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.