Summary: Unsafe prayers are those which take us out of our comfort zone, which expose us to God, which thrust us out into the realm of faith and cause us to completely rely on God. Are you ready to pray unsafe prayers?
A. HUMOR: THE LUMBERYARD
1. A man went to the lumber yard and said to an attendant, “I want 5 4X2’s.” The attendant said, “Do you mean 2X4’s?” He answered, “Let me go out to the truck to ask.”
2. He went out and came back and said, “Yes!” Then the attendant asked him, “How long do you need them?”
He answered, “Let me go out to the truck to ask.”
3. When he came back, he said, “I need them for a long time. I’m building a house!”
“You are putting your lives at risk by sending me to the Lord your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the Lord our God; tell us everything the Lord our God says, and we’ll do it.’” Jer. 42:20, CEV (Contemporary English Version).
C. THESIS: SAFE VS. UNSAFE PRAYERS
1. I want to talk about unsafe prayers. Is there such a thing? They’re not necessarily the easy prayers we’re accustomed to.
2. Most of us prefer the safe prayer route. We often pray “God bless us…help us…protect us.” Those aren’t bad prayers, but they are safe prayers, because they allow us to keep our distance from God.
3. Unsafe prayers take us out of our comfort zone; where we’re asking God to do more than just keep us safe. They’re intimate prayers, which if we pray them will open ourselves much more to God. Sounds fun! Right?
4. The title of this message is, “Unsafe Prayers.”
I. “SEARCH MY HEART”
1. The first unsafe prayer was prayed by David in Psalm 139. David’s enemies had accused him of having wrong motives. Instead of defending himself, David turned to God and said, “God, SEARCH MY HEART and see if this is true!”
2. TEXT: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive [wicked] way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24.
3. You may wonder, “Why would we ask God to search our heart? He already knows it.”
A. WITHOUT CHRIST, WE HAVE BAD HEARTS
1. Actually, we need to understand that without Christ, we don’t have a good heart. We often make this statement about people, “Oh, they have a good heart.” Actually, if we want to be truthful, they don’t.
2. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” KJV. The Complete Jewish Bible translates the KJ “wicked” as “mortally sick.”
3. The fallen nature is a fatal condition that is incurable. It can only be remedied by a heart transplant. This helps us to understand that our hearts are wicked and incurable.
4. Even with Christ, we still struggle…but this prayer may help us to uncover more about ourselves, which is why it’s not so safe.
B. WE EASILY DECEIVE OURSELVES
1. We easily deceive others and most often, ourselves. For example, and here’s a dangerous question: “How many of you have told a lie, even since you’ve been a Christian?”
2. One of the political candidates was asked if they’d ever lied and they said “No.” Everyone immediately doubted their honesty, because EVERYONE tells a “white lie” now & then. We’re all guilty. None of us are innocent. That’s why we need Christ.
3. We lie to ourselves. When we sin, we tell ourselves, “It’s not so bad. Everyone else is doing it, nobody will know I did it. I can stop after 1 drink; I’m not full of pride; I’m just as good as anyone else. In fact, I’m better! I don’t lust. I’m not materialistic, I just like nice things. I’m not a gossip, I just want to pass on prayer requests.”
4. “Search me, O God, and know my heart!” This prayer gives God the opportunity to show you some things about yourself which can bring you into a more intimate relationship with Him.
5. The hope is that the Holy Spirit will transform you more and more into the image of Christ. It’s not safe, but it can make you so much closer to God.
C. SHOW ME WHERE I’M WICKED
1. David was asking: “God, while I’m being really vulnerable, see if there’s anything in me that’s offensive or wicked?” How many want to ask that prayer? I told you this is not a safe prayer! It takes courage.
2. We have to really trust that God loves us and won’t shoot a lightning bolt at us when our sin is revealed. Have you ever noticed it’s really difficult to see our sins? Yet, it’s easy to find everybody else’s.
3. This can be one of the most God honoring prayers you ever pray – giving God permission to point out any sin that’s in your heart. And when God points it out, we mustn’t deny or become defensive about it. Submit to God and cooperate with God to make the changes you need to.