Why prayers that require courage and risk are worth it.
Prayer is sacred communication, the language of longing, a divine dialogue between you and your heavenly Father, your Abba, your Daddy. When you pray, the God of the universe listens.
And not only does he listen, but he also cares. About what you have to say. About all the things you carry around in your heart that no one else knows about. Maybe even some things you don’t know about.
God wants to hear you and speak to you. He wants to communicate with you the same way you sit across from a loved one and enjoy an intimate conversation. Your prayers matter.
How you pray matters.
What you pray matters.
Your. Prayers. Move. God.
We’re told in the Bible that we can “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God” (Heb. 4:16a). We don’t have to approach timidly or feel awkward—we can come before him with confidence, assurance and boldness. When we pray this way, then “we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Heb. 4:16b).
Do you need grace in your relationships with other people?
Do you need mercy for all the secret things you struggle with?
Do you need help to get through your day?
I do. In big ways. Every day. And in every way.
So let me share something that’s helped me grow some spiritual muscle in place of the wimpy prayers I used to pray. They are simply three prayers drawn from the Bible that you can pray and make your own:
You can pray these prayers in your own words, allowing them to rise up to heaven even as they sink into your bones. They’re tools for focusing your prayers and communication with God.
But I must warn you. They’re not safe prayers. They’re not benign or polite or tepid. You can’t just memorize them in hopes of a warm, fuzzy moment with God.
These prayers require faith. Courage. They ask you to risk.
They’re almost guaranteed to push you out of your comfort zone. To stretch you. To help you grow righteously uncomfortable.
They will require you to look deep within yourself. To stop pretending about certain aspects of your life. To be honest with yourself before the One who knows you better than you know yourself.
These prayers may melt your heart and open an awareness of sin in your life.
You may feel compelled to take a bold step of radical faith, trusting God as you follow him and go off script from the predictable pattern of your life.
You will likely be challenged to leave spiritual safety, comfort and convenience behind you.
Instead of a safe, all-about-me prayer, you might pray for others first, hurting for them, hoping for them, reaching out to God on their behalf.
Instead of just asking for protection and safety, you might ask what God wants you to do and where he wants you to go.
Rather than always asking him for more, you might praise him for all the blessings he’s already poured into your life.
Recognizing all these blessings, you might then reach out to bless someone else.
Instead of just checking a box, your prayers might actually change eternity, shaking hell, scaring demons and enlarging heaven.
Sound extreme? I promise you it’s not.
More importantly, God promises. If you call out to him, God assures you that he hears the cries of your heart.
Your prayers become dangerous.
But following Jesus was never supposed to be safe.
He promised his followers they would face trouble (see John 16:33). Jesus warned those who faithfully served him that they would be persecuted just like he was (see John 15:20).
Jesus alerts us of upcoming challenges. Because we love him, we will face trials and opposition.
But even in the middle of painful trials, Jesus invites us to respond with grace and pray what feels like a vulnerable and dangerous prayer. Jesus said, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). Love those who want to do you harm. And pray for those who are intent on your demise.
Do you dare to pray in a way you’ve never prayed before? With all of your heart, soul, mind and the full extent of your being?
What would happen in your life and the lives of those around you if you started praying dangerous prayers?
Do you dare to find out?
Excerpted from Dangerous Prayers: Because Following Jesus Was Never Meant to Be Safe by Craig Groeschel. Copyright © 2020 by Craig Groeschel. Used by permission of Zondervan.