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I have a list of people I pray for every day. I pray for my own walk with God and also for my family and others.

Recently, a thought came to me as I was involved in intercessory prayer (praying for others). I was praying for God to help an individual with certain habits and temptations and lifestyle choices, and for God to give strength and courage and good decision-making. And then it hit me! Wouldn’t all of these “symptoms” disappear if the person I was praying for were converted? I don’t mean converted in the general, washed-out sense that people often think of it. I mean converted as in totally surrendered to Jesus. I recalled the words of an elderly woman in my home church who once said, “We often pray for God to fix this or that when we really need to just pray that they will become like Jesus.” 

Isn’t that the truth? That’s it! We can pray for all of the details and I’m sure that God is happy to listen to our concerns and to even answer some of those requests. I’ve seen him do it, in fact.  But surely what God is waiting for the most is for us to pray for these loved ones (and ourselves) to become like Jesus!

Jesus Changes Everything 

Have you ever noticed that when a person becomes truly converted they naturally become more considerate? Of course they do. Why wouldn’t they? They have Jesus living in them! They can’t help it! And when a person becomes like Jesus, they begin to think like Jesus, talk like Jesus, and use their time like Jesus. Jesus changes everything! When he comes in to heal our sin, our symptoms disappear. We are transformed from the inside out, not from the outside in.

So, when we are burdened by the choices that a loved one may be taking and we find ourselves praying for this symptom or that symptom, let’s remember that the answer to all of those problems is in the fervent prayer to be transformed into the character of Jesus.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

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By Gwen Simmons. Copyright © 2006 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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