< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: How does prayer change those who pray?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

How does prayer change those who pray?

Below is more from my Sunday School lesson Growing Your Soul based on the book by Neil B. Wiseman. It's a little long, so I will continue tomorrow.

Someone once wrote, “prayer is a dangerous business – you could wind up being changed” Well, authentic prayer does change the person praying. A lifetime of prayer involves us in a continuous remolding process.

- Prayer unchains us from old habits of feeling, thinking and acting. Genuine prayer gives us surprising insights, corrects false assumptions, questions past distortions in our beliefs about things and helps us better see God’s big picture.

- Prayer can also be a voyage of inner discovery. Sometimes its like looking thru a microscope and seeing a detail more closely – other times its like looking thru binoculars and again – seeing the big picture – seeing a little bit more how things look to God. The author says prayer is absolutely necessary for those who wish to make sense of the world within ourselves, without and beyond.

- Prayer shapes us into Christ likeness – becoming like Christ is the highest human pursuit. Always has been – still is. Prayer opens us to God so he can restore us into what He intended when He first created us. Jesus prayed in every situation. If we do that too the outcome is not what we receive, but what we become. Prayer shatters our arrogance, it reminds us we are dependent on God for: food, oxygen, the sun.

But, when the capable, but overly dependent people pray God may tell them, “Get up and go answer your own prayer, that ones something you can do.”

When an impulsive person prays they may get a “not yet” answer. And those who pray in self-pity sometimes experience a deafening silence, indicating how preposterous their complaints sound to God. Prayer is constantly changing and guiding the prayee.

By making us more like Christ it teaches us to sacrifice rather than grab, to love rather than lust, to give rather than take, to pursue truth rather than promise lies, and to humble oneself rather than inflate the ego. All of which is a significant answer to prayer itself.

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