Monday, July 12, 2010

The Prayer That Changed My Life

I hope you don't mind me getting personal, but how would you describe your relationship with the Lord? Is it personal and familiar? Or is it more distant, and uncomfortable? Is Jesus simply someone you turn to when life gets tough and you need some help or is He someone you share your day-to-day life with?

Have you experienced the love of Jesus?

Has His loved changed your life?

I grew up going to church. I grew up memorizing scriptures. I grew up hearing all about Noah and the Ark, Daniel and the lions, and Jonah and the whale. I grew up knowing all about Jesus, and God, and the Holy Spirit. I grew up calling myself a Christian. It wasn't until I was in my late 20's, however, that I realized all I had attained up to this point in my life was a head knowledge of religious things. My heart was still untouched, still unchanged.

You see, even though I knew all about spiritual things, I was unchanged by them. There was no power in my Christianity. There was no passion in my walk with the Lord. I went to church because that was what you were supposed to do, not because I longed to be there. I read my Bible from time to time because I grew up knowing that was what Christians do. My time in the Word, though, was totally meaningless. I didn't understand what I read and truly, I had no desire to. I was simply going through the motions. All the time having a form of godliness, but sadly, denying the power there of. (2 Timothy 3:5) I had yet to meet the author of God's word. I had yet to be touched by the Holy Spirit. I knew about God, but I didn't truly know Him.

Then, all of this changed. In the summer of 1991, I found myself weary with religion. Was this all there was to being a Christian? Going to church, but not really wanting to be there? Reading my Bible, but not understanding a thing I read? I couldn't help thinking there had to be something more. One day, while browsing through a Christian bookstore, I came upon a small, heart-shaped sticker. On the sticker was this verse: And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13. I headed straight to the check out counter, then straight home. I found my Bible, opened the front cover, and placed the heart where this promise would the first thing I would see each and every time I opened my Bible. Then, I got down on my knees and I prayed that God would reveal Himself to me. I pleaded with Him to make Himself real in my life. I vowed to search for Him with my whole heart and to take Him up on His promise to be found when I did so.

Then, in faith, I studied God's Word and I prayed. And, I prayed and I studied God's Word.

One day, I opened my Bible to the following passage of scripture. As I read the words of Paul's prayer, I prayed it from the depth of my heart. As I did, I felt God's spirit begin to move in my heart. I felt a stirring and an understanding in my spirit. I was seeking God and He was revealing Himself to me. I was seeking and I was finding.

Today, as you read this passage, I invite you to make this prayer your own. On bended knees, with an open heart before God, seek to know Him better. Seek to truly see and know God.

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.

Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.

May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.

Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Ephesians 3:14-19 is all about falling in love with Jesus. Not just knowing about Him, but truly knowing Him. Not just loving Him, but being in love with Him. It is all about fully comprehending a love that is incomprehensible. God's love has not end. It is unconditional and knows no boundaries. Once we begin, with the help of the Holy Spirit to start to understand and grasp the depth, the height, the width and the breadth of Christ's love, we become changed. You cannot experience God's love and stay the same. We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) His love draws us deeper and deeper in love with Him. His love awakens a desire in us to know and love an intimate, personal way.

I grew up going to church. I grew up reading my Bible. I knew all the Bible stories and had memorized scriptures. Sadly, however, I had not yet experienced God's love. This prayer opened my heart to do just that. As I prayed the words of this prayer, my spirit was enlightened. I started to catch a glimpse of God's indescribable, unconditional, sacrificial love for me. I began to experience God's love in a real and personal way. This prayer began a transformation in me. By the power of the Holy Spirit, my religion began to transform into a real, vibrant, passionate relationship with Jesus!

May it do the same for you.

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