In my childhood home, a small plaque hung on the kitchen wall. It said, Prayer Changes Things. This little motto sparked my first theological musings on the nature of prayer … not too bad when you're only five or six years old.

Could this really be true? I often wondered, as I downed my Cheerios. Frankly, my personal experience did not support the credibility of that statement.

After all, prayer hadn't forestalled my punishment when my father discovered the living room lamp I'd broken. Prayer hadn't closed down school the day it snowed. Neither had it hastened the coming of Christmas, produced a new bike, or brought the pastor's long and deadly Sunday sermon to a merciful end.

So what things did prayer change? Perhaps the adults knew. I didn't.

A Vulnerable Mystery

Prayer has remained a nagging, wondrous mystery in my life ever since. Because I am committed to living biblically, I believe—really believe—in prayer, even if I am not exactly sure how it works. I don't have to ...

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