I know there are displays of God’s power, where he steps in and works his magic and water becomes wine, sightless eyes see, and tumors disappear into thin air.  But I cannot solely base my prayer life on God changing each difficul…t circumstance (even when it’s heartbreaking) into something that is powdered and perfumed at all times.  That is the prayer life of a greedy toddler that doesn’t know any better than to demand his own way.  There are still moments (alone in my car or while riding my bike between the beautiful rows of corn in Indiana) that I pitch a fit just like the greedy toddler, in hopes that I’ll wear God down – that I’ll change his mind.

But most of the time I accept that life is messy, even though we are constantly doing our best to clean it up, which is a good thing.  Though sometimes we think the cleaning should come without the hard work of sifting, straightening, scrubbing and sanitizing.  Usually if things (in us) are going to be fixed, we have to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of being transformed, which is painful.  But if we stop cleaning – if we allow ourselves to remain the greedy toddler, we walk away from the hard work of “becoming” and allow our souls to atrophy.  Our beautiful scars get covered up and our purpose, calling, or ambition to be used for the good of humanity is plucked from our hands.

I fully admit, the hard work gets to me after a while.  I don’t usually worry about working up a sweat anymore – I’m good with that.  But at times, I feel as though I’m sweating blood…and worse, not really getting anywhere.  Why is it that in those moments I’m almost always looking up, looking for God?  Hoping that he sees the blood.  That he’ll make sense of it.  That somehow, someday, he’ll honor it.  Not by giving me a crown or sparing me the next difficulty Life brings my way, but instead, by esteeming me.  By saying, “Well done.  I’m proud of you.  You really are something.”

I can’t explain this something in my spirit that still reaches for him even when I’m angry.  That although I’m fully aware of his ability to intercept my pain and change my circumstance from water into wine, I long for what my spirit knows is good, and for the writer of that goodness.  So I will continue reaching – I will continue “becoming.”

“To say that ‘prayer changes things’ is not as close to the truth as saying, ‘Prayer changes me, and then I change things.’ God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.” – Oswald Chambers, from My Utmost for His Highest

What do YOU think?

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