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Monday, January 11, 2010

Prayer Changes Things

I'll admit that lately I've struggled with that concept. Actually more with my own ponderings that 'Well, God has it all decided and prayer is all well and good...but those repetitious prayers...what's the point? I mean really..."
You know the prayers I'm talking about. The prayers for the salvation of a loved one who seems perfectly content in their path that does not include or recognize their need for a Savior even after decades of exposure to Christ, the prayers for mended relationships over which you have no control and they seem utterly hopeless anyways, the prayers for direction in private matters that have plagued for months, or even years.
Years ago I read a book called "What Happens When Women Pray" by Evelyn Christenson and it radically changed my view on prayer, or rather I might say it formed it. I had always heard prayer was good and proper and all, but frankly it was a tad sketchy and nebulous. The book not only discussed prayer- but it began at it's roots with the verse "The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. " (James 5:16b) The premise being that one must remove many things from their heart before they are properly positioned for effective prayer. (I have not read the book in years so I am going off of memory here.) So that is where I started.
My husband and I were travelling this past weekend and I was reading a book aloud to him as he drove. (Habits of the Mind by James W. Sire) The author made a connection that I had not in years of hearing a certain parable. The parable is the one of the widow and the unjust judge found in Luke 18:1-8.
The short version is that an unjust judge kept hearing from the widow on a matter, and finally after much beseeching on her part he relented and granted her a judgement. His reasons were not altruistic- he was just tired of being bothered! Jesus makes the correlation that just as the judge (who didn't really care a whit) decided to change how he did things due to the widows requests- so the God who loves us immensely can and will- change His determinations. I never could reconcile the points in the Old Testament where God seemingly changed his mind such as the many times Moses sought to 'bargin' with Him. I think I get it now. It's not so much an issue of God changing his mind, or being 'willy-nilly'. His changing what He said he was going to do is Mercy personified- for our good and His glory. We don't deserve it, but yet He grants it. Amazing.

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