praying for change…in us


I have a brother who is six years older than me.  And Kenny got to do a lot of things that little David wanted to do but he had to wait to do…six years!  Kenny got to go to the fair with friends before David did.  Kenny got to drive before David did.  Kenny got to play football before…actually David never played football.  I tried out and the rule was no one gets cut…or rarely did anyone get cut…but I got cut.  I wasn’t very good…and that’s an understatement!  The point is I looked up to my big bro.  I wanted to do what he did.  

Do you have brothers and sisters in the faith that you look up to?  I do.  There is a friend that I have who is a dear prayer warrior and you love to be in his presence.  You joy in praying with him and you feel like he’s being heard.  Some of us have prayer warriors that we have read about.  George Muller is one of them.  He was a guy who started a lot of orphanages but he was also a prayer guy and we have much to learn from him.  One of my current favourites that was so good in getting my theology right side up was John Piper and he wrote a little book called When I Don’t Desire God and one of the chapters is entitled The Focus of Prayer in the Fight for Joy and I will be essentially ripping off his points that are so drawn from the Word of God…some principles to consider about what we ask the Father for in prayer.

The Lord’s prayer was that example given to the disciples.  It starts off this way:

…“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. (Matthew 6:9 ESV)

Right of the hop of that prayer, God’s name was lifted high.  We want God’s name lifted high in this life…or we should.  We want people to see us suffer well because of Him.  We want Him to be seen as unbelievers walk into our churches and see how love is evident.  They will know it’s not a perfect place but our prayer is that they will experience a love and oneness that they have never experienced in their lives, ever.  We so want them to think more of our God then they do of us.  We want them to see that we are satisfied in Jesus…. not in our stuff or our vaca or our job or our smokin’ hot spouse.   We want them to know that Jesus has satisfied our souls.  We have stuff and vacas and so on but they don’t rule us…Jesus does.  When they kick the tires of our lives, we want them to see Jesus more and more.  A biblical prayer would be that Jesus would be flapping high from the top of our family flag pole and the same for our local churches.  

Jesus continues on in the Lord’s prayer with:

[10] Your kingdom come,your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 ESV)

We long for that tear wiping away day yet to come, but we also want to experience a sense of God’s kingdom today.  Romans 14:17 says that righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit is something that the kingdom of God is about.  Have you ever met a believer that looked like she had been baptized in lemon juice?…if he were a cartoon character, he’d be Eeyore?  Some professing believers don’t live or think much differently than avid atheists.  And some haven’t been settled down by His peace.   Oh, that we would pray that those three characteristics from Romans 14:17 would be true and becoming more true of us.  That people would taste and see the kingdom in us.  

Luke 11:13 is another great text that can fuel your prayers.

[13] If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  (Luke 11:13 ESV)

There’s something in the first part of that verse and the verses that comes before it, that shows us that God has the perfect eye view…and that’s one of the reasons that He has the best answers to our prayers.  Being in the parenting role with my wife for over eighteen years now, we have given our daughters some pretty good gifts but we’re so sinful and God’s so holy…He knows the best gifts to give.  And we sometimes pray thinking that we know the best gifts for Him to give us and by His response, it’s like He’s saying, ‘not so much.’  He mentions that the Holy Spirit is one of the good gifts.  I take this text to mean that we can have more of the fullness of God’s Spirit available to us…that His fruit would be more evident or maturing in us (Galatians 5:22-23)…that we would be more controlled by Him and less controlled by the things of this life (Ephesians 5:18-19)…and that we would have a boldness in our witness to unbelievers with the gospel.  I love Acts 4:31:

[31] And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.(Acts 4:31 ESV)

They prayed, stuff shook, they were filled by God’s Spirit, and they got their bold on as they proclaimed Jesus.

There is no doubt in my mind that when we pray, God sometimes will change our circumstances, there’s no doubt…but in light of the texts that we used to undergird our prayers today, it was all about Him changing us…and He so loves to hear those kinds of prayers from His children.


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