Monday, March 5, 2012

The Power of a Dangerous Prayer

Not my will, but Yours
“When an answer I did not expect comes to a prayer which I believed I truly meant, I shrink back from it; if the burden my Lord asks me to bear, be not the burden of my heart's choice, and I fret inwardly and do not welcome His will, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”—Amy Carmichael, missionary.

Prayer has been called many things, but I doubt few consider it dangerous. How would you characterize something which has the potential to end your existence as you know it?

That doesn’t make sense, you might be thinking. Prayer is a solace place we enter to meet God. We bare our souls, share our heartaches, offer petitions, and intercede for others. Sounds like a neat, safe place to abide. And it is.

But suppose you yearn for a deeper, richer relationship with God—to live fully in a manner you’ve not fathomed before. Are you willing to push your spiritual life outside of its comfort zone and into the danger zone to do so?

The five scariest words we could utter during prayer, many people don’t—or won’t. Praying these words mean death—death to self—an end to selfish desires and the beginning of God’s desires to define our lives.

Safety nets are stripped away—power is relinquished.

The five words?

Not my will, but Yours.

Now, let’s get real for a moment. I mean really real. Think of the most monumental problem you’re facing. You may even have a pretty good idea of how to solve it, if everything would just work out the way you imagine. Are you willing to turn loose of your solution?

Makes your heart skips a beat to consider giving the problem to God, then utter, “not my will, but Yours,”—and mean it!

My sister Teresa shared her insights on my last post When God Comes Calling, and they are applicable to this post, as well:

"This hits home for me. I prayed a prayer that my pastor encouraged us to pray one night; a prayer that God show me what HE wanted me to do for Him (not telling Him what I wanted). A few days later, I was headed to Jonesville, VA, on an ASP trip [after a last minute cancellation of another team member]. What a blessing that mission trip was to me! I prayed that specific prayer a month ago, and 2 days later my husband was transferred to Brunswick, Ga. Now, I'm praying that prayer to see what God has in store for me to do to honor Him in Brunswick. I learned a long time ago, it's not about me, it's about what I can do for His glory."

Teresa has left Florida only a handful of times in the last thirty years and has never lived outside of the state. At age 53, she is embarking on new endeavors because she yielded control of her life to God.

Is the unknown scary? Sure. Has God’s will pushed Teresa outside of her comfort zone? Most definitely. However, the blessings she has experienced as a result of praying those five scary words are immense.

Though you’re not guaranteed instant gratification or easy solutions to your petitions, God’s will provides the perfect answer. Christ prayed the same words when he faced death on a cross (Luke 22:42). God’s answer didn’t spare Jesus’ life—instead it granted life to millions of others.

Let me add one caveat. Please don’t hear me say what I’m not. There’s nothing wrong with goals and desires. God gives us those desires (Ps. 37:4). He designed man to yearn for progress. The million dollar question is—Are you willing to give those desires back to God and say, not my will, but yours, and trust Him to bless you?

God’s answer often weaves a beautiful pattern which, in hindsight, you marvel over its brilliance. He doesn’t grant that beforehand—only after you’ve exercised faith by relinquishing control.

So, are you ready to pray dangerously by submitting to the Ultimate Power? I’d love to hear from you about how God has worked in your life when you’ve done so.

19 comments:

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    1. Thanks, Denise. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

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  2. powerful post. I have said quite a few dangerous prayers in my life - dangerous to my old way of life and what I am clinging to in this world. I love this God that guides and stays with us: I say leaving my comfort zone for the arms of the Comforter!

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    1. Thanks, Jean. Yielding to God completely is a challenge all Christians face. You're right, leaving your comfort zone for God's arms is the only way to live.

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  3. this is really powerful. I know that I want God's will for my life but so often try to make it fit into what I want in my life. I am asking myself this morning if I am really asking God to do His will. thanks for this challenge.

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    1. I'm glad this blessed and challenged you, Katie. I pray that God will give you the answers you seek.

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  4. This really hit home Laura. God has been showing me a lot about pride lately and how that awful word shows up often in my decisions concerning ministry. Ugh! Thank you for your beautiful words as we each pursue holiness. God bless you.

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    1. Thanks, Nan. I'm so glad God used my words to touch you. You're right, keeping our focus off ourselves and on God takes a daily commitment. God bless you and your ministry.

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  5. Laura, Yes it is scary to pray these words: Not my will, but Yours. But once you have been low enough to know there is no other way out, pray these words and then begin to really experience His will and His path, to me they are no longer scary anymore.

    He will give us the strength and the power, and His presence to accept and experience His will in our lives... I know... because we have lived it!

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    1. So true, Nancy. Sometimes it takes having no other alternative to pray the prayer. The freedom and blessings we receive when we do are tremendous!

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  6. I've had to pray that prayer a number of times in my life. God's answer does always turn out to be the best.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your testimony, Julie. God is so good when we stand back and allow Him to work. God bless you.

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  9. Profound quote from Carmiohael. And this: "God’s answer didn’t spare Jesus’ life—instead it granted life to millions of others." Wow. Not my will buy yours, scary words indeed. They reveal a selfish heart or a heart that is willing to glorify God. Powerful stuff here, Laura. Challenging.

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