Prayer Changes

Posted by Scott Foster on

…one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray…" — Luke 11:1

Spiritual practices take different forms. You may remember that we explored spiritual practices during Lent using the book Celebration of Discipline from Richard Foster. All the sermons during Lent were focused on some aspect of the disciplines, practices, and what we Christians do with them.

If you’re interested, the Celebration of Discipline is a classic and always worth revisiting even if you’ve already read it. The sermons during Lent are all online here on our website, too. The series begins on Sunday, March 10 and rolls through the whole season up to Easter on April 21.

So, guess what?
One of those Disciplines is prayer.

I read Oswald Chambers every day. He’s a part of my daily devotional practice and has been for almost 2 decades.

Today’s Ozzy is one of my favorites all year long.
I’ve cut and pasted it at the bottom to save you a trip.

The quote from Luke 11 above is basically the pre-amble to Jesus teaching the disciples the “Lord’s Prayer.” There’s a church and shrine of sorts in the hills above Jerusalem in the cave where (according to tradition) Jesus taught the disciples to pray.

I’ve squatted down in that cave and prayed that prayer!
Wow! Was that awesome!
Transformative, in fact.
Powerful!

But, what’s most transformative too is that you don’t have to be in the “room where it happened” to experience the power of prayer.

Anywhere, anytime, anyplace.
Prayer changes things.
Or does it?

That’s what I love most about today’s Ozzy. I like his take on prayer. I’ve added the emphasis just for fun. Please forgive his gender references and take a minute to read it.

Like Jesus, “When you pray say…” the Lord’s Prayer.

Prayer changes everything.

Grace and Peace,
Scott

Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.

“Ask, and you will receive…” (John 16:24). We complain before God, and sometimes we are apologetic or indifferent to Him, but we actually ask Him for very few things. Yet a child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask! Our Lord said, “…unless you…become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3). Ask and God will do. Give Jesus Christ the opportunity and the room to work. The problem is that no one will ever do this until he is at his wits’ end. When a person is at his wits’ end, it no longer seems to be a cowardly thing to pray; in fact, it is the only way he can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself. Be yourself before God and present Him with your problems— the very things that have brought you to your wits’ end. But as long as you think you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.

To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature. 

— Oswald Chambers, August 28.

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