VOLUME VII, Number 14
Prayer Changes Me
In the 2003 movie Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey portrays a television reporter named Bruce Nolan. Bruce is a man who constantly complains about God. At one point he complains that, “God is a mean kid sitting on an anthill with a magnifying glass, and I'm the ant. He could fix my life in five minutes if He wanted to, but He'd rather burn off my feelers and watch me squirm.”
God (played by Morgan Freeman) confronts Bruce and says, “You've been doing a lot of complaining about me, Bruce. Quite frankly, I'm tired of it.” To prove to Bruce that He knows what He’s doing, God offers to let Bruce try to run the world in His place. Feeling confident he is up to the task, Bruce excitedly accepts. He soon realizes, however, the enormity and complexity of God’s work, particularly in answering prayers. In one scene, Bruce is so overwhelmed at the amount of prayers he has to answer, that he has them all put into a database and answers “Yes” to every one. As a result, over 400,000 people get the winning lottery numbers, but they only win $17.00 each.
Intellectually we all understand that God cannot say yes to every request we bring before Him, but I imagine many of us have wondered why he doesn’t say yes more often. We have difficulty understanding why some people seem to have their prayers answered, but when we pray for the same thing, heaven seems silent. We wonder, “Does prayer really change things?” Yes, it most certainly does! But it might not always bring the change we are expecting.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." Jesus' initial request was not granted but the ultimate desire of His heart was. God's will was done. And His own heart was prepared for what would follow because He submitting Himself to God's will ahead of time. He went from "deeply sorrowful" to accepting of His circumstances. God cannot say yes to every request, but desiring His will before our own changes the most important thing ... us!