That's All It Takes?
This morning I was talking with some folks about the neighborhood our church is located in, and the type of ministry we’re doing there. Since our church is in a high-poverty community, a lot of the discussion was about the specific challenges and needs the folks in our congregation face, and the hopes we have of being able to minister to those needs. At one point in the conversation, one of the folks asked, “How do you plan to get all of this done?” I told her that the biggest thing we’re doing is praying. She seemed a bit surprised with that answer, and said, “I know praying's important, but how can just praying make it happen?”
That was a good question, and it got me thinking about what prayer really does. There are a lot of different answers to that question, but what came to my mind first is that prayer doesn't change God's mind - it changes ours. Here’s why I say that: when we consistently bring requests before God, it helps us recognize the source of all of our blessings. At the same time, through prayer we draw closer to God, and we let Him imprint His will on us. So while our circumstances might not change dramatically, our perspective does - and we're better able to serve God with joy.
Philippians 4:6-7 puts it like this: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” What a great reminder that whatever challenges we’re facing, when we pray and set our hearts and minds on God, we can have peace that whatever His plans are for us, we will be ok.
So do we have to work, and make plans, and actively try and get things done? Of course. But we do all of that with the truth of Proverbs 16:9 firmly in our minds: “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”
So today, no matter what challenges we may be facing, let’s keep praying. Let’s continue to come before God, share our concerns with Him and let Him impress Himself on us. Then let’s welcome His peace so that no matter what happens in our lives, we will be able to serve Him with joy.