I’m unashamedly a Dawson’s Creek fan. This early 2000’s teen drama was a coming-of-age story when I was living on my own, so I deeply connected with the teenage angst I watched play out on screen. In season one, Jen’s grandfather (Gramps) takes a turn and is admitted to the hospital and things don’t look good. Her grandmother (Grams), a strong Christian, is praying in the hospital chapel. Jen takes a seat next to her and remarks out of deep pain and frustration that prayer won’t change God. Grams turns to Jen and says, ‘Oh my dear child, you’ve got it backward. Prayer doesn’t change God. Prayer changes me.’
That one line has stuck with me ever since because, on some level, I believed (and have moments even in my adult life) the same as Jen – that prayer was all about changing God’s mind. Pleading with Him to alter His decision to align more with my will.
But over the years, as I’ve wrestled through my perception and expectations of prayer, I’ve come to understand that prayer isn’t about bending God’s will to my own. It’s about surrendering my will to His. It’s about letting prayer become the centering and focusing of my mind and soul on the person and character of God: letting prayer change me, regardless of the answer.
Gramps passes away (spoiler alert!) and I think the power of how prayer changes us is shown in the way Grams can grieve the loss of her husband but celebrate the life she had with him. She does it with a level of grace and compassion that reflects a heart changed by God. A change that would not be possible without prayer!