Are Prayers Really Meant To Change Things?

This past weekend I was privileged to go with my wife to see the recently released movie War Room. I’m not going to give a review of the film in this particular blog. However, what I want to do is to discuss one specific thing in light of having seen the film. One thing I loved about War Room is that it not only gave me some great appreciation for things like prayer and relationships, it also enabled me and my wife to really think more strategically in how we do things in relationship to how we pray.

Image Credit: Freely

Image Credit: Freely

As I began to reflect on the movie, something kept ringing in my mind. It is the well-known phrase that many people say in regards to prayer. It’s that “prayer changes things”. While I in one sense agree with that statement and believe that to be a true statement, I also believe that more importantly, prayer does one key thing, which enables prayer to “change things”. It changes us.

In watching the movie War Room, the principle character Elizabeth Jordan, played by Priscilla Shirer is faced with a troubled marriage. While on the outside it might seem that she has a great life as a loving wife who sells real estate to earn extra income­­, with a husband who is a major pharmaceutical sales rep, and a young daughter who has a passion for Double Dutch jump roping; the reality is that life is falling apart as she and her husband can really not stand to be in the same room for long without an argument starting.

The encounter that Elizabeth has with an elderly woman named Miss Clara, played by Karen Abercrombie, turns her world right side up as she is introduced to a strategic way to engage in battle with her true enemy in marriage.

As Miss Clara introduces Elizabeth to her war room and the ministry of strategic prayer, you truly begin to see that it is not merely the act of prayer that changed the situations that she was facing, but it was actually Elizabeth who began to change, and through those changes that she began to make in how she both looked at her situation and how she engaged her interactions with what she was facing, they became the catalyst for changing things in her life.

I can recall when I became hungrier for God in my mid-twenties, my prayer life changed in how I prayed. It’s not that I didn’t have a working knowledge of prayer, but my view of prayer was different, and so my results were not as they eventually became. That was until someone close to me helped me to come to the understanding that it wasn’t necessarily that things change, but rather it is us who change, which enables things to change around us.

As I began to pray for answers and directions, I began to see how my perspectives, my attitudes, and my interactions with others changed. It’s true what they say. You teach others how to treat you. As I began to treat others differently, they had no choice but to treat me according to how I changed in treating them. That little shift began to change things around me.

This too was the case for Elizabeth. As she began to do her battling in her prayer closet/war room, she began to change how she interacted with her husband and others around her. Those subtle shifts were the beginnings of the turnaround for her and her family. So I truly believe that more so than prayer being something that is meant to change things in our lives, prayer is meant to change us, which becomes the door of opportunity to enable things to change.

Our nation and the world is facing some great challenges. With that in mind, it behooves many of us to change how we are praying about and for it. As we begin to change how we are praying for our nation and the world, it will no doubt begin to shift or perspectives of the world, as well as how we will begin to interact with it.

If we are truly becoming, or at the very least desiring to love and live as Christ lived and loved the world, we will pray as Jesus prayed, view the world as he viewed the world, and engage the world as he engaged it. Our world will not see real change until we are willing to change how we pray. Let’s change the world by changing how we pray.

QUESTION: Do you believe prayer is meant to change things or does it change us?

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