Sunday, July 21, 2024
Sunday, July 21, 2024
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HEALTHY CHURCH: Dangerous Prayers

      Looking at our world, its sinful condition, and the critical plea for revival, the need for prayer is apparent. Are we willing to pray desperate prayers, even dangerous prayers? In 21 Dangerous Prayers, Gary Rohrmayer wrote, “Can prayers be dangerous? Is prayer supposed to be dangerous? Any encounter with a Holy God can be dangerous — not in a life-threatening way, but in a way that can be life-altering and soul-shaping. All too often, we pray safe prayers — God bless me, God help me, God protect me, God heal me, God provide for me.”

      Dangerous prayers are throughout the Scriptures. In Psalm 139:24, King David prayed, And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” That can be quite challenging and overwhelming. The heart of dangerous prayers is expressed by John the Baptist, “He (Jesus) must increase and I must decrease.” We see dangerous prayers echoed by the Apostle Paul, who prayed from prison in Phil. 1:12, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.”

      Jesus is our ultimate example in everything, especially in praying dangerous prayers. In Luke 22:42, He pleads, If thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” Jesus’ prayer life was His life and ministry. As a matter of fact, it was His lifeline. On the show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, the contestant was given three lifelines to help them when they were unable or unsure of the answer to the question. They could do 50/50, where half of the four possible answers were eliminated, poll the audience or phone a friend. Prayer is our lifeline.

      Jesus maintained uninterrupted time communicating with His Father. That is the key to our lives and our ministries as God intended. Jesus allowed nothing to interfere or distract Him from prayer. In Experiencing Prayer with Jesus,Henry and Norman Blackaby challenge us with the reality of dangerous prayers and commitment. “There is a cost to denying self, taking up a cross, and following after our Lord (Luke 9:23). If God did not spare His Son from agony of soul, then we shouldn’t expect Him to spare us from the cost of being His disciple.”

      In God, Do You Hear Me?, Dr. Derwin Gray reminded us, “Prayer is the secret place where we find God waiting for us. Prayer is the door we enter to discover God’s heart of unending grace. Prayer is the home we have always wanted, where we can crawl into our Father’s lap. Prayer is a precious gift.” In Luke 6:12, Jesus leads by example, “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”

      Gary Rohrmayer divides dangerous prayers into three categories:

         • Dangerous Prayers are Confessional — “Lord, Search Me!” Psalm 139:23 asks God to shine His light of holiness and righteousness on our hearts. He reveals any iniquity or transgressions hindering our relationship with Him and keeping us from being useful in His mission. In Handle With Prayer, Dr. Charles Stanley stated, “When God points something out in my life, it is with a finger of love attached to the hand that bears the mark of that love, a nail print.” As you enter your prayer closet, you need to ask, “What sin do I need to confess?” Live dangerously and ask him to expose your sin so you can seek His forgiveness.

         • Dangerous prayers are Transformational — “Lord Break Me!” In King David’s confessional prayer (Psalm 51:17), he speaks about what God desires of us: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Derwin Gray asks a very convicting question, “If Jesus answered every prayer you are praying right now, would you be more like Jesus?” Dr. Charles Stanley said, “God is more interested in our character, our future and our sanctification than He is in our momentary satisfaction.” Transformational prayers require seeking His face far more than merely seeking His hand.

         • Dangerous prayers are also Missional — “Lord, Send Me!” When the prophet Isaiah saw the throne room of God, after confession and transformation, he said, “Here am I, Lord, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Prayer is not getting God to help you but getting in line with what He is about to do and how He desires you to participate in His mission. Jesus’ heart was to learn His assignment from the Father, then surrender to it reverently. Henry and Norman Blackaby stated, “Am I resolved that no matter what God reveals to me and requests of me through prayer, my answer is an unqualified yes?” Your “yes” is to be on the table even before you pray.

      Even at 12 years old, Jesus was already committed to be about His Father’s business. He told us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven!” (Matt. 6:9-10). Saying “yes” to His will, regardless of how difficult it is, is the only response worthy of who He is. Knowing the biblical command to pray without ceasing and the urgent need for intercessors should make us willing to pay the price required (time and energy) to be a people of prayer. It begins with being willing to pray dangerous prayers, then it can continue as you develop and recruit prayer partners.

      In the coming weeks, we will cover how to develop a prayer culture in our lives, homes and churches. Please let us know if you would like some resources on how to be a “Revival Ready Church” or other prayer resources. It can all begin with this “dangerous” prayer: Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? (Psalm 85:6). I can hear some of you crying out, “That’s not dangerous, that is obedience!” I hear you, but revival will require giving up some things you have been holding on to through self-denial, sacrifice and surrender. That can only happen through confession, transformation and living missionally.