The Risk of Prayer

Mike from Tibbens Towing in Clearfield, PA, backs our camper into our campsite. (Aug. 12, 2019)

 

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. –Jesus, as quoted in Luke 11:9–10 NIV

In his book, Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge, Mark Batterson tells about an African missionary whose church met beneath the shade of a tree near the village because they didn’t have a building in which to worship. The local witch doctor wasn’t too happy with that, so he cursed the tree and it withered.

When you preach Christ and His power, when you preach an awesome God who can do the impossible, when you preach the powerful presence of the indwelling Spirit, you better be ready to stand firm. Trials always come to test your faith, especially when you proclaim it.

In response, the missionary called for a public prayer meeting during which he laid hands on the tree and asked God to resurrect it.

In public. Where everyone could hear him.

“If God doesn’t answer his prayer,” Batterson wrote, “he would have dug an even deeper hole. That’s the risk of prayer, isn’t it?”

That made me think. How often do we say “safe” prayers, all in the realm of the possible? Do we have the courage to pray the impossible prayers? Or do we pray them, but give ourselves an out?

“Sometimes,” Batterson noted, “God calls us to ante up all the faith we have, and then let the chips fall where they may.”

When I read this devotional, appropriately titled “Shameless Audacity,” DH and I were in a real pickle. Two days earlier the transmission went in our pickup while towing the camper to the campground. Now, while we sat at the campground, the truck sat in the towing company’s lot, waiting for us to decide what to do with it.

Rebuilding the transmission would cost anywhere from $3,800 to $4,600. With taxes coming due in another month, the fuel oil tank needing replenished before winter, DH retired for nearly a year, and us living on a very limited income, where would the money come from? The extended warranty (that’s another story) expired in April.

It just so happened (translate: God-thing) a Christian couple were camped a few sites up from us. On one of his walks around the campground, DH stopped and talked to them. They, as well as everyone in the campground, knew of our predicament. After all, a tow truck had backed our camper in our site then left with our truck.

So they prayed with DH—that the truck would be fixed at no cost to us! Now that’s a bold prayer!

Bold prayers take bold faith. Shameless audacity.

Shameless means disregard for that others may say or think. Audacity is a willingness to take bold risks.

Faith calls us to believe nothing is impossible with God. “It’s the impossible prayers that honor God because they reveal our faith and allow God to reveal His glory,” Batterson noted.

I thought about the impossible scenarios in the Bible: the Red Sea parting and the Israelites walking across on dry ground. The walls of Jericho falling down flat without a hand touching them. Barren Sarah and 100-year-old Abraham having a baby. The virgin birth of Jesus. His miracles. His resurrection.

God specializes in the impossible!

If God can speak the universe into being, can He not take our impossible situations and turn them into HIM-possible ones?

I still don’t know where the money is going to come from to pay for the transmission. But I do know Jesus said to ask, seek, and knock. He promises that what we ask will be provided, what we seek we’ll find, and the door will open when we knock.

Oh, yes, the withered tree … “Not only did God break the curse and resurrect the tree,” Batterson wrote, “it became the only tree of its type to yield its fruit not once, but twice a year. A double crop! A double blessing!”

What impossible situation are you faced with today? What bold prayer do you need to pray?

Remember, sometimes you’ve got to ante up all the faith you have, pray with shameless audacity, and let the chips fall where they may.

Dear God, give me the holy boldness to pray the impossible prayers. Amen.

Read and reflect on Luke 11:5–9; 18:1–8; James 1:2–4.

© 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Moving On or Settling In?

My Presence will go with you. Exodus 33:14 (NIV)

Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. –Exodus 40:36–37 NASB

I’m a city girl born and raised, but a country girl at heart.

This truth was never more apparent than on our vacation this summer—not a rest-and-recharge vacation, but a “see as much as we can in the four weeks we have” vacation. We pulled our 29-foot fifth-wheel camper nearly 7,000 miles through 15 states. We rarely stayed more than one night anywhere. Most of the time we stayed at RV parks.

I learned there’s a difference between an RV park and a campground.

An RV park is where you park your RV. It has electric, water, and sewage hookups. It may have a fire ring (a place for a campfire), but it may not. It may have a picnic table, or it may not. You don’t have a campsite, you see— you have a parking space, and most often a gravel one. Not grass.

It’s not a place to set up and settle in. It’s a place to park your RV while you visit the sights or just spend the night between long stretches on the road.

A campground, on the other hand, is a place to settle in and relax. You have grass, trees, fire ring, and a picnic table on a site that isn’t merely a parking space.

Oh, you can probably guess which one we prefer.

But travelers need both, depending on the journey.

Isn’t that just like life?

Just as God guided the Israelites through the wilderness to the Promised Land, God leads us through this wilderness we call life to our Promised Land—Heaven.

Sometimes He has us stay in one place for a while. Sometimes we want to settle in and stay there. But eventually we have to move on because that is not our destination. God has much more for us to see and experience. More than we could ever dream of.

Sometimes we don’t’ want to stay. We’re itching to get out of there and move on. But God says, “Not yet.” In His time—His perfect time—we will move on.

Other times He pushes us forward, mile after mile, day after day. But, remember, we travel on His timeline, His route, His map, His agenda.

He has a plan and purpose for our sojourn on earth that go far beyond what we can imagine –“far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes” (Ephesians 3:20 TLB).

Although it wasn’t our style of vacation and the entire trip extended us beyond our comfort zone, we had a fabulous time. We experienced parts of the country we’d never before dreamed of visiting. We learned more history on that trip than we have our entire lives—history that will stick with us because we were there.

We are campground folks. We like the wide-open spaces, the slower paces. We like to settle in and explore the area.

And so we shall. We’d like to spend a week or so exploring Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And visit as many lighthouses as we can. (I’m a lighthouse freak.)

And I want to spend time in the Colorado Rockies and see the sights on horseback.

Dreams don’t die as we grow older. Instead, they grow bigger and better.

And they challenge us to step out of our comfort zones, push aside the fears that hold us back, and live to the fullest the life God has given us—whether we’re moving on or settled in.

Thank You, Father, for both the moving on times and the settling in times. Thank You that You have a purpose for each one. Amen.

Read and meditate on Exodus 13:21; 40:36–37

(c) 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.