It Matters What We Think
Prayer for June 14, 2017 Dear Jesus, You asked the Pharisees when you perceived their thoughts, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?” Help us to avoid embracing evil thoughts. (Matthew 9.4)
First I want to thank you all for your support during The 40 Days of Lent and The 50 Days After Easter. Your feedback was extremely inspirational. I hope these devotionals helped us to see that God does care what we allow our minds to ingest. In fact—our bodies—made in God’s image—are the real temples of this world. Now I am not saying buildings are unnecessary; just that we need to care for every body so we do not destroy the most important temples God creates to bless this world.
When Dianne Martin and I shaped the Pray. Act. Pray Again. series, we were trying to encourage a continuous conversation with God. When I reread the book of Acts, and wrote devotionals for The 50 Days series, I was struck by how important being a healing presence for others was to Jesus and his disciples. If we truly work to “Let God’s Divine Healing Work Through US,” we will focus on how we care for both our own bodies and that of our neighbors. So here is the thing that I feel God is placing on my heart this day: can we understand that prayer is not an optional action we might “use occasionally” for us to maintain good health personally? Can we see that the health of the entire community earnestly requires God’s Divine Guidance?
Paul Markham has written a wonderful dissertation that addresses how a relationship with God helps us both spiritually and neurologically. Listen his explanation of how conversion works on the human mind:
“The definition of Christian conversion that I offer is constituted by four salient features: I claim that (1) Christian conversion is a process involving normal human biological capacities. (2) It is characterized by a change in socio-moral attitude and behavior, and (3) is best understood as the acquisition of virtues intrinsic to Christian faith. Such acquisitions are facilitated through social interaction and participation in practices inherent to the Christian community. (4) Furthermore, the conversion process should be viewed as the co-operant result of Divine grace and human participation.”
What is happening in our country right now is extremely divisive, and too many people are seeing evil in each other rather than looking for points of connection. Once our minds get stuck in hate, it is difficult to embrace love. My prayer is that we can Let God’s Divine Healing Work Through US, and that we will let God lead us out of this horrible addiction to attacking each other through our words, actions, and thoughts. For the next few weeks I will focus on what I am learning about how prayer affects our brains and allows us to create the space needed in our lives that leads to a peace beyond intellectual understanding. I welcome any inspirations that you might want to share. Modern science is beginning to see that prayer and meditation are not without value—however, as Markham asserts Divine grace requires human participation. Praying and listening to the Holy Spirit’s prompting requires actions. Any action God prescribes will be based in loving. Will we take the time to stop, pray, act, and keep the conversation with God and each other going?
Prayer Recap: Dear Lord, as a popular movie once said—“evil is easy to sell.” Help us to embrace love in the face of hate. Help us to pray for those who hate us, and to accept those with whom we disagree—searching for common ground where we can rebuild relationships. Give us the strength to accept Your Divine Grace and participate in bringing Your Peaceable Kingdom on earth as in heaven. Amen.
 Markham, Paul N. (2015-03-30). Rewired: Exploring Religious Conversion (Distinguished Dissertations in Christian Theology Book 2) (Kindle Locations 3418-3423). Pickwick Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.!