I'd like to think I'm an expert pray-er. I can clearly see how my prayers changed things. For example, I have three little kids—not birthed from me—running around my house who are examples of that. Yet the way that my prayers changed the future is different than you think.
God is not a genie in a bottle. My prayers weren't effective because I figured out the right words to make God do what I want to do. I used to think that. As a young Christian I'd try all sorts of things:
- praying in the morning
- praying at night
- praying on my knees
- praying out loud
- journaling my prayers
I wouldn't admit it out loud, but I believed deep down if I said the right things, at the right time, in the right way, that God could be swayed.
What I've since discovered is God has good plans for my life. He has hopes for me and a future. And the number-one thing that changes when I pray . . . is me. Prayer opens up the connection between me and God. Prayer softens my heart to His will.
My prayers change the future because as I connect with Him, I'm willing to submit my will to His. As as I submit and walk in His ways . . . my future is different than the path I would have taken myself on in my own according. And the future is changed.
Prayer changes the future because:
- I connect with God.
- I submit my will to His.
- I walk in His ways—not the ones I try to figure out.
I have dozens of examples of this, but I'll quickly share one: adoption. Around 2000, I started praying for God to give me His heart. Soon I became interested in adopting. God tells us so many times to care for the widows and orphans.
My husband wasn't on board, so I continued to pray (not nag). In 2007, John brought up the idea to me (yes!), and we filled out paperwork to adopt from China.
By the time we submitted our paperwork in 2008, the adoption Chinese program changed drastically, and the opportunity to adopt a healthy baby girl was no longer an option. By 2009, when I discovered I'd not have a Chinese baby anytime soon (or ever), I was crushed. I cried (I'll admit it), but I also pray for God's will.
“Lord, give us the child YOU desire. I know you placed adoption on my heart for a reason.”
I'm telling the complete truth when I say that the very day I relinquished my will, I received a phone call about a birth mom looking for a home for her baby. March 2010, Alyssa joined out family—a nine-pound bundle of joy.
Even after bringing Alyssa home, I continued to pray for God's will. (Lord, are there more children that you have for us?)
In 2012 Bella and Casey joined our home from the foster care system. I love my children! I could't imagine life without them. More than that, I know God placed adoption on my heart for a reason; it just didn't look the way I thought.
Prayer changed the future because:
- I connected with God, and I discovered His heart.
- I submitted my will to His, and I relinquished myself to His path.
- I walked in His ways, . . . and He led me where I never expected.
Today, consider changing your future forever.
God has good plans for your life. He knows you'll only be willing to step out into the future when your heart is changed through prayer.
As you submit yourself to His heart and His will, expect to walk down paths different than you ever expected. Also expect to have a partner in the journey. God—yes, the God of the universe!—will be stepping out in front of you along the way.
For you today,