Can you believe it’s already six days into 2018 already? How about that? How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolution? I understand the statistics on all that are pretty dismal. However, have you considered turning your “resolution” into a Big Prayer instead? I’m not talking about some cute, counter-intuitive, self-improvement psychology. I’m talking about making a big, bold prayer to God. I’m telling you from first-hand experience that God answers this kind of prayer. In fact, surprisingly so.
I had one answered just this fall. A big one. Back in October, I had read a book by Susie Larson entitled, “Your Powerful Prayers” that inspired me to write big, bold prayers down, so I did just that. Eleven of them. Most had to do with evangelism and revival. Some had to do with financial provision for that. One was for my strongholds. And a couple were personal. As I looked the list over, all were within what I could see as the will of Jesus and our Father. Nothing was greedy or selfish. Nothing masked a hidden sin. All were worthy to ask, in my opinion.
Well, I tell you, he answered one prayer almost the same day! This one was a big one, too! I’ll share it with you someday soon. For now, you’ll have to trust me that I was actually quite shocked and still am. Is that the only prayer he answered? Nope. Another one happened a little over a month later. I can see movement on others. Certainly, I see God at work, and I’m glorifying his name for it, even as I write this post.
I think there is something about this that God specifically wants from us. I think he desires us to carefully consider our requests before we ask them. Is this request really good for me, big picture? Will this benefit the kingdom more than it will benefit me? Is there some sin issue that is behind this request? Am I praying to dig myself out of a mess that I created or am I asking God to rid me of the sin behind it?
I watched a couple episodes of the Twilight Zone last night with my daughter. One had to do with a genie in a bottle – with four wishes. The elderly couple, with significant money problems, spent the first wish foolishly to see if the genie was in fact real. With the second they asked for a million dollars. They gave a bunch away to others in need until the tax man came to take away the rest. They had none left for themselves. They were wiser, so they thought, on the third wish. The husband asked for power, to be in charge of a country, one that he could not be voted out. Boom, he found himself as Hitler, in the last moments, alone in the bunker. The man then used his fourth and final wish – to bring everything back to where it was before the genie appeared.
There is something to be said about this secular story. We must be careful about what we wish for. And so it is with our prayer. Writing them down forces us to gather our thoughts. We have to think it through. We likely will change the prayer. We may even decide against it. Seriously. You may also include a big commitment on your part. No, not may include. Include.
How about a couple of these?
• Instead of a million dollars, how about this? Father, I desire to be grateful and honor all that you provide for me. Give me faith that you will provide the desires of my heart, not by dumping money on me but by making me satisfied by what I have. Show me how to be mindful of your money. Teach my how to manage it well. I desire to use your money as a good steward. Father, I am willing to do whatever it is that you want of me.
• Instead of losing weight, try this. Father, there is something about me that desires food to satisfy a deep need. It is a stronghold of sin. Please expose it and give me all that I need to rid myself of this sinful habit. Yes, I desire to be thin, but I desire more to treat my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. Break this addiction so that I may be salt and light and proclaim your name. All credit will be given to you. I no longer wish to sin by using food. Please help me. I will do whatever you show me.
• Instead of simply salvation for your loved ones, how about this? Father, I know that you desire all men to repent, and so do I. Wait, there are some that I don’t, so I am not being honest. Please, Lord, teach me to forgive so that I truly desire that my enemies enjoy your full mercy, just as I have received. When I desire this for the ones I most hate at this moment, let me come back and pray for salvation of those closest to me – as well as those I am having trouble with now, in other words, for all.
I think it takes some careful planning to align our thoughts to be in agreement with our Father’s. Jesus does only that which his father shows him, right? It’s no different with us. How can we know what the Father desires? By studying Jesus, starting on page one of your bible. After all, it’s his autobiography, instruction manual, and prophecy all in one! Through it you will learn all that you need. With it, you will be able to align your mind, renew it, and be in agreement with Jesus and thus our Father.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Father, teach us to pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers