Summary: Many prayers of God’s people are weak, empty, passion-less, and vision-less. If we are going to see God move, if we are going to see God at work, if we are going to see situations turned around and lives dramatically changed by the mighty hand of God the
There was once a man who was very faithful in his prayer life. Every morning when he got up he would kneel by his bed and he would pray, ‘God bless me, God bless my family, God bless this day’. And before every meal he would say a prayer ‘God bless this food’. And every night when he went to bed he would pray, ‘God bless me, God bless my family, God bless this night’. And every time he prayed a prayer, he would take a walnut and place it in a glass jar. And over the years his house became full of glass jars, that were full of walnuts. They were on shelves and bookcases and window sills and everywhere. Walnuts… 1000’s of them! And the man felt very pleased with himself – ‘just look at all these jars, just look at all these walnuts, just look at all these prayers that I have prayed’ he would say.
Then one night Jesus appeared to him in a dream. And Jesus took each of the glass jars, opened them, and one by one he took out the walnuts and broke them open. And inside each one it was empty, nothing but dryness and dust. And Jesus said to him, you know you’re prayers are like that, although there have been 1000s of them – they are empty, they are dry, they are meaningless.
Derek Morris opens his book -The Radical Prayer – with these words - ‘All too often we simply pray weak prayers, such as “Dear God, help me to have a nice day” and “Help me not to get so angry today.” But, Jesus challenges each one of His followers to pray radical prayers. They can be short, but they’re certainly not weak... If you want to maintain the status quo, don’t even begin this prayer. Or if you want to live an average life, leave it alone. But if you have a passion to make a difference in the world—if you have a longing to see Jesus return in glory as King of kings and Lord of lords—then I invite you to learn more about radical prayer.
Once you begin to pray radical prayers in faith, the way will open for great and wonderful things to happen. Your life will truly be transformed, and you will never be the same again.
Challenging words... but true. You know many of the prayers of the church and of God’s people are weak, empty, passion-less, vision-less. And if we are really going to see God move, if we are really going to see God at work, if we are really going to see situations turned around and lives dramatically changed by the mighty hand of God then we really must step out of our lethargic prayer life and start praying some pretty radical prayers. Remember I said a few weeks ago – if you think small you will get small, if you pray small you will receive small. But if you pray big.... if you pray radical prayers...
Leonard Ravenhill (he’s dead now, but he was an evangelist and author who focused his attention on prayer and revival.) ‘The church has many organisers, but few agonizers; many who pay, but few who pray; many resters, but few wrestlers; many who are enterprising, but few who are interceding… Tithes build a church, but tears will give it life. That is the difference between the modern church and the early church. In the matter of effective praying, never have so many left so much to so few’.
Are you a prayer? Are you a wrestler? Are you an interceder? We need to be a church, and we need to be a people who are serious about prayer. Who are serious about grappling with God over the bigger issues of this world. We need to be a church that starts praying some pretty radical prayers.
What is radical prayer? ‘The word radical comes from the Latin radix which means root. That means that radical prayer goes straight to the root of the issues. Radical prayer refuses to let us stay on the fringes of life’s great issues. Floating around on the surface so to speak. Never getting too involved in the things that really matter. It dares to believe that things can be different. Its aim is the total transformation of persons, institutions and societies. Radical prayer, you see, is prophetic’ (Richard Foster – ‘Prayer finding the hearts true home’)
Now listen to this – this is important - Radical prayer enables God to change the world--through you. Did you get that? Radical prayer enables God to change the world--through you.
Karl Barth (Swiss theologian) – ‘To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world’. I like that word ‘uprising’ it reminds me of what Jesus says in Matthew 11:12 ‘And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.’ Now there are a number of ways of understanding what Jesus was saying here – but maybe, just maybe he was recalling His wrestling match with Jacob, centuries before. When Jacob grabbed hold of him, and wrestled with him, and fought with him, and would not let him go until he got the answer to his prayer that he was looking for. Have you ever thought of your prayer life in that way? As a violent thing, as a forceful thing, that holds heaven to ransom, that holds God to his promises? That’s radical prayer.