Prayer Changes Things

Prayer Changes Things

Prayer changes things, right?  But who do you pray to, when, where, and about what?  Do those things make a difference?  As usual, man's ideas about these things are just about opposite to God's ideas, at least mine typically are.  Let's see if that is the case here.


Adam was used to hearing God's voice and enjoying God's presence, until Adam made his first bad choice.  God did all things for Adam's benefit.  After Adam failed his first choice and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God drove him out of the garden so he wouldn't eat of the tree of life and live forever.  But that bad choice had serious consequences.  Man ate the fruit and died:

  • immediately in his spirit
  • gradually throughout his physical life time in his soul (mind, will, and emotions), and
  • eventually in his body 

God drove Adam out of the garden so he would not eat of the tree of life and live forever under the consequences of choosing his own way over choosing God's way.  Talking with God became harder.  It now had to begin with admission and confession of sin.  "I chose wrong.  I picked my way over your way.  I am more sorry for my bad choice that broke trust with You, disrespected You, and doubted You, even than for the severe consequences my choice brought me.  I now know that you always have my best interest at heart, even when I do not understand.  In the future I will trust you with my life and my choices, seeking Your will and Your ways rather than my own."


So payer now involves restoration of fellowship with God.  Adam MIGHT have taken his communion with God for granted.  We should not do so because restoration is gut-wrenching work.  If you doubt this please read David's experience with this in Psalm 51.  True restoration leads to a new appreciation of God and His great compassion and wisdom toward us, somewhat akin to Mark Twain's description of how much smarter his Dad became as the son finally grew up and matured.  Another such picture of God is the father of the prodigal son patiently waiting until his son would wise up, come to his senses, and choose to return to his father. 


Such understanding of God and of praying with Him is of course most appropriate at any time.  For example the return of the prodigal son was "none too soon."  And God is so patient to listen to us talk or ask about anything that He places on our heart.  But what really changes when we pray?  Typically we may start out with our ideas, but if we really place ourselves under the control of God's Spirit He will guide us along routes and paths we did not anticipate.  When our prayers are successful it is ourselves that are changed.  Our sovereign God may choose to grant our petition and change circumstances, but more often He may leave circumstances unchanged in order to help us change and grow up in Him to appreciate Him more. 


When we arise from prayer changed more into His image and attitude, our prayer is successful, and vice versa.  Recall that God wants to change our body, soul, and spirit.  Such changes progress through our prayer and worship, from our spirit, to our soul, and finally to our body.  "With His stripes we are healed." 

James 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.


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