DOES PRAYER REALLY CHANGE THINGS?
I’ve been taking so many things to the Lord in prayer lately. Dreams of a homeschool resource centre near our home. Concerns over the future of our country. Elections that will determine the course of a nation for generations. A desire to see my children “walking in the Truth.” Maybe it’s the fact that I have a five-year-old and two grandsons, but the way the culture is heading has me concerned for their futures, too. The obvious spiritual decline in our churches and moral decay of the culture have become a point of regular conversation between me and God in recent months. More prayer! By the way, it’s worth noting that my prayers are not always so high-minded. I routinely ask God to help me with the laundry, too. It’s easy to lose sight of the eternal significance that is found in the oh-so-daily tasks of life when bigger things that are totally out of my control feel, somehow, more pressing. Dishes, laundry, clean up, prepare meals, repeat. Pray again. Begin again. Perhaps you know what I mean. This morning, I had a chance to steal a rare moment of quiet in our busy household. I took it—opening up my bedroom windows to better appreciate the sound of the rain as it hit the roof and cascaded into the gutters. Listening to the first real rain of the season is soul-watering for this native Oregonian. As the cool air filled my room, I noticed an old paperback by C.S. Lewis was sitting almost half-off of the bookshelf by my desk. After thumbing through “The Grand Miracle and Other Selected Essays…” I was drawn to an essay titled “Work and Prayer.” Lewis opens his short piece with this statement: Even if I grant your point and admit that answers to prayer are theoretically possible, I shall still think they are infinitely improbable. I don’t think it at all likely that God requires the ill-informed (and contradictory) advice of us humans as to how to run the world. If He is all-wise, as you say He is, doesn’t He know already what is best? And if He is all-good, won’t He do it whether we pray or not? The argument Lewis makes in his essay is powerful. He asserts that while God could predetermine every aspect of our lives, and while He certainly does not need our help … He chooses to let us have access to Him through prayer. Praying to our Creator offers “small creatures” like me the dignity of being able to contribute to the course of events around us. In other words: through prayer, we are able to modify the course of history. Imagine it! The One who made the rain is, by His own decision, willing to let us bring our concerns to Him. He listens as if to say, “let’s talk about it in my study.” We can sway the course of events around us through our prayers. Isn’t it amazing? We are heard by the One who made us every time we call His name. If we’re concerned enough to bring it to Him, the Bible says He bends down to listen. Do you want to change the course of human history? Do you want to see revival and healing and miracles … and run your laundry through with a smile? Take C.S. Lewis’ advice and meet Him in His study. Take it to the Lord in prayer. And then—we’ll see.