“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.”  –Galatians 5.22-23

“Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me!” –Psalm 51.10

One of the goals of cultivating a prayer life is to grow closer to Christ in the spirit.  Another goal of prayer is transformation. Transformation means conversion, change, renovation, or makeover. To me, transformation means increasingly seeing the world through God’s eyes. Ideas that used to be hard for me to grasp were like trying to read the newspaper without my reading glasses.  Now, through prayer and God’s grace, I can see more visibly from God’s perspective. Transformation also means, to me, a gradual warming of the heart.  My heart used to be like a frozen over pond, one that you could ice skate on. Now it is like a pond with such a thin layer of ice, you wouldn’t dare to walk on it. The water is bubbling up and pouring out through cracks on the surface. A test to see if I am actually growing closer to Christ is to ask myself questions based on the fruit of the Spirit. Such as, am I more loving and less angry then I was five years ago?  Am I more at peace and less anxious than I was five years ago?  Am I more generous and less stingy than I was five years ago? As you ponder these questions, you can even substitute ten or twenty years as your measurement.

This weekend at Church of the Resurrection we are concluding our Souper Bowl food drive. Years ago I would pull out two or three dusty cans from the far recesses of my pantry, but now I go to Costco with joy and select a case or two of healthy food to bring to church. That is what transformation looks like, and I am grateful for God’s work. Together, as the Body of Christ, we have great capacity to be used by God to transform our community and change the world.  This week, I invite you to repeat the above scriptures two or three times at the beginning of your prayer time.  Together, as we continue to grow closer to God through prayer, we will continue to see Christ’s living presence all around us and everywhere.

–Nancy Pauls, Pastor of Prayer