Have you ever complained that your prayers (for more money, less persecution, better kids, bigger house, easier life) weren’t being answered? Well, I’ve discovered certain prayers that always get God’s response–often instantly. But fair warning: These aren’t safe prayers. They will mess up your simple, neat existence and shatter several preconceived notions you may have about faith, God and humanity. I speak from experience. Pray these prayers at your own risk:
1. “Lord, give me the opportunity to witness to someone today.”
Don’t pray this one unless you are fully prepared to follow through. I’ve prayed this one several times, and God has NOT ONCE failed to answer. The problem is, you don’t know when the opportunity will present itself. It could be on your job, while you’re wrestling your kids into the car, or in front of your worldly friends who don’t have you pegged as “that kind of Christian.”
2. “Lord, let me see people as you see them.”
If you’re comfortable viewing the unwashed masses as stupid, annoying, lazy or evil (and trumpeting that view on Facebook), best to steer clear of this one. This prayer not only changed my attitude toward humanity, it changed my theology, too.
3. “Lord, help me to love people as you love them.”
After the experience I had with #2, I haven’t yet worked up the nerve to try this one. But I imagine it might result in giving away lots of money, cheek turning, tongue holding, and embracing people who haven’t showered in weeks.
4. “Lord, give me wisdom.”
An innocent enough prayer. Until you realize that wisdom often comes by experience–a lot of knuckle-hardening, character-shaping experience. And then you learn that wisdom doesn’t exactly mean having the right answer for every situation. Sometimes wisdom involves shutting up and just letting things be. Sometimes it means admitting that you don’t have all the right answers. Sometimes it means looking foolish and ignorant and failing to meet others’ expectations. Don’t pray for wisdom if you plan on keeping your ego intact.
5. “Lord, teach me humility.”
I can’t begin to tell you how dangerous this prayer is. Depending on the size of your ego, here’s a few things you can expect after uttering this one:
– multiple failures
– the onset of a weakness or handicap
– loss of esteem in the eyes of others
– a crisis of faith
– loss of titles
– being unemployed for months or years at a time
– watching others get promotions, positions and awards meant for you
– getting stuck with menial tasks in ministry, such as scrubbing the church toilets
And here’s the kicker: The lesson doesn’t end when you’re ready. God decides when you’ve had enough. Bahahaha!
So why pray these prayers? Because they lead to a deeper relationship with Christ. God desires that we walk in love, humility and wisdom. It’s just that stripping away the ego and selfishness that gets in the way can be a painful process. So pray joyfully, but at your own risk.
What are some dangerous prayers you’ve discovered?
Add to that list the lessons I am learning and the prayers I might be barely brave enough to say namely, “Lord, I want your will not mine for my life” and the very simple and profouond “Surprise me.”
Grace is free, but it definitely isn’t cheap!
When accepted, it always begins to cost the narcissistic ego, the false self, everything it holds dear.
Being “born again” does not mean giving intellectual assent to abstract theological doctrines, it means experiencing the death of the egoistic Old Adam so that the christic New Adam can be born in us. Both dying and birthing are natural life experiences, but neither, especially dying, is without pain.
We live in a death-denying culture. Even with the promise of Eternal life, I have found that most Christians are reluctant to face the hard truth of their own temporal mortality.
We can’t do an end run around Good Friday and get to Easter Sunday. No death, no Resurrection. In the Orthodox Churches of the East the Resurrection Mystery that Christ has “trampled down death by death” and “destroyed death from within” is central to the Gospel Message.
“Your life feels different on you, once you greet death and understand your heart’s position. You wear your life like a garment from the mission bundle sale ever after—lightly because you realize you never paid nothing for it, cherishing because you won’t ever come by such a bargain again. Also you have the feeling someone wore it before you and someone will after. I can’t explain that, not yet, but I’m putting my mind to it.”
~ Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine, A Novel
I can’t begin to tell you how much I like this comment. 😀
“Not my will, but thine, be done”
Could be the most dangerous of all, huh? 🙂
Here are some:
‘Lord, use my life for your glory….’ and ‘Lord, empty me of anything that doesn’t bring you glory’
There begins the (usually) painful process of me being stripped of excess baggage, those keepsakes I picked along the way that would just make my journey more cumbersome!
I feel you on that second one. I’m sure there is much in my life that doesn’t bring God glory and would be difficult to give up. I’d put in a lot of thought before uttering that one.
Another terrific post!! I have found “Lord give me patience” Is a very dangerous prayer, which I still pray most often. It has led to a life of frustration, inactivity, procrastination, illness, waiting (a lot of waiting), disappointment, slow progress etc etc.
Another is “Lord help me be a better mother” This has brought me face-to-face with all the excuses I have made for myself against my own mother. It has challenged me with two children who keep me accountable to God more than anyone else. It has humbled me in so many uncountable ways and taught me to accept my worth is not a byproduct of my children’s performance. Learning the hard lessons daily, sacrificing many of my own wishes. etc etc
Love your stuff. Blessings to you!
I should have put the patience prayer on my list. I’ve prayed it, too, and reaped the consequences! Lol! Thanks, as always, for reading.
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