Jeremiah 33:1-3, “Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying, 2 Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; 3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
If you are saved today, you know the importance of prayer. We all know, at least with a head-knowledge, that prayer is important-no, prayer is vital-for the Christian life. We all claim to believe that prayer is a must in the Christian life. We talk about prayer. We teach and preach about prayer. Unfortunately, what we say, teach, and preach, and what we do in real life doesn’t always match up.
Because it’s been a week since we last wrote on this topic, let’s take a moment to review what we wrote last week:
We read the great prayers in the Bible. We read the prayers of Old Testament men like Moses, Ezra and Nehemiah, Elijah and Elisha, David, and Daniel!
We read the prayers of our Lord Jesus and Peter, James, John and Paul in the New Testament!
We read about the great prayer warriors throughout church history like a Praying Hyde, Hudson Taylor, or the “Apostle of Prayer,” George Mueller.
We get inspired, but the inspiration just doesn’t seem to get the job done!
I think one of the greatest quotes I have ever read on prayer is:
I often wonder what would transpire if every Christ-follower got serious about installing solid prayer practices into their lives. What kind of kingdom gains do you suppose would be made if each of us made pressing into God through prayer a nonnegotiable part of our everyday experience? I believe hearts would soften. Habits would shift. Faith would expand. Love for the poor would increase. Positive, purposeful legacies would be built. And a ravenous hunger would rumble through us all to get usable and to get used in significant ways by the one true God. We can make this happen in our lifetime, friend. And it all starts with learning, and loving, to pray.
Read those words again. In fact, take some time this week to meditate upon those words.
Last week we introduced the thought of praying dangerously. Again, a bit more review from what we wrote last week:
Thankfully there are those of us who do pray. We pray the Lord’s Prayer, we pray the prayer of Jabez, we pray Paul’s prayers in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, and on occasion we even pray some of those Old Testament prayers!
But even for those of us who do pray consistently and constantly, more often than not our prayers are “safe prayers.” You know, we pray for God’s blessing on our life and on the lives of those we love, as well as his blessing upon our ministries. We pray for God’s provision and God’s protection. We pray for good grades at school. We pray for a job, or a raise. We even pray for our friends and family members who don’t know Jesus to get saved.
These are all great prayers!
These are all necessary prayers!
Unfortunately, these are all what we could call “safe” prayers!
Our Old and New Testament heroes of the faith, as well as the prayer warriors found throughout church history, over the past 2,000 years, neither played it safe, nor prayed it safe.
They “Prayed Dangerously.”
God is looking for some men and women today who will step out of their comfort zone and enter into the very combat zone of praying. God is looking for some men and women who are willing, not only to pray, but to pray “Dangerous Prayers.”
“Dangerous Prayers” are those prayers that we pray at our own risk. While prayer doesn’t always change our circumstances, prayer always changes us. And, this is so very true when we sincerely pray these “Dangerous Prayers.”
What are these “Dangerous Prayers”?
Below are a list of a few that I can think of. These are the prayers that have led to revivals [personal and corporate] in the past. These are the prayers that, when prayed sincerely, lead to the miraculous in the life of an individual or the life of a church.
We will consider just a few over the next week or so. Possibly 2-3 at a time, but let’s give a brief overview of these “Dangerous Prayers.”
- O Lord, search me …
- O Lord, break me …
- O Lord, humble me …
- O Lord, revive me …
- O Lord, stretch me …
- O Lord, change me …
- O Lord, lead me …
- O Lord, open my eyes …
- O Lord, break my heart …
- O Lord, use me …
- O Lord, send me …
Let’s take a moment today and simply consider the first of these “dangerous prayers.”
O Lord search me!
This prayer only has five words, but dangerous words for sure. If we were honest with ourselves and God, which more often than not we aren’t, we would have to admit we don’t want God to do a thorough searching of our heart. We don’t want him to because we are afraid what he will find, and we don’t want to be exposed to the truth about ourselves.
This first prayer comes from Psalm 139:23-24, where we find the following words, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
As one commentator wrote:
These are perhaps some of the most poignant words in the entire Bible. In these two verses there is so much. We see the Psalmist asking God to search him, to look to the deepest part of what he is, his own heart. Why would the Psalmist ask this? And, why would any of us ask it? The reason is simple. We cannot know our own hearts as well as God can. He indwells us, knows every thought, is aware of every feeling, and He understands us better than we do. If we ever needed anyone to reach down in the depths of our hearts to find out what is unholy so that it can be removed, it is God.
For even the “best of us,” our hearts are filled with so much pride, selfishness, and carnality. Unfortunately, we often don’t know it because our hearts tell us everything is okay!
The great Chinese Christian, Watchman Nee, once wrote:
ANYONE who serves God will discover sooner or later that the great hindrance he has in the Lord’s work is not others, but himself. He will discover that his outward man (soul) is not in harmony with his inward man (spirit). Both tend to go toward two opposite directions from each other. He will also sense the inability of his outward man to submit to the inner control of his regenerated spirit, received through the new birth. Thus, he is rendered incapable of obeying God’s highest commands. … Many of God’s servants are not able to do even the most elementary work. Ordinarily, they should be enabled by the exercise of their spirit to know God’s Word, to discern the spiritual condition of another, to send forth God’s messages under the anointing, and to receive God’s illumination. Yet due to the distractions of the outward man, their spirit does not seem to function properly. It is basically because their outward man has never been dealt with. For this reason, excitement in revivals, pleading prayers, and zealous activities are but a waste of time. As we shall see, only one kind of basic dealing can enable man to be useful before God—brokenness.
And brokenness, which we will cover later, isn’t likely to come until God has reveal the truth about us. For far to long, we have allowed our deceitful hearts to convince us that everything is just fine. But deep down inside, when we are all alone with God, WE KNOW BETTER!
I want to challenge you today, and over the next few days, to ask God to search your heart. Ask God to expose the carnality, selfishness, pride, and lack of spiritual desire in your heart. If we ask him, he’ll surely do it. It’ll hurt, but “faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
And, we don’t have a greater friend than Jesus!
Lord willing, over the next few posts, we will all be challenged, convicted, and above all, changed. If we aren’t praying, may God help us to start praying consistently and constantly. And, if we are praying, may God help us to leave the elementary school of prayer and start praying “Dangerous Prayers!”
Just reflecting on “Dangerous Prayers!”