Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
"When they meant to ask Him for charity, let them, instead, start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing. When they meant to pray for courage, let them really be trying to feel brave. When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success or failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment." -C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
I am reminded tonight of the power of prayer and the truth of faith.
Often, change is a gradual thing, and it is easy for me to lose sight of the process I am engaged in. While in the moment my prayers may seem ineffective even silly, or I may be feel guilty or hypocritical for even making such an effort-- yet, I believe each prayer has power.
I have been putting to practice the idea of moving in the opposite spirit and taking thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. When lustful thoughts come, I can turn it into a prayer for purity.
When angry thoughts at another person come, I can turn it into a prayer for grace in the life of another.
When thoughts of self-pity come I can lay it at the feet of Jesus and thank Him for putting to death my selfish and petty self, and thank hIm for replacing it with a full, satisfied son of God the Father.
When fearful thoughts come I can turn it to a song of praise about God's abundance and His willingness to provide for me.
It is a process to kill bad habits, but the Holy Spirit loves loves loves to help in this very thing!
The times when I can lift my head above the day to day stuff, and see a real picture of positive change in me, ought to be acknowledged and cherished.
I must never forget that it's all worth it. The testing of my faith never stops, but it should be a joyful thing, especially when I can remember that times will continue and increase like this moment, when I know choosing obedience will shape me into who I really want to be at my core: a man after God's heart.