There’s a book on my living room shelves called The Prayer that Changes Everything.
Author Stormie Omartian uses this attention-grabbing title to describe a type of prayer (praise). But the name always reminds me of one specific petition that changed everything in my own life—praying “not my will, but yours be done” during my years of infertility (see here and here for the rest of that story).
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the ongoing impact of another prayer, one I incorporated into my daily quiet time when I chose my word of the year for 2015. The word was fruit, and the plea was for the fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23) to grow in me and in the lives of everyone in my home (read more about this journey here, here and here).
I didn’t see results overnight, but gradually—as I asked God to cultivate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control in my heart—I began spotting little differences here and there.
It’s been more than two years, and I’m still praying for the fruit.
The changes are cumulative, I think, and also compounding. When I ask God to make me more gentle and kind, for example, I start noticing more opportunities to be gentle and kind.
I may not respond gently or kindly every time—in fact, I can state with certainty that I do not—but I’m much more aware of the impact these traits have in my life. There are moments and interactions that show me how far I’ve come, and others that reveal how much further I have to go.
I imagine that’s how it will be as long as I’m able to think, feel and speak.
Praying for the fruit of the Spirit every day is not a magic formula for spiritual growth. Something happens when you do it, though—some divinely inspired work that I think can only be attributed to the Holy Spirit.
That’s why I call it “The Prayer that is Changing Me.”
The actual words vary from day to day, depending on what’s going on in my life and in the lives of the people around me. But the prayer always goes something like this:
Help me to feel loved and to love others today.
Strengthen me with your joy.
Guard my heart with the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Help me to be patient and kind.
Enable me to do good and to see good in everyone around me.
Help me to grow in my faith and to be faithful to do the work that you have given me to do today.
Let my actions and words be marked by gentleness.
And may I practice self control in every area of my life.
♥ LoisWhen you pray for the fruit of the Spirit every day, the changes are cumulative and compounding. Click To Tweet