Mother Theresa is quoted as saying, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.”
Like Mother Theresa, we want to make a difference.
We want to make positive changes in our lives, in the lives of others, and in the world.
When I think of people who make a difference, they have overcome adversity in their own lives or they have battled through difficult times to inspire others.
Malala Yousafzai, as a young girl, she was shot in the face by the Taliban in Pakistan for speaking out on the behalf of girls and the right to learn. Having just watched the movie Respect, Aretha Franklin’s music has brought enjoyment to many peoples’ lives, but she battled numerous struggles in her own life. I think about the three missionary women—Gladys Aylward, Amy Beatrice Carmichael, and Faye Elva Edgerton—I wrote about in 3 Incredible Stories from Women in Mission, who followed their callings to help others across the world.
We may think that we will never be able to make a difference like these individuals. Yet, one small act can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
Over the next few weeks we are going to pray to make a difference n our families, with our friends, at our places of work, school, or college, and we going to pray that we will make a difference in our nations and across the world.
A small stone dropped into a pond sends out ripples that produce bigger and bigger circles. The wake from one boat creates waves that crash on the shore a great distance away. Let’s pray that our small differences will create broad ripples and big waves.
But first, we need to discover the best way we can make a difference.
Paul, who wrote letters in the New Testament, and explains so much about the message of Jesus Christ that we read today some 2,000 years later, said this about himself in Ephesians 3:7-8 (MSG):
When it came to presenting the Message to people who had no background in God’s way, I was the least qualified of any of the available Christians. God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.
When it came to making a difference, Paul said: This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message.
How did it happen? It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise, God handling all the details.
And so, he says, here I am, preaching and writing about things that are way over my head, the inexhaustible riches and generosity of Christ.
Making an impact comes from God’s power within us.
Inspired by Paul, let’s pray for God to help us make a difference:
God, I want to make a difference in my life and the lives of others. With you, and through your power, I am believing you will make it happen. Like Paul in the Bible, I don’t feel equipped but I trust you to equip me. Like Paul, I want to be surprised and find sheer joy in you handling the details so I can move forward and marvel at seeing you at work. Amen.
Where do you want to make a situation better? Is it at home, at work, at school, somewhere across the world? Ask God to provide. If you’re not sure where you can make a difference, ask God to show you.
Lord God, today I want to bring about change. Here are the ways I ask for your help (choose one or all three):
Show me where _________________________________
Show me what _________________________________
Show me how _________________________________
Pray to make a difference in the life of one person today
Today I pray for ________________________. I ask you to equip me so I can have a positive influence by _________________________________.
Sometimes we want to effect change for our own glory and self-importance. It’s natural for us to want to elevate ourselves. We may also be driven by pride.
Lord, forgive me for: _________________________________
Where has God helped you make a difference this week? Show your gratitude to God. This is how Paul showed his gratitude:
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth.
The magnificent Father has also shared his power with you.
Heavenly Father, thank you for _________________________________
Did God answer your requests in Prayer 2? If he did, or you are still waiting to hear from him, believe the words below and ask his Spirit to prompt you gently and deeply.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us (Ephesians 3:20).
God, I asked you to show me what, where, and how I can make a difference and I thank you because you did by
PS If you’re still struggling to know where and how to make a difference, the Bible gives us some clear hints —actually more than hints -—and we’ll explore these over the next few weeks. Sign up on the home page so you won’t miss out.
Photo by Jackson Hendry on Unsplash