Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Social Consequences of Prayer

Red Admiral butterfly on our lilac tree.

To pray, in solitude before God, is to enter into the furnace of spiritual transformation. We get refined in the practice of praying. Spend much time praying with God and you will be changed. in this sense to pray is to change. Prayer has, as James Houston says, transforming power.

In much prayer God morphs our heart into greater and greater Christlikeness. One major way we are changed is in how we love God and others. I agree with Houston when he writes: "We pray to a God who loves the world, and so our prayers will be false if we do not respond by loving other people as well as loving God." Irregardless of the various styles of prayer,  "prayer should always have the same social consequences: That we love others and love God more sincerely." (Houston, The Transforming Power of Prayer: Deepening Your Friendship with God, 54) 

This may be one reason why some Christians do not have a prayer life; viz., they do not want to give up their hatred of others. If such hatred is there God will, while we are praying, address this in us. In the presence of God no oxygen exists that would fuel the flames of hatred.

My main prayer for the last 2-3 years remains: "God, change my heart to be a more loving heart, a heart like Your's."