Tuesday Re-mix -
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16
Step 11: We seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
[I am using these Tuesday Re-mixes for a few weeks to think (again) about addiction to self-reliance and how that addiction is one of the biggest challenges to genuine community which we face in the American church culture.]
About 18 months ago, my pastor started us on a new prayer journey. For the first several months, every morning, he wrote a meditation on the model prayer (those morning meditations have since become meditations on our current Bible study and can be found at theeverydayprayer.com). I have continued that practice, still praying the model prayer every morning. This journey has been revealing to me.
The most convicting revelation for me thus far has been this: you and I do not really believe in prayer. Not really. Not the way Jesus did. It only stands to reason that, if we really thought that prayer would change big, important things like cancer or sex trafficking or genocide or war, you and I would never stop praying. We would be praying all day and all night, because there are issues in this world which would warrant that kind of prayer…if we really thought it would make a difference, that is. But we don’t. Not really. That is why work and school and soccer games and American Idol all get larger chunks of our time and energy than does prayer. Very sad, but very true, I think.
But even if I lack a strong enough faith in the power of prayer over the world, I do at least have a strong faith that prayer changes me (the one doing the praying). That much I can say with certainty. Whether or not I believe it changes anything I pray about, it changes me. Philip Yancey, the author of Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? says that, for him, prayer is “…a kind of vision correction so that I begin to see the world more as God does.” I have come to see that, the more time I spend in genuine prayer and drawing close to Him, the more it changes me and how I see the world around me.
Here is the cool part. That little amount of faith in prayer is actually enough for our purposes! After all, in our little support group, dealing with our addiction to independence and self-reliance, all we are wanting to change is us! Do we want God to take away this addiction? Yes! But isn’t His way of doing that to “transform us by the renewing of our minds”, changing the way we think about our addiction and changing the way we see it?
I believe the process which Step 11 sets up for us is the guaranteed “continuing education” aspect of the recovery from this addiction. It assures that we are staying on a transformative path…that we are allowing God’s closeness and God’s Word to continue to wash through us and to change us.
And when we add to that what we have already uncovered about doing all of this in community…well, then the possibilities for change are virtually limitless! I can honestly say that prayer with a few close friends here and there about our struggles and our own issues has made an enormous difference in me.
What about your story? How has the process of prayer made a difference in your addiction to self-reliance?