Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Are Your Prayers Dangerous?

Rain. Hairspray. Bangs. Rain. Spiritual vision speech. Frizz. Forgotten notes. More rain. Where was the Lord? He showed up in the umbrella He provided after Lysa got "wet, frustrated, and come face-to-face with something pretty ugly in my heart."

Welcome to Yes to God Tuesdays as I temporarily host for sweet
Lelia the online study of Lysa Terkeurst's wonderful book, Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl.

Ch 17 Praying the Dangerous Prayers

God is so much more concerned with our heart and our character, than He ever is with our circumstances. So if there's something ugly brewing in there, He's gonna do what it takes for us to address it.

"I realized that most times it's not the big things along my spiritual journey that tempt me to get off track. It's a culmination of small daily aggravations I know God could fix but doesn't." [my emphasis] That's a point of contention for me also. Big and small, the things God can fix but chooses not to fix. Even the things that are godly and would bring Him glory. Sometimes that's very, very hard when it's a big thing very close to our hearts...at least for me. And I've felt satan using that against me. Trying to make me focus on God not fixing things instead of focusing on what God does for me and Who God is to me.

"But what if instead of seeing these aggravations as inconveniences, I saw them as reminders to draw near to God?" What a wonderful perspective and outlook of these seemingly purposeless aggravations.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

And when we draw near to God, He'll speak to us. He'll wave over our minds that we'd never consider without Him during these times of drawing close to God. Sometimes when we draw near to God though, it's more about us being heard and not God being heard as we listen. It's so easy to center our prayers on ways we want God to bless us. Safety, health, ministry, home, finances, kids, food. Those are not bad prayers but maybe slightly flawed. "They set my expectations of God to be what I want without taking into consideration the possibility of God's bigger plan." Oh the things He can do when we have poor health, unsafe surroundings, lack of food, troubled kids, miserable finances. He can do things far greater than if we already had an A+ in all those areas. If we have all those things, then why would we need Him. From where would we draw our strength and wisdom?

I'm so terribly guilty of this and of not focusing on His bigger picture. In our small-perspective minds we can't fathom God's big plans; we can't envision the vastness of His plans. So we settle to what we can see and what we want. "I make God into One who stunts my growth with convenience and comfort rather than One who grows me into a woman of character, perseverance, and maturity." Did you get that? With our perspective WE make God to be One who stunts our growth. Yes, by having such a small vision, we stunt our own growth of what we can be if we just get out of our box and our comfort zone. And...take God out of the box we can put Him in.

"We want the promises but...not the dirt under our fingernails.
We want comfortable circumstances but...not transformation changes.
We want the gifts but...do we want the Giver more?"

We don't even come close to touching the promises of Jesus.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Lysa quotes Nancy Guthrie from her article, "Prayers That Move the Heart of God." "There's so much to want--healed bodies, restored relationships, changed circumstances. But asking, seeking, and knocking aren't secret formulas for getting what we want from God; they're ways to get more of God. As I listen to God speak to me through His Word, He gives me more of Himself in fuller, newer ways. Then if healing doesn't come, if the relationship remains broken, or if the pressures increase, I have the opportunity to discover for myself He is enough. His presence is enough. His purpose is enough."

Wow. That's hard. That convicts me because I'm not satisfied with relationships not being restored. I must need a lot more growing because my heart hasn't seen the "opportunity" in this yet. Have I seen some benefits and growth? Yes. But full benefit to view it as an opportunity by remaining unrestored? No.

Nancy changed her prayers to be more about getting to know God rather than getting what she wants from God. Then, she began experiencing God in deeper ways than ever.

Lysa suggests we go deeper by praying dangerous prayers. "Why do we pray? To get things, or get God?" Which is the focus of our prayers?

Lysa is focusing on three things:
♥ aligning my heart with God's heart;
♥ escaping from my own selfish perspective of life;
♥ and listening, really listening, to God.

Like Lysa, I too, want my prayers to be more about hearing God than talking to God. I want God to be the One whispering to me. "Power enters our prayers...by listening for even the slightest whisper from the One who is all-powerful."

The beauty of dangerous prayers is "inviting the divine presence into otherwise mundane moments. They are dangerous [prayers] because they will not leave us unchanged--and most of us consider change right down frightening."

Lysa's dangerous prayers:
♥ God inconvenience me to be constantly reminded to draw near to You.
♥ Interrupt me, Lord.
♥ Shake things up in me, Lord.
♥ Reveal what's in me that's not of You, Lord.
♥ And, Lord more than anything, I want more of You.

"You may hear nothing at first. The silence may be deafening, frustrating, slightly disappointing. But don't stop sitting with God. At some point when God is the deepest desire of your heart, you will hear Him." [my emphasis]

Lord, Draw my heart out of the chaos and into the sweet stillness of Your presence.

"Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." Jeremiah 29:12-14

Oh how I love to see those verses quoted, especially 12-13. Those that I call living in the shadow of the well-known Jeremiah 29:11. He will be found. He is not hiding from us. He is listening. He is not turning a deaf ear to us. Come, come to Me. With all your heart. All your heart.

Live more expectantly of experiencing God.

If you have more to share on your blog, please use MckLinky below to hook up. I would greatly welcome any comments even if you are not doing the study. You don't have to be reading this book to share your wisdom and insight to this post. I love comments.

Wanting to Experience God More,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

Picture is of my wall decal in my chocolatey living room.
Are you craving chocolate now? I bet you are.


Lelia Chealey said...

Wow Paula...I just came over from Lysa's blog and this really ties into what is happening in her life right now.
I just can't thank you enough for hosting this study for me. You are such a blessing. What I thought would be just a few chapters turned out to be the rest of the book. One more chapter I think. You are so sweet and I know you have ministered to many women, especially me.
Love you,

GOD'S LADIE said...

Hi Paula! Nice pix! It's been a long time since I visited, but GOD is still using you and I am praising HIM for that. That post was a blessing indeed! It really moved me and stirred me to pray "dangerous" prayers and most importantly, to not only listen but HEAR what GOD is speaking to my spirit. Thanks for another blessed post. Keep letting GOD have HIS way, your writing is not in vain.


Angela said...

I was here the other day but didn't have time to comment. Can I say this was a HUGE blessing to me.

Laura said...

Hi, Paula!

This sounds like a good one. Was just talking with a friend today about why God doesn't take away some of the hard things. Hmmm. Drawing us closer. Yep, that's a big part, I think.

I hope you are doing well!

Bill said...

Haven't been here for awhile, and wanted to say hello.

With love,

Runner Mom said...

I love this book! And, this chapter. So many truths that I need to hear and take to heart.

Keep up the good work on the treadmill!! Stay warm!


Lloyd said...

I just dropped in to say that I really enjoyed looking over and reading the posts on your blog. May our Lord continue to shine through you and your blog. God bless, Lloyd

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