Kevin Roose is an atheist studying at Brown, who decided to use his study abroad semester in order to attend Liberty University. By living among the evangelical students, he began to notice the way his life was being changed.
The next day, I’m on the phone with my friend Einat, a lovable Jewish girl in my class at Brown. Einat mentions that she’s taking a trip to Israel next week, and the Middle East being what it is, she’s getting antsy about her safety.
“I’ll pray for you,” I say.
There’s a long pause on the other end of the line. Like all of my other secular friends, Einat has never heard me talk about prayer. I picture her gaping, open-mouthed, into the phone.
“Sorry,” I say.
“No, no, it’s okay,” says Einat. “That’s sweet of you. A little weird, but sweet.”
I couldn’t help it. I decided about a week ago that since I was getting so much out of my prayer chapel sessions with Zipper, I ought to start praying on my own. So I did, and I think I may have gotten a little out of control.
What opened the door for me was a conversation I had with Pastor Seth. During last week’s breakfast discipleship meeting, I brought up prayer. I told him I still had a bunch of questions about the practice. Like, how does it work? Do prayers actually change God’s mind? If so, then why do so many prayers go unanswered? Why does Liberty’s football team lose any games? Why is the dining hall food still terrible? And if prayer doesn’t change God’s mind, why do we pray at all?
Pastor Seth smile.
“First,” he said, “I want you to think about it this way: God is our father, and we are his children. How would you feel if your children didn’t talk to you? A relationship with God isn’t a one-way street. God wants us to ask for things, even if he already knows what’s going to happen. We have to supplicate, to put ourselves in his will.”
His second point was even better. “Prayer may not always be entirely about God,” he said. Here, Pastor Seth quoted the famous Christian author Oswald Chambers who wrote: ‘It is not so true that prayer changes things as that prayer changes me and I change things.”
“Praying at all times in the Spirit with all prayer and supplication.”
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
“[Pray] also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it, as I ought to speak.”
- Why should we pray? Why is prayer a difficult thing to do?
- What are ways that you can remain in Christ and allow his words to remain in you?
- How has prayer changed you? How have you then changed things?
- An ambassador is someone who lives among people in order to represent another authority. Who is an ambassador for Christ in your life? Do you pray for them?
- Who could you be an ambassador for?