How to Pray - How to Change Yourself Through Simple Prayer

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How to Pray - How to Change Yourself Through Simple Prayer

Here is how to change yourself through simple prayer. In fact, I recently discovered that collectively we spend $9.6 billion a year on “self-help”. Why are so many of us seeking to change us? Why is it so hard to do? Here’s where real help comes from...

Tags: how to pray, Spirit, David, Exodus, how to change yourself


Like so many others, I am a bit of an addict of self-improvement. In fact, I tend to believe that many of the core principles of Christianity challenge us to walk this path.

Also like many others, I tend to find that achieving the actual change I want in me is difficult. It seems somewhat out of reach to transform myself with the proverbial “flip of a switch” as I would prefer.

That being said, I have come to understand that I was missing a key piece in the puzzle of creating changes in me I so deeply desired.

I want to share this with you today in the hopes it will help you, too…

The Problem with Change


It’s no secret. It is difficult to change. Have you ever wondered why?

We are intelligent, thoughtful people with the ability to problem-solve so many aspects of our lives. And yet, we find ourselves so caught up in bad habits and routine (and sin, quite frankly), that actually transforming into who we want to be… who Jesus has called us to be, seems impossible at times.

Even the great Saint Paul, writer of 13 books of the New Testament, in the Book of Romans notes,”I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15)

The truth is, much of our resistance to change for the better is a consequence of “The Fall”, or the “Original Sin” that is innate in our hearts at the time of our birth.

Unfortunately, we are innately programmed to pursue selfish desires that frequently create destruction in our relationships with God, others, and ourselves.

The Solution for Change


What would it look like without this problem? In what ways would it be different if you were actually able to change yourself in ways that were both immediate AND lasting?

Imagine that one particular addiction or recurrent sin in your life going away like the flip of a switch today, never to consume your mind or behaviors again, as long as you live. Can you feel the freedom that replaces it?

Does it sound impossible?

Do you remember what God says about the impossible? You can move mountains! (See Mark 11:23-24)

Do you really believe at your core that all things are possible through Jesus, who gives us strength? (Phillipians 4:13)

The Achievement of Change


And that brings us to our practical conclusion…

We have recognized the difficulty of human nature to become the change we want to become, largely due to innate human nature. We have understood that we have a God that is all powerful and ready and willing for us to channel His power in our lives in the ways we would desire in our walks with Christ.

Here is what you can do to achieve the changes in self you so deeply desire....

For most or all of your prayers offered to God, directly ask Him to “change your heart” to become who you are striving to become…”

This prayer request has multiple characteristics that support the healthy transformation you seek.

First, inherent in this request is an acknowledgement that we have limited power in actually driving the change we want. This is consistent with our innate "Original Sin".

Second, this request honors our Father by putting us in His intended posture with Him. Specifically, we humbly acknowledge that God is sovereign and reigns over all things, including the details of our lives. When we pray this way, we recognize His role as King of our lives with all other things subservient to His will.

Third, we give God the opportunity to reveal His goodness and blessings He has in store for us. Once we achieve the change we have so deeply requested, we can give praise and thanks to God for His role in helping us get there.

In the Bible...


Now I'd like to share a few insights from the Bible with regard to turning over our "self-help" in prayer to the Lord. I will start with a few insights from the Old Testament.

In the epic story that was Moses' challenging the highest leader in the world, Pharaoh, to free the Israelites, there is an interesting bit of text that has always struck me. Specifically, you will find moments where God "hardened" Pharaoh's heart from freeing his slaves (e.g., Exodus 10:1, Exodus 11:10). Of course, the consequences of a hardened heart were additional plagues that ravaged the land and the people of Egypt.

I have viewed this as evidence that God can exert control over my own heart. When I see the need to do so, I directly ask for His power to "change my heart's desires".

NOTE: If you're wondering why God would CAUSE such destruction, just consider the greater emphasis on the size of the task of freeing the Israelites as well as the greater glory due to God after 10 plagues instead of one...

Additionally in the Old Testament, David cries out in Psalm 51:10 - “Create in me a clean heart, O Lord; and renew a right Spirit within me” - acknowledging God’s role in driving his attitudes and consequent behaviors, and offering that in prayer to the Lord.

This is a great memory verse that is short and can be applied to many facets of our daily lives. I have internalized this as a prayer that I use frequently in moments of anger, frustration, impatience, and more.

In the New Testament, there is much written about the role of the Spirit within us. The Spirit drives righteous attitudes and behaviors. When it fills us, we walk closely in the ways Jesus has instructed us. Here are a couple of specific examples.

First, in the early Church, we find the Spirit enabling the first Christians to "speak in tongues" (Acts 2:4). Of course, this would be uncommon in our lives, but it is an illustration of how the Spirit can intervene and control us.

Perhaps more profoundly for our own purposes, we have Romans 8:27: ”And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

In particular, note the last half of this verse: ...“because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

This is the key action step that I encourage you to build into your regular prayer routine. Ask God and God’s Spirit to fill you with the ability to become the change you want to become.

Conclusion


We have discussed the root of our difficulty to change. We have considered the power we have available to us through God’s promises. Finally, we have committed ourselves to asking God directly to have His Spirit CHANGE us in whatever ways we are currently seeking… both quickly and permanently!

I pray that you find positive transformation in applying this aspect in your routine prayer. Please share your success in the comments section below...

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