“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.”
Some years ago I began praying for my nation. Maybe you have prayed these words as well:
“Father, bring truth.
Reveal every hidden thing.
Let Your Kingdom come.”
Every time I said those words, however, I had this nagging feeling that I was not only praying it for my nation but over myself. You see, if God is going to reveal truth, if He is going to bring justice and righteousness to the earth, none of us is exempt from His refining fires. While we may have someone else in mind when we think of who needs to change and get right with God, He knows the deep cracks and crevices of every heart.
Change starts on the inside, not out there on some distant platform or through some tenuous committee. It doesn’t even start with the person standing next to you. Change – real change – starts at the core of your being; it starts when you encounter the One who created you and you can no longer stand any essence of yourself that varies from His holiness.
All those issues we ignore in ourselves but underscore in others – pride, envy, selfishness, greed, impatience, anger, dishonesty – His fire will reveal and consume in each one of us without exception.
All those secrets we think are forgotten or hidden deep enough to maintain our current life, His Light will expose so they no longer have room to grow and undermine His Life living through us.
That’s what a prayer for change – a prayer for justice and truth – will do. You will get what you ask for, starting with you. He will come so close that you not only feel His breath as He speaks words of love and comfort, but also the fire of His holiness as He purifies your thoughts and intentions.
I can say from experience, the refining fire isn’t easy. It’s real. It’s brutally honest. It’s painful. But the results are very exciting: When you ask for truth and justice no matter the cost, when you let the Holy Spirit speak exactly what He wants to you and you still press further into His chest, something powerful happens. You begin to see yourself as you truly are – both the beauty and the sin – and you experience God for who He truly is.
Your Creator. Your King. Your Savior. Your Healer. Your Beloved. Your Friend.
In ways deeper than you could ever imagine He becomes your grace. Your courage. Your hope. Your freedom. Your joy. Your peace.
And then you start see others the way He sees them, in the reality of their pain, torment, fear, and loneliness. You see weary, hurting, confused people, but through the lens of His love and hope. When you and I stop pointing at all the things out there that need to change and realize that the real change needs to happen in our own heart, our own actions, words, and life – that’s when God is able to do great things.
Ephesians 3:20 says that when His power is working in you, He is able to carry out His purposes and do far above all that you could ever dream or hope for. Now that’s exciting!
Don’t get discouraged about circumstances that look impossible. Let the Holy Spirit do the impossible in you. Then He can do the impossible through you. He is the change we all need.
To get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.