(Monroe sunset - 8/15/20)
I cannot change people. But, I can pray that people would change.
I can pray, e.g., that an abusive spouse would change. I can pray that God would break them in the right place, thereby giving them an invitation to change. But only God can change them.
It is a major step forward in the spiritual life to realize that God is the agent of change, not me.
This helps me focus on the changes I need.
The spiritual transformation that happens in my heart is not just for me. When God changes me, he can use me to influence people. I know this, because what I have seen happen in several people has influenced me to be better, and live better, and speak better. It is likely that one of you is among those who have helped me, as I have seen the evidence of what God has done in you.
I have seen people change. Their transformations have influenced me for the good.
Influence is more powerful than control. Control captures people from the neck up. (Thank you J.H.) Influence captures their heart.
Trying to control, or guilt-manipulate others, de-influences and distances them. More and more, I see that I can let that go.
At this point I am free to change. The transformation of my heart is in inverse proportion to my controlling demands that others change.
Sometimes God allows me to see how some other person, X, desperately needs to change. God gives me eyes to see this, so I can pray for them, not judge or critique them (which any fool can do).
Here is a way to pray for X, and their need to change.
- First, pray for more self-transformation into greater Christlikeness. Pray, "God, change my heart!"
- Second, trust that God can use what is happening in you to influence X. Pray for God to guide you in ways to relate to X (what to do, what to say).
- Third, since all change requires brokenness, pray for X to be broken in the right place. Pray, "God, change their heart!"
- Finally, pray for a fresh baptism of love towards X. For a new anointing of the love of God, manifested in and through you, towards X.