Prayer Changes Hearts
This post can also be found on FEBC Gospel Blog
"Prayer is taking time to let God recreate us, play with us, touch us as an artist who is making a sculpture, a painting, or a piece of music with our lives." (Don Postema)
Sometimes, when I really take time to ponder the thought of being able to talk to the God who breathed life into being, I cannot fathom the mystery and wonder of it all. He cares when I can't find my car keys, or the dog throws up on the white duvet or I spill coffee all over myself on the way to an important appointment. Every detail matters to him. Even in the ugly moments of dirty looks, compulsive sighing and complaining and eye rolling he somehow takes it all and creates music with our lives. He takes the stupid "wish I could take it back" moments of our day and reshapes us, transforms us and makes us want to do life differently the next day. At the end of the day, I whisper "Jesus we need to talk," and he comes with grace filling the room and connects to my heart.
Prayer is simply talking things over God, It is honest and vulnerable. When I don't pray, I become agitated, restless, perpetually frustrated and self-absorbed. I stop caring about the hearts of others around me. I become frazzled and hurried and life becomes a terrible bore. Pray recalibrates my heart to the things of heaven.
Prayer is also about being vulnerable to one another. It is honest sharing, which is risky business. Exposing our hearts to another feels uncomfortable and unsettling at times. It is easier to hide, but hiding contaminates our souls. We long to be fully known and accepted by our friends, yet to be fully known we must be vulnerable. Theologian Henri Nouwen says, "when I ask myself who helps me most, my answer is that it is the one who is willing to share his or her life with me" (Life of the Beloved p. 113). Sharing our time, our hearts, our prayers and our life with one another are gifts we can give away each day.
Christmas is just around the corner, my favourite time of year. I was up at Chapters this week and bought Ann Voskamps new book, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas. Although it is meant to be read during advent, I couldn't help but immerse myself in it as soon as I got home. In it, she talks about sharing ourselves as gifts to others. "The greatest present is His presence and the greatest present you always have to give is His presence--looking into someone's eyes as you listen, refusing the wrong of rushing, lingering long enough to really listen--to everything." (p. 42) During our prayer time, God unwraps his love to us without holding back and then, as we are filled up with his love, we can't help but touch others around us with that same love. Without resting in His presence daily, we will only be shrivelled up versions of who he intended us to be.
A few thoughts to ponder: What can you do today to touch someone's life? How can you take greater steps toward vulnerablity? Can you share something hard with someone you trust so that your heart can be healed? Can you take time to pour your heart out to God so he can touch all the broken places and restore you?