What difference does prayer make?
I have been wrestling with God over some issues and have found in this a hunger to know Him more intimately and to learn to pray more effectively. I believe this journey started a few years ago when I heard Bishop Sandy Millar speak and I was struck by this prayer he prayed from 2 Corinthians 13:14 (MSG): “The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.”
Because of God’s amazing grace and Jesus’ extravagant love, we can have an intimate friendship with the Holy Spirit. God is not distant. He does not close His ears. He is willing, wanting and waiting to enter into an intimate relationship with each of us. I have found that it is in persistent prayer that this intimacy develops. I had been bringing Him my requests and my struggles and hoping He would change the circumstances or change other people, but instead He is transforming me.
Philip Yancey in his book Prayer, Does it Make any Difference, says, “Persistent prayer keeps bringing God and me together, with several important benefits. As I pour out my soul to God, I get it off my chest, so to speak, unloading some of my burden to One who can handle it better. … Persistent prayer changes me by helping me see the world and my life, through God’s eyes. As the relationship progresses I realise that God has a clearer picture of what I need than I do.”
I am learning a lot about God and a lot about me as I continue to struggle. Isn’t that what Jacob found too? (Gen 32) Yancey says, “The real value of persistent prayer is not so much that we get what we want as that we become the person we should.”
As I change my prayers are changing. Rather than praying so much for circumstances and people to change, I pray that that God would give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation that I may know Him better. As I know Him better I can see exactly what it is He is calling me to do. (Eph 1:15-19)
I pray that you too may know a deepening intimate friendship with the Holy Spirit.