Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Audacity

“It is absolutely imperative at the outset that you come to terms with this simple yet life-changing truth:  God is for you.  If you don’t believe that, then you’ll pray small timid prayers; if you do believe it, then you’ll pray big audacious prayers.  And one way or another, your small timid prayers or big audacious prayers will change the trajectory of your life and turn you into two totally different people.  Prayers are prophecies.  They are the best predictors of your spiritual future.  Who you become is determined by how you pray.  Ultimately, the transcript of your prayers becomes the script of your life.”
                                                                                              Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

How would your life be different if you suddenly realized that you had the incredible power of God, the same power that resurrected him from the grave, at your disposal?  What would our prayer lives look like if we all became smitten, bold, and obedient to the call we have for all of us to follow the example of Jesus like the apostle Paul did?  He had a vision for the church that was impossibly….visionary!  He was consumed by it.

“…I am focusing all my energies on this one thing;  Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize…”  Phillipians 4:13-14

“…I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him….As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead…”   Philippians 3:8-10

What is consuming your thoughts today?  Or more importantly who?  Is Christ anywhere in there? Do you pray big audacious prayers?  No?  Do you not think that God has big audacious plans for you and for the church?  Yes?  Are they your plans, or God’s?  Ouch.

There is a book written by Jim Collins that business types love to quote called “Good to Great”.  In it, Collins stresses the importance of setting “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals”, or BHAG’s.  These are, according to Collins, needed to motivate individuals or companies onward and upward toward the seemingly impossible.  Without these goals, the business peaks, then declines, and eventually dies.

Well in the church, how about we actually pray for the impossible?  How about we pray about things that are absolutely humanly impossible regardless of how much skill, money, fortune, education or manpower we have?  Do you believe that God answers our Big Hairy Audacious Prayers?  Our very own  BHAP’s?  I’m beginning to.  And the boldness that comes from knowing him is just the kind of thing that should lead us to believe that he is the God of amazing results when we put our confidence fully in him.  He works, not only within our human experience, but he works outside of it, beyond anything that we could possibly comprehend.  And he does it all on behalf of those who love him.  There is no natural law to restrain or control him.  And Paul actually teaches strange things like “…beyond all we could ask or think…”, or “…wrestling not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities”.

How can we expect to succeed in such things if we keep bringing our peashooter smart-sounding prayers to a spiritual tank battle?  Want to change the world?  Become a man or woman of constant prayer.  Become one of the embers that God is scraping together with so many others and getting ready to set ablaze.  Become one of the “quiet uprising of the broken”.   All of this begins by….you guessed it….waiting.  He will direct our prayers, and if we’re not listening and quiet, our prayers will be timid.  The key to understanding this is by waiting.  Don’t hear me wrong here, read your Bible, fast often, meet with your small group, come to church, but wait on the Lord while you’re doing these things.  Call out to him constantly, asking for the mind of Christ in all things. 
 “I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of his power for us who believe him.  This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand…”   Ephesians 1:19-20a

“God help us today to begin to consider your call on our lives to make you our everything.  We can’t do that without you.  In the power of your Spirit that resides in us, gently begin to break down anything within us and among us in the church which limits, crowds out, or rejects the fullness of the love and power that you have made available to us today.  Help us to walk in that confidence together in the body.  Cause us to believe.  Drive out our fears and pride and unbelief.  Place on our minds and in our hearts the things that matter to you so we can begin to pray with great purpose and become witnesses to your amazing work among us.  Thank you Father.  In Jesus’ name, amen.”

- Doug Bishop

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