With all the turmoil in our world today, it is easy to feel discouraged and overwhelmed. Many of us turn to prayer when the going gets tough and that is a great place to begin. However, we need to take a second look at how we are praying. Too often we focus on changing others, changing the people we work or live with, changing our leaders in government or in church. Instead, we need to take another approach.
Instead of asking God to change everything around us, we need to ask Him to change us. We need His wisdom to see our life as He sees it. When we pray, we need to ask the Lord to lead and guide us that we might find the purpose for which He has made us. Furthermore, we need to ask for His will to be done and not ours. Too often, due to our sin nature, we think the problems we face are someone else's fault. If they would change, then we could be happy. Certainly, we can ask God to work in another person's life for His glory and purpose, but we must also remember that we may need a change in our attitude and thinking as well.
According to the Bible, sin has utterly corrupted our thoughts, words and deeds. In the Garden of Eden, man was like a pure glass of water. However, man allowed Satan to put one drop of poison in the cup, and the water became corrupt. That is how we are affected by sin. When we come to Christ, we begin a journey of sanctification which will be complete when we see Him face to face in heaven. Until then, we struggle with sin which wants to pull us back to our old habits and perspectives. Living in a fallen world with all its temptations does not make the journey easy but this is where prayer comes in as well as a study of God's Word. Scripture tells us in Romans 12:2: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Talking with our Lord each day...throughout the day....brings a change of heart and mind like nothing else can do.
God's desire and plan for us is to be conformed to the image of His dear Son that we might glorify Him. With this in mind, we need to be asking God to change our way of looking at others, our job, our church, our community and even our government. By all means, we should and must pray for those around us, but we also need to keep in mind that we are a work in progress too. I confess some of this is hard to understand because God's ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. This is where we must trust Him and the work He is doing in our lives.
Mickey Evans (a Pastor now in glory with the Lord) started a ministry at Dunklin Memorial Camp. He reached out to those with life controlling problems that were breaking up families. He reminded people in his care about "The Bombshell Theory". It goes like this: We cannot change another person by any direct action on our part. We can only change ourselves and others tend to change as they see the change in us." This change in our lives is a powerful witness to God's grace through Jesus Christ. This is why we need to cry out to God, "Lord change me!" Then we need to say confidently, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". It is not "my" will be done.
Even if God came and changed our circumstances and all the people around us, we still would not be happy. Until we allow Him to work in us by prayer and His Word, we will never know the contentment we can have as we walk through this world. Begin today and ask the Lord to change your outlook and understanding that we might be ready to bring glory to His name. Selah!