Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Perilous Prayer

Prayer can be a dangerous thing. If prayer is as powerful as we suppose it to be, how could it be otherwise?

I met a woman about a month ago who told me of her perilous prayers. She prayed that her children would not have easy lives, but rather lives that reflected rock-solid faith -- no matter what it cost them. In essence she asked God to give them hardships if that would develop truly genuine faith.

It is not a prayer to enter into lightly.

The result: her husband died suddenly, leaving her to raise her children alone. Then as a teenager her daughter became pregnant. And in the face of these crises, her young son experimented with all kinds of acts of rebellion as he entered his early teen years.

Dangerous prayers, indeed.

But she smiles with an inexplicable peace as she tells the story today. "My kids are so solid and secure in their faith now, because of what they went through then," she explains. "It was hard -- very hard. But my prayers were answered so completely!"

Have you ever prayed a dangerous prayer?

It is a real paradigm shift for most of us. To be honest, it is something I've tried to avoid. And yet, now more and more, I sense God calling me to it. To pray such a prayer, understanding its ramifications, we must be willing to give up all things we value most, for the sake of Him.

And I guess in doing so, we actively choose to elevate Him to that which we value most.

I spent last month in the states and while there I came across a truly tragic situation. Someone I knew years ago fell into adultery and now stands on the brink of losing all that he once held dear. Of course, these situations are always as complicated as they are tragic. But a pastor gave my friend some sound advice:

"You need to give up 'the other woman', sacrifice all your expectations and rights regarding what you believed your marriage should be, and dedicate the rest of your life to restoring your marriage. You may have to give up all pursuit of your own happiness, for the sake of holiness."

It is good advice for all of us. While there may be no 'other woman' in our lives, there is certainly plenty of 'things' that we pursue for our own happiness at the cost of holiness.

We talk a lot about our lives being all about God -- but how much time do we spend pursuing holiness compared the to time we spend seeking happiness? We act as if happiness is our right as Christians, and holiness is something we will save for the hereafter.

Are we ready to get our perspective right? Are we willing risk it all for the sake of holiness? Our answer reflects how deeply we really believe that his grace is sufficient for whatever he asks us to walk through.

Take a deep breath and consider it soberly:

Has the time come to embark upon dangerous supplication?

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