I have been wrestling with this idea of how to pray, even questioning to my core why I pray. We live in a world where rape stories, mass shootings, & hatred are enevitable. It seems like everything is out of our control, because you know why? It is. But I'm not writing this so you lose faith in everything you believe in, I'm writing this so hopefully you hear about the power of God from a different perspective. I recently stumbled across one of my all time favorite worship songs. It is not the classic feel good worship song because it really challenges each Christian to live out their faith boldly.
"I could just stay right where I am and hope to feel You/ You have called me deeper and I'll go where You will lead me Lord" -Called Me Higher by All Sons and Daughters
While we may "sit" and wait to feel God or to be graced with His presence, we soon forget that He is always there and it is about desiring intimacy with Him. It is easy to say that we believe in the Lord, especially when we don't have to rely on that belief. Too many of us American believers do not rely on their faith. Our faith is used as an attribute to describe us, just like the fact that we enjoy watching sports or we like to cook or we like to travel. We just "like" Christianity. But as soon as we discover that Christianity may get in the way of the things we want, we soon place it to the backburner.
Praying boldly capitolizes on the idea that we are sometimes afraid to ask God to reveal information to us. We are afraid to ask, Lord, show me my sinful nature and rid me of my pride. Or, Lord, lead me whereever you want me to go. Or, Lord, help me forgive this person who has consistantly sinned against me. These are hard prayers to pray with soul behind them because our flesh doesn't want them to come true. We don't want to forgive, or be humble, or follow God's plan for our lives. But that's not the issue at hand. We are looking at it all wrong.
We don't forgive, we are not humble, and we don't follow God's plan. The Spirit leads us. The Spirit prompts us in the steps to forgive, prompts us to be humble, and prompts us to see God's plan for our lives.
IT IS VITAL TO PRAY BOLDLY. Praying boldly allows us to give God all the glory. Praying boldly forces us to give up control. And most importantly, praying boldly allows us to live in intimacy with the Lord. James 1 makes it very clear. Verse 5 is normally taken out of context. We like to hear, "Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him. (HCSB)". That sounds wonderful. Who doesn't need wisdom?! But we avoid the end of the passage. It reads, "But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. An indecisive man is unstable in all his ways." We are afraid to ask for wisdom because we think we have all of the control. We believe that we have the control to forgive someone or the control to be humble or the control to know what is best for us. We need to boldly ask for wisdom from God, fully belief that He will grant it to us. But we also need to know that the answers we may receive may not be answers that our flesh wants to hear.
As we were watching the sunrise on the beach, a friend pointed out a piece of Scripture that she thought was often overlooked even though it is so powerful. It is when Jesus prays for all believers in John 7 verses 20-26. I encourage you to read through it, & I hope that you are ashtonished by the sincerity in the prayer. Just the power in His words proves that God has called you to reach higher and God has called you to go deeper. We are not in control, but we are children of the one who is. We need to feel the tension every day of our fleshly desires, yet still yearn for intimacy with God. I only pray that God has used me as a humble servant of His to deliver this message to encourage His beloved people. That through His sacrifice, we may be one with Him.