Revelation 3:14-18, And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
1 Chronicles 4:10, And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
Isaiah 54:2-3, Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; 3 For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.
Over the past few weeks we have been considering this matter of “Dangerous Prayers.” Most of us, if we were to be honest, would have to admit, if we pray much at all, our prayers tend to be safe prayers. You know prayers like …
- O Lord bless me
- O Lord bless my marriage
- O Lord bless my family
- O Lord bless our church
And the list above could go on and on. Definitely nothing wrong with these prayers, and we should continue to pray for God’s blessings to be upon our life, our marriage, our family, and our church, etc… Again, nothing wrong with these prayers, but these prayers and prayers like them are “safe prayers.” Men and women in the scripture and throughout history who have had the greatest influence and impact were men and women, who weren’t satisfied with praying “safe prayers.”
No sir! They took steps of faith and prayed “Dangerous Prayers.”
As we have mentioned previously, while prayer doesn’t always change our circumstances, real praying always changes us. And no where is this more true than in praying “Dangerous Prayers.” I read the following words recently:
During this transition, God revealed that my focus on my kingdom went deeper than I’d realized. One afternoon I was praying for massive revival in our city — the kind that would change the shape of our city for the next two hundred years, the kind they would write about in history books. As I was praying, it seemed as if the Spirit of God suddenly asked, “And what if I answer this prayer . . . and send a revival into Raleigh-Durham beyond all you’ve asked or imagined . . . one that they will talk about for hundreds of years . . . but I choose another church through which to do it? What if that church grows, and yours stays the same?” In that moment I felt as if a disguise of religiosity had been ripped off of my selfish heart, and I was exposed. I only wanted to see my church succeed, my kingdom enlarged, my name magnified. Somehow “thy kingdom come” had become all jumbled up with “my kingdom come.” Unlike John the Baptist, who prayed, “He [Jesus] must increase and I must decrease,” my heart was “Jesus, I don’t care if you increase, as long as I increase.” Ministry, you see, is a great place for guys with the idol of success to hide, because we can mask our selfish ambition in the cloak of doing great things for God.
This pastor of a huge church was praying for revival. He was asking God to bless, to do something big. Yet, in the midst of his praying the spirit of conviction came upon him and God changed him and the entire trajectory of his ministry.
In other words, God didn’t change his circumstances, but God did change him!
Over the past few blogs we have looked at a few of these “Dangerous Prayers.” We have considered these “Dangerous Prayers”:
- O Lord, search me …
- O Lord, break me …
- O Lord, humble me …
- O Lord, revive me …
These prayers are just a bit different than “O Lord, bless me.” These are “Dangerous Prayers.” These “Dangerous Prayers” bring about spirit of repentance, revival, and reformation in our hearts and our churches. And the Lord knows we need it. As A.W. Tozer once noted:
We must have a reformation within the Church. To beg for a flood of blessing to come upon a backslidden and disobedient Church is to waste time and effort. A new wave of religious interest will do no more than add numbers to churches that have no intention to own the Lordship of Jesus and come under obedience to His commandments. God is not interested in increased church attendance unless those who attend amend their ways and begin to live holy lives. … We must return to New Testament Christianity, not in creed only but in complete manner of life as well. Separation, obedience, humility, simplicity, gravity, self-control, modesty, cross-bearing: these all must again be made a living part of the total Christian concept and be carried out in everyday conduct. We must cleanse the temple of the hucksters and the money changers and come fully under the authority of our risen Lord once more. And this applies to this writer and to this publisher as well as to everyone that names the name of Jesus. Then we can pray with confidence and expect true revival to come.
Two more of these “Dangerous Prayers” are “O Lord, change me” and “O Lord, stretch me.”
There isn’t a one of us who doesn’t need to be changed, and there’s not a one of us who doesn’t need to be stretched. Here’s the problem though. Most of us, again, if we are truly honest with ourselves, feel fairly confident and content about who we are and what we are accomplishing for Christ. And if that be the case, why do we need to change and why do we need to be stretched?
Rather than comparing our lives and ministries with Jesus, the New Testament church, and the “great” saints throughout history, we tend to compare ourselves with one another, our Laodicean brothers and sister, and when we do, we don’t look too bad, and see very little need for change!
Take some time today, this week and pray O Lord, change me and stretch me to greater heights for You, Your kingdom, and Your glory!