Prayer is one of the most influential spiritual tools we have to communicate to God and to change our world. The first life-changing book I read was a little book by Evelyn Christianson, “What Happens When Women Pray.” I had prayed most of my 28 years but never had I witnessed the power of prayer described in that book.
Ms. Christianson described the prayer life of four women that changed her church and her community. She made a point to quote and talk about James 5:16b “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Don’t get defeated by the “prayer of a righteous person” part. Paul tells us in Romans 3:10, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” We are all in the same boat on that one. Billy Graham or Priscilla Schirer would be in that boat with all of the rest of us, except……..
The Great Exception to the Rule!
Except for the blood of Christ. When we are in Christ, we are righteous because of Christ and his sacrifice for our sinful state. As Ms. Christianson points out though we need to stay “ ‘fessed up.” We need to acknowledge that we are sinful by nature and we slip up sometimes or often depending on the day. Confessing our sins assures us, there is nothing that hinders our relationship with God.
I have been asking God to show me those things in myself so deep rooted I don’t see them as sin or the root cause of a bigger sin like jealousy or worry. There are always hurts we have harbored since childhood that shaped who we are and how we respond or react.
I have been praying God would show me what in me is keeping me from the close relationship I want with Him. That prayer took me on an exciting journey of self-awareness and confession. I knew some insecurities were keeping me from accepting God’s love because somewhere in my life, I felt unloveable, and I have carried that thought through my life. I asked Jesus to heal me in that hurt and misinformation.
I was doing my devotions one morning and in “Restoration Year,” by John Eldredge, I read something that stopped me in my tracks.
He said, “The purpose for us being on this planet, at this moment in time, comes down to three things. To love Jesus, to let Him be Himself with us, and to allow His life to permeate ours.”
Have you ever felt oppressed? Have you ever felt controlled in every area of your life until you weren’t sure who you were anymore? I have, and so have many others, and when I came out of that relationship, I wanted to hurt and control back. One of the things I wanted to control is everyone’s thoughts and actions. I wanted to do what I felt had been done to me, and I didn’t care who I hurt or how they reacted to me. I was fortressed for anything anyone threw at me, and I could throw it right back. Not proud of it, but there it is.
What I discovered as I read that devotion is that I want everyone to act the way I think life should work, including Jesus. I had an idea of how Jesus should act in my life, and I was okay with it. We talk about “putting God in a box.” and that was what I was doing. I had spent four months examining the life or Jesus, and I thought I knew him pretty well and how he would act in my life.
Wilder Than Me
Jesus is God, and God is wilder and more everything than me. God is full of surprises if we unbind his hands to work. We think He performs miracles, but really He is just doing what He does.
So as I rest in the love of God and the beauty of his creation, I am going to unbind the hands of Jesus in my life and let Him be Himself with me and through me. The world needs to see Him as He is, not as I think He is. There is strength in knowing Jesus is working, and interceding in us and for us. God’s plan for us is perfect even when we don’t understand what we are going through.
“The prayer of a righteous person (those in Christ) is powerful and effective.” Those who are in Christ are free. The least we can do is love Him, allow Jesus the freedom to be Himself with us, and allow His life to permeate ours. Our prayers will be powerful and effective. God promised!