer is listening as well as speaking. So, how does prayer change us?  Let me suggest a few ways:

  • Prayer changes hearts.
  • Prayer changes minds.
  • Prayer changes actions.
  • Prayer changes lifestyles.
  • Prayer changes attitudes
  • Prayer changes perspectives.
  • Prayer changes demeanors.
  • Prayer changes points of view.
  • Prayer changes futures.
  • Prayer changes directions.

All that to say, prayer changes everything!  And instead of praying for everyone and everything else to change through our petitions to God, it is high time we pray that God changes us. Nations need God’s change. Circumstances need God’s change. Schools and universities need God’s change. Churches need God’s change. Everything and everyone needs God’s change.

That includes me. It includes you. Join me in prayer today and everyday – “Lord Jesus, change me. Amen.”

–Dr. Jim Dunn is the General Director of Spiritual Formation.

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Earlier I had put up a post about the upcoming Kairos Torch weekend at KJCC and  I wanted to share a little how the weekend went.

Dustin and myself participated in the weekend. Dustin helped with what is called Agape. It’s really cool because people all over the world are praying for the young men that are there, and they send in posters they make, cards, etc. Also, there is a paper prayer chain that gets made where each link represents 20 minutes of prayer for the weekend that various people had committed to. The Agape team made a prayer chain with 584 links in it. Throughout the weekend these kind of visual reminders get brought out to where the young men are, and by the end the walls are filled. It really amazes them to see how much people on the “outs” are taking the time to pray for them. Also, the Agape team puts together a special bag for them that includes a really nice Bible, and letters that volunteers from the weekend have written them.

I had the privilege of leading the music for the weekend and it went really well. I had 10 songs that I took in with me, and they were able to learn those songs and really connect with them. They really liked “He Reigns” by the Newsboys, Hold Us Together by Matt Maher, and of course the theme song for the weekend which was “He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker.

Another song that ended up being really cool was “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman. On the first night, one of the other volunteers, Abe, had done a rap he wrote, and just led it without music up front, and it was the coolest. The chorus of the rap talked about walking through the valley of the shadow of death, and totally went with the “You Never Let Go” song. So the next morning, I went up to Abe and said, “Hey, I’ll have you come up on the mic, and after the pre-chorus, you go right into the chorus of your rap” We had no idea how it might fit, but amazingly it fit together perfectly. I even just played through the same chords and played rhythmically along with what he was rapping, and when I hit the last chord of the pre-chorus it flowed right into the chorus of “You Never Let Go”. I guess you had to be there, but it was really cool.

There were some things I learned about how worship and worship of God through music draws us together. I’ve seen this before at the weekends, but it was really evident this time to see the young men  and the volunteers really unite through the worship of God in singing together. You see the participants singing on Friday night and then by Sunday afternoon everyone is singing with arms around each other, swaying back and forth, just really relishing it. Without preaching a sermon about it, I think the young men really saw what being united in Christ meant. I think most of them didn’t want it to end, and I know a few that wanted Christ in their lives right there, and they met Him there.

The participants are into their first week of mentoring with the volunteers, so every Thursday night they get to meet with the people that they were with over the weekend, and it is going great so far. Please keep these young men in your prayers along with the volunteers that are so passionate about this ministry.

Billy Graham, Charles Stanley… I’m sure there are more that I can’t think of right now. Both awesome preachers that a lot of people have grown up listening to.

Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler… Maybe some preachers that you haven’t heard of, but for my generation, these are our heavy hitters, our Stanley’s, the guys we are downloading onto our ipods.

For those that like to listen to those sermons, (and I am one of them) you should check out http://www.wesleyansermons.com, there is some good stuff on there from some of the best and brightest we have. I’ll put a Steve DeNeff or Jim Dunn sermon up there anyday with those guys. Take  a listen!

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