How to Pray for Real Change

At my son’s cancer check up, we rolled into the parking lot at the same time as another family. They had two kids. We had two kids. I looked over at them and thought, “The race is on.”

You see, my son had back-to-back appointments all day, and we were already running late for the first one. Checking in before these people could mean smooth sailing, but if they beat us, it would be a day of delays and frustration.

I smiled as we went by, hoping they didn’t notice the break-neck speed at which I was walking. My arms pumped and my vision locked in on the elevator just ahead. It was so close that I could practically touch it, when my son tugged on my coat, “Mommy, I forgot my book in the car.”

I looked down at him. Then I looked at the other family — shutting their doors and heading to the elevator. I knew if we went back for the book, they would beat us. They would be first.

But there was no way I could sentence my son to a day of hospital boredom without his book so, of course, we went back. And, of course, these people checked in before us. They heard the words “the doctor will see you now” while we sat on stiff couches and waited impatiently for our own summons.

But as I waited, a Bible verse popped into my head. A pesky, convicting little verse:

“So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16)

And the thought struck me — what gives me the right to think we should go before these people? Surely they had a full day ahead of them too — filled with appointments and destinations. What made me think I deserved to go first?

Humility is hard.

I want to be humble, the way Jesus taught us with His life. I desire it. But it’s such a struggle, and so many times I fail.

So lately I’ve been praying about it. After all, God is the source of all good things, humility included.

6 tips for how to pray when you truly long to see a change in your life

This is how I pray for humility:

1. Choose Scripture. I start by choosing a short passage of Scripture. Then I sit in my favorite blue recliner with my favorite blue blanket. (It’s important to be comfortable, so I’m not distracted by bodily discomforts during my prayer time.)

2. Opening Prayer. I open with a prayer to the Holy Spirit, begging God to fill my heart with His Spirit and kindle in me the fire of His love.

3. Read Scripture. Then I read the Scripture I’ve selected slowly. The passage usually isn’t very long. If a verse or part of the story catches my attention, I read it again. Sometimes I read the entire passage again.

4. Sit in Silence. Next I sit in silence and soak up God’s love for me. Sometimes I think about the passage, especially the parts that struck me while reading. l pay attention to my feelings or thoughts in reaction to the Scripture and ponder how God might be using it to teach me something in my own life.

5. Journal. Then I write. My prayer journal is nothing fancy — just a notebook. I write down what I thought about during my prayer time. I write how I felt, what’s going on in my life, and how this applies. I write down what I hear God speaking to me.

6. Closing Prayer. When I’m done, if I remember, I close with a formal prayer that I’ve learned at church. But, more often than not, I close with an informal prayer of gratitude, simply speaking the words on my heart, in joy and thanksgiving for the time I’ve spent at God’s feet.

Through prayer, God has been helping me to see more clearly the times when I lack humility. He has opened my eyes, so I can more easily cooperate with Him as he molds me into the person He created me to be.

If you feel Jesus calling you into a time of prayer and growth, consider taking the 7-Day Prayer Challenge. For seven days you’ll get a free video that will guide you through your prayer time from opening prayer to Scripture, silence to journaling.

The 7-Day Prayer Challenge will simplify your prayer time so you can keep your focus where it belongs — on Jesus. Click here to get started: 7-Day Prayer Challenge.

full headshot 2Jenni DeWitt is a fun-loving contemplative who is discovering the value of rest and silent prayer in the midst of this rushed society. She is the author of two books — Forty Days and Why Won’t God Talk to Me? Jenni lives in Nebraska with her husband and two young sons. She loves to help people in their daily prayer time at Genuflected.com.

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