Jun 15, 2020 • Written by Elizabeth Nejedlo
Change Begins in Us
Our prayers move the heart of God.
Did you know that?
Sometimes those prayers come out of a difficult season. Some of those prayers are born out of poor decisions we have made, out of trials we are suffering, or out of circumstances within or around us. Some prayers end up blooming out of important lessons. Prayers that help train us and build faith that could not be built quite the same under other circumstances.
These prayers not only move the heart of God. They change us.
And there is not one of us that cannot be changed.
Yes, discipline, training, trials, they are painful, oftentimes VERY painful. But what happens when we turn to a Mighty God, from our stubbornness or out of a painful situation, is change; a change that glorifies our Father, our Creator, our Teacher.
Let's look at Manasseh, in 2 Chronicles 33, who became king when he was twelve years old and “did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (33:2). I think it is probably safe to say that our list of transgressions aren't quite like his…
- he erected altars to the pagan idol Baal
- he bowed down and worshiped the starry hosts, and actually built temples to them inside the Lord's Temple
- he rebuilt the high places that his father had demolished
- he sacrificed his own children in the fire
- he practiced divination and witchcraft
- he led the people of Judah astray, so much so, that they ended up doing more evil than the nations that went up against the Israelites - you know, the nations God had destroyed.
Now, we might not be sacrificing our children or practicing witchcraft, but we certainly do sin at times. Often, we can have our own "idols" and sometimes we can be like Manasseh in this regard:
When God spoke to Manasseh and the people of Judah, they didn't listen.
Sometimes we don't listen either.
So, what did God do? He brought up Assyria against them. The commanders took Manasseh prisoner. They put a hook in his nose. They shackled him. They took him to Babylon.
And there in his captivity and his distress, Manasseh sought God's favor. The Bible tells us Manasseh humbled himself before God and prayed.
And his prayers moved the heart of God.
Manasseh's prayers - prayers from a man who murdered his own children, who openly and defiantly brought idols into the Lord's Temple, who led God's people into sin - those prayers moved the heart of God.
And Manasseh changed.
He was eventually brought back to Jerusalem. He then got rid of all the foreign gods, removed the idols from the Temple, rebuilt the wall, restored the altar of the Lord, began offering fellowship and thank offerings, and told Judah to serve the Lord.
Trials, suffering, discipline, they all led Manasseh to seek God, humble himself, and pray. They do the same for us. And in those seasons, our prayers - though sometimes we may feel they go unheard - DO move the heart of God. Prayers, prayed in humility, start to change US. As we begin to take down our own idols, we restore fellowship with Jesus, we build up our faith, we place our identity in Christ, we see others as image bearers of God, we start to serve the Lord, and allow our hearts to break for what breaks HIS.
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but it does produce a harvest. A harvest that brings righteousness and peace for those who allow themselves to be trained by it.
Whatever season you’re in, whatever trials you are facing, whatever suffering is knocking at your door, whether it is happening to you or around you, there is a lesson that can be born out of it. Will you allow the training to begin? Will you allow it to humble you? Will you fall to your knees in prayer?
Today, let's take a moment to reflect with humility and move the heart of God with our prayers.
Together let’s change, starting with our own hearts.