Colossians 4:2 CEB
Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving.
Science fascinates me. Unfortunately in high school I was too pre-occupied with boys and other things to pay much attention to it. It was only years later after having been exposed to the teaching of some amazing science geeks that I fell in love with it. I’ve come to the conclusion that science is a bit like sushi: its definitely an acquired taste.
A few years ago I attended a session in which a medical doctor was presenting in lay-man’s terms something called epigenetics. The simple version: epigenetics is a field of science that has discovered there are mechanisms or triggers that affect our genes. They work like a “switch” to turn off & on the genetics in our body causing health or disease. For example, lab rats that had cancer were found to be deficient in a particular a mineral. When that mineral was replenished, “flip!”, the cancer cells were “shut off”.
Now switch your brain over to your spiritual life. The Bible says that we become “new creations” through the life of Jesus Christ. I love how The Message Bible describes it:
1 Peter 1:23 The Message
Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself!
1 John 3:9 in the Common English Bible even uses the phrase
“Those born from God don’t practice sin because God’s DNA remains in them. They can’t sin because they are born from God”
Sperm, conceived by God Himself, God’s DNA….we have “new creation genetics” working in our lives. We’ll call them “spiritual genetics”. Faith is a “spiritual gene” we all possess. In the same way that science is discovering the on/off triggers in our genes through epigenetics, I believe there are certain elements or attitudes that work as triggers to turn off or on our spiritual genes.
Here’s an example of how this works: faith empowers and is absolutely necessary for prayer, not just to see answers come but to believe that through prayer we are actually having conversation with a God we cannot see, Who resides in a completely different realm than ours. Colossians 4:2 instructs us to “guard our prayers with thanksgiving”. Thanksgiving works as a positive trigger to keep faith “turned on”, active and focused. It also works like trigger “turning off” hindrances to prayer being effective – deterrents such as negativity, hopelessness, despair, entitlement, defeat. These attitudes work like viral infections against the prayers we’ve prayed because they are directly counteractive to faith. They weaken faith and sometimes even neutralize faith that is necessary to seeing prayers answered.
Where has your prayer life been infected? What attitudes have switched off faith? Turn on the right “genetics” through thanksgiving. Begin to shift your prayers from “God, please will You…” to “God, THANK YOU that You have/are/will…”
Flip the switch.