Praying For Change

 Praying for Change

Jessica Witmer March 6, 2014

When I was a little girl, my parents taught me one of life’s most important lessons: prayer changes things.  I grew up witnessing this truth time and time again.  I saw prayer change all kinds of things:  it improved health, it fattened the checkbook, and it most definitely changed people.

That is why I am not surprised to see such enormous change happening in the world today.  Change is occurring at an unprecedented rate: in political spheres, in economic spheres, and in religious and spiritual thought across the board.  Ideological structures are changing across every arena of life.  And I am not at all surprised.  After all, isn’t that what we all prayed for?

When we toured our house several years ago, it was love at first site.  Everything about the house was perfect, except for one thing:  the kitchen.  It was too small and it was badly outdated.  We bought the house anyway and for five years, secretly, I prayed for a change!

Then, last summer we were surprised to discover that there was a hidden mold growing behind the kitchen walls.  It had been growing undetected for so long that there was no easy way to correct the problem.  The kitchen had to be totally renovated!

While I was initially delighted in this turn of events, I was totally unprepared for what an enormous task the remodel turned out to be.  The old drywall had to be torn down.  The old flooring had to be torn up and thrown away. The mold had to be carefully removed without damaging the permanent structures of the house.  During the demolition phase of the remodel, it seemed like there would be nothing left of my original kitchen.  We lived for what seemed like years with the bare necessities while I washed dishes in the bathtub.  I must admit, there were times I almost reached my breaking point! 

I was so relieved when the new drywall finally went up.  And then another month or two went by before the new cabinets arrived.  After they were installed, we covered them with plywood while we waited for the custom countertops to be made.  Each part of the renovation took time.  And a great deal of patience.  But somehow we all survived and, when all was said and done, the results were worth it!

That experience taught me firsthand how uncomfortable renovations can be.  And, whether we like or not, there is a renovation happening in the world.  Old paradigms are being shaken, old ideologies are being evaluated.  Ideological “mold” is being carefully stripped away.  And while we’re in the middle of it, it can feel like we’re being stretched to the breaking point.  But….I wonder.…isn’t this the change we all prayed for?

Consider the following: 

“Lord, change my heart”…. “Let me see the way you see, God”….. “Let your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven” …. “Not my will but your will be done” ….. “Let there be peace upon the earth”….and so on.

These are beautiful prayers and I have no doubt that most of us pray them with sincerity.  However, I wonder….did we all count the cost?  For instance, what would it really look like if God changed our hearts?  Would see start to feel differently?  Would we start to think differently?  Or…what would happen if the kingdom of God really did start to manifest on earth?  Would that affect our political sphere?  Or our economic sphere?  Our religious paradigms?  Or…what would the world look like if we could really see it through God’s eyes? 

I suspect that seeing the world through God’s eyes for only a moment would change us immensely.  It may even change us so much that it we would be motivated to renovate our entire lives…and maybe even the entire world.  So maybe the change we’re experiencing is sort of like my kitchen remodel.  It’s like a messy renovation that’s going to lead to a glorious new world.  Uncomfortable?  Yes.  Messy.  Yes.  Challenging?  Most definitely.  But we asked for it and we’re getting it – so let’s try to keep the end in mind…it’s going to be worth it!