I've spent a lot of time over the past several years studying prayer.
For anyone who really knows me, you know I’m sort of a ‘city’ girl. I love high heels, convertibles, and copious amounts of mascara. You know, girly stuff.
As a child, my best friend Cindy’s family lived in the ‘country’ and had livestock. I could barely stomach walking down to the pasture while Cindy had to feed the cows. It was dirty, usually a little muddy, and kind of stinky.
Fast forward 30 years and my father now has cattle. But here’s the deal, I love them. I found myself volunteering to go with him when he fed them. I even bottle fed one of his calves in which the mother had abandoned.
Now did the cows change? NO! They are dirty, the pasture usually muddy, and they too, are stinky.
So what changed?
You see a couple of years ago, my prayers changed. As God began really working in my heart, I realized that I didn’t know anything. And because I no longer knew anything, I no longer knew what to pray.
As I sat in Bible studies and Sunday School classes, and I heard the various prayer requests for specific outcomes, I found myself unable to pray.
I was stumped.
These were good people with pure hearts petitioning to God. Wouldn’t it make sense to just pray for what they requested?
Each time I started to pray for their request, the Holy Spirit would stop me. What was going on? Aren’t we supposed to pray for one another?
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The answer I got was, “Yes, but….”
And that was when my prayers took a drastic turn. Instead of praying God would produce a specific outcome for them, my prayer became, “God, please answer this request so that they know You more. Grant them peace and mercy to accept your answer.”
The change in my prayers wasn’t limited to others. My personal prayers took on a different tone as well.
My prayer became, “Dear God, change the desires of my heart to match Yours, and then grant me the desires of my heart.”
So back to my newfound love of livestock and dirt and four-wheel-drive vehicles. None of these things inherently changed, and to be clear, I didn’t change myself; God changed my heart.
He planted new desires in my heart and granted them to me.
While I don’t personally have cattle, I do have a dozen chickens, five fainting goats, and two precious, protective great Pyrenees. They are dirty, usually muddy, and kind of stinky; and I love them.
Though I’m not completely clear as to how God will use these new desires of my heart for His glory, I do know He’s used them to teach me spiritual lessons.
All of the changes in my heart ultimately led to starting Rockenbaugh Mountain Revival... and creating rockthis.org. It's been overwhelming how good our God is. And it all started with PRAYER.
Ultimately the desires of our heart should draw us closer to Him, so we know His character, so we can serve Him completely.
“In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalms 18:6