In the film about CS Lewis's life,
, Lewis played by Anthony Hopkins says, "I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God. It changes me.” While Lewis himself never said this, I don't think he would disagree. There are a lot of reasons to pray. Sadly, many of us only pray to ask God for things like peace and comfort during trying times or for material things during lean times. This isn't necessarily wrong, after all our Lord taught us to ask God for our daily bread. But the quote from
clearly doesn’t carry that perspective. It’s a great quote that even states something that too many people miss. At the end it speaks about prayer changing us, not God. Taking this a bit further, I've heard it said that prayer doesn’t change things, but people, and people change things.
We live in a world in need of change. When we prayer, "Thy kingdom come..." it implies that we are working toward that end. How does prayer change us into people who change things?
In one of Lewis's actual works,
Letters to Malcolm Chiefly on Prayer
, he says, “We must lay before Him what is in us, not what ought to be in us.” When we lay ourselves, as we are, before God something happens. The Changeless One gets to work. We, who are "wearied by the changes and chances of this life," find rest and transformation. We are strengthened in prayer to make a change, to make a difference, to live not for ourselves but for a world in need. We pray for our individual growth to lean into God's calling on our individual lives, but I think as we are changed, we are drawn more and more into the mission of the church.
Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you
through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him,
that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope
of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
This prayer For the Mission of the Church from the
Book of Common Prayer
invites us to rely upon God's inspiration as we are transformed into His witnesses. It charges us with the task of proclaiming in our lives --our words and actions-- the power of God's forgiveness and the hope that Christ's resurrection affords us. We live in a world in need of change. At CSMSG, we have been busy about this work locally in many ways, but the church spans the globe and Christians everywhere have been engaging in kingdom work in their various contexts. As many of you know, we have a partnership with a ministry in Nicaragua. We received a recent
outlining their situation, and it seems that indeed we need to pray for them. Today in the Anglican cycle of prayer we are invited to pray for the diocese Northern Argentina and Nicholas their bishop as well as the diocese of Awori (Nigeria) and Akin, their bishop. We join in prayer with the faithful around the world and together we are changed for the sake of the world.